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Regulation to Keep Youth Away from Alcohol
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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 poetry.


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 minors.     


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 law.


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)

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