BEIJING, March 15 (Xinhua) -- A year after China Central Television (CCTV) exposed the country's largest meat processor Shuanghui Group for selling tainted pork products, the country's increasingly rights-conscious customers are eagerly awaiting this year's show that goes to air Thursday night.
"March 15 comes again. Guess what surprises CCTV will present to us tonight?" read a post on Sina Weibo, the Chinese-language Twitter-like microblogging service.
Starting in 1991, China's state broadcaster has aired a themed program on March 15 every year, usually with shocking exposures, to greet International Consumer Rights Day.
The program has since become an annual event for customers who demand safer and high-quality products and services.
Last year, CCTV reported that products under Shuanghui Group's Shineway brand were produced from pigs that were fed with clenbuterol, an additive used to prevent pigs from accumulating fat which is carcinogenic.
Other exposures have included misleading advertisements on weight-reducing tea and poisonous chopsticks.
The upcoming CCTV program is a hot topic on Weibo, with nearly 1.6 million entries posted on the subject.
Ranging from food safety to trader's cheating practices, China's recurring scandals in the area have fuelled widespread public distrust of home-made products.
As a mocking gesture, China's Internet giant Netease created a webpage for listing those companies that produced quality goods but the page has intentionally been left blank, insinuating none deserved a place on it.
"The blank page shows that the market falls short of meeting the demands of the masses. The enterprises had always been complaining about difficulties in business, but the fact is there is large room for development if they can produce quality products," read a response from "Wandering Bait."
With heavier purses and wider choices, Chinese consumers are becoming increasingly aware of their rights at a time when the country aims to boost domestic consumption.
According to official data, China's industry and commerce institutions processed 846,100 cases of complaints filed by consumers via an online service platform "12315," an increase of 12.21 percent year-on-year.
But the growing complaints do not necessarily lead to solutions. Many customers said their fight for rights usually end in vain as the process was too complicated and time-consuming.
Online shopping, food safety and auto market are among the most thorny areas for rights protection as it is hard to obtain and present evidences.
"The fix to the problem requires business's self-discipline, customers' awareness, improvement on relevant laws and regulation, as well as the regulator's strict implementation," said Qiu Chenggang, an expert with Beijing Lawyers Association.