Health authorities of Shenzhen in southern Guangdong Province have issued a notice banning the sales of civet cats and other wild animals at local restaurants in order to prevent the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome.
Violators will be fined between 1,000 yuan (US$122) and 50,000 yuan, have their business licenses revoked or face lawsuits.
Citizens who report illegal sales of civet cats to health authorities will be given a reward of 200 yuan each time, according to the notice, made public on Wednesday.
An official with the Shenzhen City Health Bureau said he hoped all local businesses in the catering sector would strictly abide by the law and local residents would not eat civet cats and other animals suspected of carrying the SARS virus.
He said that it was imperative to make preparations to prevent a possible recurrence of SARS in winter and next spring.
The SARS outbreak caused a health crisis in China last year.
Chinese scientists claimed in May last year that they had traced the SARS virus back to a similar virus found in civet cats and the raccoons, both found in the wild in China and elsewhere.
China banned the sales and eating of civet cats and other wild animals at restaurants.
(Xinhua News Agency December 24, 2004)