Continuing along from comments (4), with thanks to Anna for her comments on this post about the Urban Decay débâcle which generated this post. Which started out as a very lengthy comment in reply to her first comment; then I thought, no, that’s not a comment but a post—and let’s not drive the poor girl cross-eyed—then discussion continued so if you’ve been following comments on here, sorry, you’ve already seen the links and main gist of argument…
On the different rules for Hong Kong and China.
You may recall, assorted bits of broohaha over the last three months: testing MAY be required by the Chinese authorities in order for imported products to be sold in China (depending, some discretion, outside control of manufaturers or their selling agents). The ethical issue: washing hands of your responsibility for your goods once you decide to sell them in China. (Mind you, the same is true, but with slightly more transparency—very slightly—in other jurisdictions such as Japan and the USA.)
Hong Kong: such testing IS NOT required. Goods sold there ARE NOT subject to the same laws.
Hence: if a product is sold in Hong Kong, that DOES NOT MEAN that it’s been tested on animals (technically, remember also: the fact that a product is sold in China doesn’t automatically mean it’s been tested either). It IS possible for a product (and indeed a whole brand) to be sold in Hong Kong, but not China. And if that’s the case, that product, brand, and the company behind them WOULD still be cruelty-free. M’kay???
Very briefly (LOL, famous last words). Specialist lawyers please do send in any further information, especially those of you who read Chinese, which I don’t. Alas.
While Hong Kong is part of China, they have a special status (Macao ditto) and certain differences including legislative ones. Products sold in Hong Kong are subject to different regulations (and very few of them) from those sold in mainland China. They are NOT subject to the Chemical Inspection and Regulation Service and their requirement for the Registration of Imported Cosmetics in China. They are only subject to the Hong Kong Department of Justice’s Ordinances, to Chapter 456: Consumer Goods Safety Ordinance. That is: skincare & cosmetics (and other beautification products) are NOT treated as special sorts of product and subject to special regulations on them: they are treated as general consumer goods.
Hong Kong’s special status = Special Administrative Region, as a free port, a duty-free free-trade zone (the 2003 CEPA, etc.). More on the status of HK in any reference source: government sources, Wikipedia (and links there), Encyclopedia Britannica, other reference works, etc., etc., etc.
On the free trade / freedom from Chinese import legislation side:
- export.gov: helping US companies export
- HKTDC.com: Hong Kong Industry Profiles
- 3.2 Regulations
Cosmetics and skincare products in Hong Kong are governed by Chapter 456 Consumer Goods Safety Ordinance. It is required that a person shall not supply, manufacture or import consumer goods unless the goods comply with the general safety requirement for consumer goods, or the goods must meet the approved standard if applicable. (http://www.legislation.gov.hk/eng/home.htm)
There are no strict regulations imposed on the import of cosmetics and skincare products in Hong Kong. No import licence is required.
(see also the rest of that New Zealand Trade and Enterprise document)
- HK Gov Dept of Justice link, Ch. 456 of http://www.legislation.gov.hk/eng/home.htm: the Consumer Goods Ordinance is also available in PDF. I read through this, and there is no reference to animal testing. Which isn’t unexpected: as beautification products are being treated as general consumer goods in, I emphasize again, a free port.
- Goods–any goods– can be seized and subjected to further testing: this is mainly for general safety provisions (ex. a bottle of whisky clearly has shards of glass in it), trade descriptions (labels are misspelled or inaccurate: ex. whisky claiming to be only 10% alc/vol), and to prevent very obvious frauds (whisky spelled with three wwws, contents are blue).
- It’s a free port: this means more freedoms all round, including greater risks for consumers. Caveat emptor central. There’s an element of gambling. Not inappropriate, given that the special free trade zones of Hong Kong and Macao are also major gambling economies (and cultures).
- there’s more to go through there too, if you want to do some serious legwork (comparative law getting some idea of how the system works as a whole, etc.). Same at the Hong Kong Customs & Excise Department site: though just expanding the menu items on the left there gives you some idea of what their special status entails.
Let me reiterate: Products sold in Hong Kong DO NOT have to be tested on animals.
This is precisely why The Body Shop sells there but not in mainland China. That and the fact they had shops there when HK was still a British crown colony, before sovereignty was restored to China in 1997.
Covered briefly on here on 2012-03-27; please, O gentle best-beloved readers all: next time don’t “wonder” and let that lead you into worry and vicious circles, stress and anger and fear of conspiracy. It’s not good for your mood, health, sanity, peace of mind, happiness. Next time, don’t “worry” and wallow in ignorance, fear, distrust, and anger. Sally forth on a quest for knowledge. Go and Google. The information above wasn’t from a “far and wide” search, just the very first page of what seemed to me to be the obvious search, a simple Google search: such as “hong kong cosmetic regulation” Admittedly, research is a major integral part of my job, so what seems like an obvious search to me might not be to a non-professional (re)searcher: still, if you start typing in “hong kong cosm” this is what Google suggests. Again, though, this might turn out the same for someone else. Google hints are based on your previous usage. So the more Googling you do, the more searching experience you have under your belt, the more Google’s been able to learn from you and how your searching-mind ticks, and the better those hints get. (With apologies to Google for oversimplifying matters massively.)
That loophole on third-party testing: actually, if a company has signed up to any of the European (national and EU-wide) and international certification programmes on cruelty-free-ness, that is included. This was one of the reasons precisely why these international coalitions against animal cruelty were set up in the first place…
Dear Chinese government: the next Year of the Rabbit is 2023. Stopping animal testing by then would be fab. That leaping bunny symbol? Is ideally adapted for cultural translation:
The Rabbit is well known for its ability to attract good fortune and be lucky. Most rabbit people are also great at solving problems and situations. Many well known Chinese politicians and diplomats belong to the Rabbit. Another aspect of this Chinese Horoscope sign reveals tendency to cultural activities and the arts. Most rabbit people hate fighting and engaging in aggressive behaviors or activities because of its peaceful nature, but due to the environmental actions of manipulation and corruption, they are willing stand their ground to defend what is peaceful and justified.
(thank you Wikipedia)
and it’s a water hare year, so one should add:
intelligence and wisdom, flexibility, softness and pliancy
(thanks again, Big W)