Chinese radio and television stations are to ban advertisements for expensive gifts such as watches, rare stamps and gold coins, the Xinhua state news agency has said, as part of a push by the government to crack down on extravagance and waste.
Such advertisements had “publicised incorrect values and helped create a bad social ethos”, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) said in a release, Xinhua reported.
The ban comes after repeated calls from Xi Jinping, China’s president-in-waiting, for a renewed fight against corruption. However, it could take a toll on luxury product manufacturers which advertise on Chinese television and radio.
Makers of expensive Chinese liquors, including Kweichow Moutai and Wuliangye Yibin, routinely dominate the annual ad auction at China’s official television network, CCTV.
Producers of the fiery Chinese liquor known as baijiu, which once flowed freely at government banquets, were hit in December by an official ban on alcohol at military events. High-end bottles of the grain-based liquor can cost thousands of yuan.
The crackdown on corruption has also hit jewellery retailers hard, especially after high-end watches became a symbol of corruption.
Mr Xi said in a speech on 22 January that targeting the “flies”, or lowly people involved in corruption, was just as important as going after the “tigers”, or top officials.
Mr Xi has warned that a failure to weed out corruption and extravagance would put the ruling Communist Party’s survival in jeopardy. The party has been embarrassed by a string of corruption scandals at its highest levels.
He is due to take over as president at an annual meeting of parliament in March.