Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Official Chinese Banquets to go Shark-Free

The Chinese government joins Yao Ming in not eating shark fin
Xinhua New Agency's report Tuesday of an announcement that China would prohibit official banquets from serving shark's fin is an interesting development.

The article said the new measure would take three years to implement but there was no word on how this regulation would be enforced and if there would be penalties.

Nevertheless, animal rights groups are happy with the news.

"This is a very positive step forward," said Andy Cornish, director of conservation at WWF in Hong Kong. "It is the first time that the Chinese central government has expressed a decision to phase out shark fin from banquets funded by taxpayers' money."

He added this announcement would send a strong message to consumers in China, and could turn around people's penchant for the cartilage braised in chicken stock.

But will it?

While sales of the fins to China may drop, would it instead push mainlanders to go to Hong Kong and Macau instead to freely satisfy their craving eat the delicacy?

There is a growing trend of hotels in Hong Kong publicly announcing they have taken shark fine off the menu, but that doesn't necessarily mean a private request won't be fulfilled.

And now that China has come out in banning shark fin dishes at official banquets, will Hong Kong follow its master?

"The Hong Kong government has repeatedly dodged the question of implementing a banqueting ban on shark fin soup, saying that it sees no need for such guidelines," said Cornish. "We strongly hope that the new administration in Hong Kong government will shortly follow suit."

We shall see if Leung will take up the issue or not. For the most part he seems to be a guy who likes simple dishes as he's been photographed around town sampling food in local restaurants.

However, with his alleged Communist links, perhaps he may make a move -- in the right direction for once.

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