The Effect of China’s New Communication Laws on PR and Marketing Agencies

skullALERT: Taking effect this September, China’s new communication laws will likely have major implications for PR and marketing agencies

The Institute for Public Relations has published an excellent article that analyzes these new laws and how they could have a chilling effect on the use by PR agencies and corporations of social media and other promotional tools – and lead to hefty fines and a possible ban on doing business in China. The full article is here.

Author Cayce Myers says the laws will 1) limit social media promotions, 2) limit native advertising and content marketing, and 3) provide for more severe sanctions than in the past. He provides detailed evidence for each proposition.

The new rule about re-postings and re-tweets is particularly troubling. It would seem to guarantee legal actions because you can’t control how many people re-post and re-tweet what you’ve written online, or protect against the potential behavioral change the Chinese suggest could occur from the posts and tweets.

Even if you put a warning sign at the top of your posts and blogs — IN BIG BOLD LETTERS WITH SKULL AND CROSSBONES — urging readers not to pass them along because by doing so they could create legal hassles for you or your clients, it wouldn’t have much effect. Readers will forward them no matter, some out of pure spite. Imagine what a field day attorneys in the U.S. would have if federal, state and local governments could sue for damages under the same or similar circumstances!

Before long, I’m sure the Chinese government will refine this and related rules, but in the meantime PR and marketing professionals who do business in China, or handle PR and marketing for companies that do business there, need to pay much greater attention to how they communicate. Reading this article will be of enormous help.