A Beijing man is suing Yao Ming for endorsing an apparently misleading health food product, according to china.org.cn.
Feng Changshun is seeking 500RMB from a Beijing retail chain for allegedly exaggerated the benefits of By-Health fish oil capsules, and requested $0.01RMB from spokesperson Yao Ming for his involvement. Beijing’s Xicheng district court will hear the case.
“(The lawsuit) is symbolic. I want (Yao Ming) to admit to infringements of my rights,” he said.
Feng is suing under China’s Law on the Protection of Consumer Rights and Interests—enacted on March 15—which says that social groups and individuals who endorse products or services that harm consumers should be held liable together with the producer or service provider. Feng’s high-profile case represents one of the first times the law will be exercised in Chinese courts.
Feng bought the bottle of fish oil capsules at Baxsun Pharmacy in February. The Beijing man suffers from occasional memory loss and poor eyesight, and the store sales assistant gave him a promotional pamphlet about By-Health’s capsules, saying the product would help.
Feng saw Yao on the pamphlet, and knew he wanted the capsules—he adores the former-NBA star, and wanted to support him. But, three months in, Feng still found himself forgetting day-to-day tasks and squinting. He looked up more information about the fish oil capsules, and that’s when he realized it—the capsules are considered a “health food,” not medicine.
“I am angry because it has delayed my medical treatment,” Feng said. “It feels like I have been used as a lab mouse.”
By-Health stated that its promotions of fish oil capsules are in accordance with law, and the quality of products meets safety standards on Wednesday.
According to Yao’s agent, the basketball star agrees. The former NBA star has appeared in By-Health’s commercials, pamphlets and advertisements since December 2010, and believes they “are not misleading.”
“Yao exercised discretion when he selected the company to endorse it, believing it is an accountable enterprise,” the agent said.
As of press time, a date has not been set for the hearing.