China bans under-age drinking
Updated: 2006-01-06 16:14
China has banned alcohol sales to minors prompted by concerns that permissive
attitudes among parents and teachers have worsened a growing problem with
The ban, which came into force on New Year¡¯s Day, outlaws sales of beverages
with an alcohol content of 0.5 per cent or above to anyone under 18, according
to a copy of the regulation on the Commerce Ministry¡¯s website on Friday.
Violators can be fined up to 2,000 yuan $250 for serious infractions.
However, retailers have being given three months to implement the regulation
fully, according to the Xinhua News Agency. The ban is merely a regulation, not
a law, and it wasn't clear how it would be enforced.
Many shops already display signs saying they don't sell alcohol to minors,
but China has never had a formal ban on such sales. The only previous legal
mention was a reference in the law on protection of minors that young people
should be prevented from abusing alcohol.
Sociologists say rising under-age drinking has accompanied the growth of
urban incomes and growing independence among children to indulge in the
proliferation of restaurants, bars, karaoke parlours and other leisure outlets.
A quarter of middle-school pupils and up to 80 per cent of high school pupils
say they have drunk alcohol, according to figures cited by Sun Yunxiao, of the
China Youth Research Centre, in a recent article in People's Daily.
¡°Alcohol abuse among minors has been pretty much ignored in schools and
society as compared to drug use or even smoking cigarettes,¡± Sun said.
¡°There has never been an effective mechanism like there is overseas for
preventing the problem.¡±
Along with banning under-age drinking, the Commerce Ministry's new
¡°Procedures for Regulating the Circulation of Alcohol¡± also requires vendors to
obtain licences for alcohol sales and to ensure alcohol purity and safety.