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Chinese regulators have banned celebrity endorsements for many products, including tobacco products, off-campus exercise, formula foods, and health and medical products.

The new rules, released Monday afternoon by the State Administration for Market Regulation and six other groups, will curb the lucrative world of celebrity endorsements, which has been plagued by high-profile scandals in recent years.

The new rules prohibit celebrities from endorsing products through social media, TV ads, live streams or interviews.

“Celebrities must consciously practice basic socialist values ​​in their advertising endorsement activities,” the rules state. “Activities must conform to social morals and traditional virtues.”

The rules include Internet influencers in the definition of celebrity, reflecting the powerful role that livestreamers and online personalities can play in promoting products.

Livestreamers like Chu Fei have become increasingly influential in China © Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

They also prohibit the use of “distorted aesthetics” and images or figures of party and state leaders or revolutionary heroes.

The new rules state that any products a celebrity endorses must first be thoroughly tested by them, and the results of the testing must be recorded in advance.

They added that companies should “consciously resist choosing illegal and unethical celebrities as advertising spokespeople”.

The celebrity endorsement industry has been plagued by a series of scandals. Most recently, Li Jiaqi, a live broadcaster, disappeared from public view for three months after showing a tank-shaped cake in a June 3 video that some analysts speculated was an indirect reference to the anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre in Beijing. The next day.

“If an organization knows or is aware that a celebrity has expressed false political views or other views that violate core socialist values ​​… it must determine that the related publicity impedes social stability and social public order,” the new rules state. condition.

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