The roles and rules of advertising as it is practised in China have vacillated greatly over the years. Periods of condemnation of advertising have been followed by its acceptance, followed again by its repression and sometimes abolition, and then by periods of rapid expansion. The result has led to confusion, indecision, and sometimes a bewildering array of laws, practices and functional interrelationships among the players, both domestic and foreign. This article examines the role and development of the advertising industry under Chinese socialism, and attempts to clarify the current state of affairs of the industry in terms of its structure and regulation.
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