China Bans Shark Fin and Bird’s Nest Soup from Official Banquets

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By Jack Moore | December 9, 2013 10:00 PM EST

The Chinese Premier Xi Jinping has continued his crackdown on extravagance by banning shark fin, abalone and bird's nest soup from official banquets.

The dishes, considered delicacies in China, are to be outlawed at state dinners along with wild-animal products, as the Chinese government seeks to regulate public funding of the feasts.

Cigarettes and alcohol are also to be banned from the official receptions with lower-level officials prohibited from staying in suites on business trips, according to an official document released by the Communist Party's Central Committee.

The new rules imposed by the document have the aim to "promote frugality, oppose extravagance and enhance the anti-corruption efforts among Party and governmental authorities, said Xinhua, the Chinese state news agency.

"Officials on business tours should arrange their own meals according to relevant expenditure standards and the local hosts are allowed to provide only one reception dinner if needed," the document continued.

Government expenditure on such banquets was estimated to be £32 billion in 2011. Such occasions are frequently used to build business networks and to demonstrate one's wealth and status to guests.

It is thought that Mr Xi's crusade against extravagance has been instigated by public outbursts against the banquets on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter.

Anger is well-founded with luxury dishes like shark fin soup and sea cucumber reaching up to £170 in price, more than a worker's weekly wage in China.

It is estimated that £21 billion worth of food is wasted every year in China and Mr Xi has also pledged an "empty plate action", in his war on corruption and disapproval of waste.

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