Li Enze, who is suing a Chinese tobacco manufacturer and a Beijing supermarket for Yuan250, has vowed to fight on despite having lost on Friday the second round of his battle, according to a story by Zhuang Pinghui for the South China Morning Post.
Li is suing China Tobacco Jiangxi Industrial and a Beijing supermarket that sold him a 10-pack carton of Jinsheng cigarettes in March last year.
He is seeking Yuan250, or about twice the price of the carton; arguing that a claim that the low-tar cigarettes with Chinese herbs were a safer option than were regular cigarettes amounted to false advertising.
After losing his initial case, Li filed an appeal to a Beijing court. But on Friday the Beijing court upheld the lower court’s ruling.
Li said that he would not give up: that he would apply to the Beijing High Court and, if necessary, the Supreme Court.
But even getting the initial case heard was said to have been unprecedented. It was the first time a claim against a tobacco company had been accepted by a mainland court. All previous attempts had failed.
“I was told the case was accepted as a usual commercial fraud case,” Li was quoted as saying. “It was too late by the time they realized it was a case for tobacco control. I was told it might not be easy to get such a lawsuit accepted by a court in Beijing again.”
Li is also suing the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration for failing satisfactorily to release information about its tobacco-control efforts over the past 10 years. The case was rejected by the Beijing No 1 Intermediate People’s Court last year, but the Beijing Higher People’s Court ruled it should be heard.