Workers sort packages after an online shopping spree in November in Guangzhou, Guangdong province. (Photo/China Daily)
Lawmakers have called for stronger regulation of the legal responsibilities and obligations of third-party platforms and enhanced protection of consumers' rights in the draft of the country's first e-commerce law.
The draft law was submitted for its first reading at the 25th session of the 12th National People's Congress Standing Committee.
During the discussion, Yin Zhongqin, vice-chairman of the Financial and Economic Committee of the National People's Congress, said third-party platforms play a pivotal role in e-commerce, and the purpose of the law is to promote e-commerce and protect consumers' rights.
The draft emphasizes the duties and obligations of third-party platforms, stipulates the utilization and protection of e-commerce data and information, and regulates the electronic contract and payments, and express logistics services.
Legislator Liu Zhengkui said e-commerce business operators should disclose information on goods or services comprehensively, truthfully and accurately, and safeguard consumers' rights being informed.
He suggested third-party platforms should offer compensation to consumers if the platform doesn't check the authenticity of the information released by the operators of the platform.
Liu said the platforms should establish related organizations to deal with complaints from consumers and help consumers safeguard their rights.
"This could not only crack down on fake and shoddy goods, but also strengthen their responsibility and enhance the reputation of third-party platforms."
China is the world's largest e-commerce market. The turnover of the country's online shopping market reached 3.8 trillion yuan (7 billion) last year, according to iResearch Consulting Group.
Protection of personal information is a highlight of the draft law. The draft stipulates that e-commerce business operators must ensure the security of consumers' personal information.
Legislator Han Xiaowu said there should be more detailed regulations to protect consumers' legitimate rights, file a lawsuit and claim for compensation, especially when their information security is infringed.
JD.com Inc, China's second-largest e-commerce player, said the draft will help establish a fair and impartial market order and promote the healthy development of the whole e-commerce industry.
Xue Jun, associate dean of the law school at Peking University, said e-commerce enterprises should comply with the country's regulations on business activities.
Xue added that the platforms should also assist investigations by administrative authorities.