On January 1 China implemented the alcohol circulation
management regulation, which explicitly forbids the selling of
alcoholic drinks to minors under the age of 18.
The aim of the regulation, first of its kind, is to keep
young people away from alcoholic beverages.
The history of the country's brewing industry can be traced
back to 4,000 years ago. Alcohol had high status in traditional
Chinese culture and was a frequent theme in Chinese classic
However, a research carried out by the Peking University's Psyche Health
Institute points out that alcohol consumption is on the rise in
China, with 84.1 percent of adult men and 29.3 percent of women
admitting to being regular drinkers.
Many minors are addicted to alcoholic drinks, which can cause
fights and even alcoholism.
The implementation of the regulation means that beverages with
an alcohol content of more than 0.5 percent cannot be sold to
According to the standard, in addition to distilled spirits,
most beers and wines are prohibited too. Alcohol vendors will get a
warning from local government if they infringe the regulation, and
receive a 2,000 yuan (about US$250) fine if they stray from the
Markets and shops involved in the alcohol business have been
given a three-month interim period. Carrefour is taking the lead in
action: alcohol counters in its five supermarkets in Tianjin have a
sign saying "It is forbidden to sell alcoholic drinks to minors
under the age of 18."
Similar signs have been put up in some beverage stores in
cities in west and south China.
Wang Xiaozhong, a public relations manager at Carrefour, said
that Carrefour employees have the right to refuse to sell alcoholic
beverages to those who cannot prove their age.
(Xinhua News Agency January 6, 2006)