China is to crack down on false and misleading internet advertising after the outcry caused by the death of a student who was given an experimental cancer treatment after searching for cures online. The campaign, which will run to November, is part of an action plan announced yesterday by the State Administration for Industry and Commerce to boost the protection of consumer rights. The administration urged all levels of industry and commerce to step up monitoring and crack down on false online adverts. Qihoo 360 stops accepting medical advertisements in wake of Baidu probe The plan will tackle the sale of fake goods, pyramid marketing schemes and rumour spreading. The death last month of Wei Zexi, 21, a computer science student from Shaanxi province, sparked an outcry. He received a treatment at the No 2 Hospital of the Beijing Armed Police Corps that many doctors say is unproven. The treatment was outsourced to a provider that paid to have its promotional material placed prominently in searches on Baidu. Baidu is China’s biggest internet search engine company and it faces a separate inquiry over its prominent listing of paid-for medical advertisements. The industry and commerce department in the Haidian district of Beijing said it was investigating whether Baidu had breached advertising laws, The Beijing News reported. More than 30 NGOs and patients rights groups had been pushing for months for an investigation into Baidu’s placement of medical advertisements, it said. A spokesman for the groups, Zhang Haoyu, said its allegations against Baidu had been ignored for months by the authorities. Baidu may face tough penalties in fallout from student’s death: analysts The national health, industry and commerce, cyber affairs and military authorities have joined forces to investigate the circumstances surrounding Wei’s death. The PLA website cited the Armed Police as saying it would not tolerate irregularities and it was concerned about Wei’s case. A People’s Armed Police source told The Beijing News they backed the investigation with the health ministry and would be tough on any irregularities found. Patients at the hospital that treated Wei have demanded refunds. The hospital stopped taking new patients on Wednesday. Baidu is not the only search engine company to face controversy over medical advertisements. Beijing military hospital stops services after medical scandal over cancer death Google was fined US$500 million by the US five years ago over adverts for Canadian pharmacies targeting US customers. Baidu said on its intranet that last year it turned down 30 million yuan (HK$36 million) in promotional requests from illegal medical services and closed 438,000 suspicious advertising accounts.