The ThinkTank Research Center for Health Development, an anti-tobacco NGO in China, says it will submit a petition to the Trademark Assessment Commission of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, asking it to discontinue the use of Zhongnanhai as a brand name for cigarettes.
Wu Yiqun, deputy director of TRCHD, told local media that using Zhongnanhai, which is an honored name representing the Chinese government, as a brand of cigarette is misleading consumers, making them believe that the cigarette brand has been acknowledged by the central government, and hence regarding it as a symbol of high quality and authority.
According to Article 10 of China's Trademark Law, names of a central government office location can not be used as a brand. Based on this article, TRCHD will request the trademark authority to cancel the use of Zhongnanhai as a brand.
It is learned that on the Zhongnanhai cigarette packets it says that part of the money spent by consumers on each pack of the cigarette will go to Project Hope, a well-known charity program that aims to support students from poor areas. Wu says printing such information on the cigarette packs is also misleading and against Article 5.3 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
At present, there is no rule in China to manage the charity initiatives of tobacco companies.