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Chinese Consumers Get the Power

The Chinese government's quality control watchdog has...

The Chinese government's quality control watchdog has enacted a long-awaited regulation allowing the recall of flawed automobile products. Public pressure had been mounting due to increases in complaints from car owners and the rising number of deaths on China's roads.

The regulation, scheduled to take effect on October 1, is expected to enable Chinese consumers to have their faulty cars fixed, especially in cases where foreign automakers exclude China in their recalls of defective products.

Statistics show that up to 10 per cent of China's traffic accidents - which claimed 109,000 lives in 2002 - are caused by vehicles' mechanical problems, though the exact proportion of mishaps resulting from defects in auto designs and production is not available.

But in Germany, an average of only 4,000 people die in traffic accidents each year, despite the country having twice as many automobiles as China's 20 million.

"The poor record in China has been the result of many factors and we cannot neglect car quality controls," said Liu Zhaobin, director of the Quality Control Department under the State General Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.