Skip to main content

China bans shark fin dishes at official banquets

By Naomi Ng, for CNN
December 9, 2013 -- Updated 1312 GMT (2112 HKT)
Shark finning is banned in several countries, but the trade is flourishing in Hong Kong, where the fins are used in shark fin soup, a dish considered a prestigious delicacy, and in some types of traditional Chinese medicine. Hong Kong accounts for 50% of the global shark fin trade, according to the<a href='http://www.wwf.org.hk' target='_blank'> WWF</a>. Shark finning is banned in several countries, but the trade is flourishing in Hong Kong, where the fins are used in shark fin soup, a dish considered a prestigious delicacy, and in some types of traditional Chinese medicine. Hong Kong accounts for 50% of the global shark fin trade, according to the WWF.
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • China bans serving of shark fin and bird's nest soup at official banquets
  • Part of government crackdown on official extravagance
  • Ban also includes the serving of cigarettes and up-market liquors

Hong Kong (CNN) -- China has banned dishes containing delicacies like shark fin and and bird's nest from official banquets as part of a government crackdown on official extravagance.

Chinese authorities published new regulations that "explicitly ruled out dishes containing shark fins, bird nests and wild animal products in official reception dinners," the official Xinhua news agency reported on Sunday.

Xinhua also said that cigarettes and up-market liquors are not allowed to be served at official dinners and officials below provincial level should not stay in hotel suites on business trips.

The new rules aim to "regulate the use of public funding on receptions," Xinhua added.

President Xi Jinping has made tackling official corruption a priority since taking power earlier this year.

In September, the government announced that officials would not be able to use public money to send mooncakes as gifts - a traditional part of China's Mid Autumn Festival celebrations.

READ: More airlines ban shark fin cargo

Some hotels in Hong Kong and China have also removed shark's fin soup from their menus and airlines like, Cathay Pacific, have banned the product from cargo holds.

Up to 73 million sharks are estimated to be killed each year, according to a 2006 academic study quoted on the website of campaign group Hong Kong Shark Foundation. Their carcasses are usually discarded and campaigners say the practice is wasteful and cruel.

READ: China plans banquet ban on shark fin

Shark's fin soup is widely served in restaurants in Chinese communities worldwide and is a dish often served at weddings to mark the importance of the occasion and impress the couple's extended families and friends.

Shark fins off the menu at top hotel


ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 0513 GMT (1313 HKT)
Chinese are turning to overseas personal shoppers to get their hands on luxury goods at lower prices.
August 15, 2014 -- Updated 0908 GMT (1708 HKT)
Experts say rapidly rising numbers of Christians are making it harder for authorities to control the religion's spread.
August 11, 2014 -- Updated 0452 GMT (1252 HKT)
"I'm proud of their moral standing," says Harvey Humphrey. His parents are accused of corporate crimes in China.
August 6, 2014 -- Updated 1942 GMT (0342 HKT)
A TV confession detailing a life of illegal gambling and paid-for sex has capped the dramatic fall of one of China's most high-profile social media celebrities.
July 31, 2014 -- Updated 0410 GMT (1210 HKT)
President Xi Jinping's campaign to punish corrupt Chinese officials has snared its biggest target -- where can the campaign go from here?
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 0712 GMT (1512 HKT)
All you need to know about the tainted meat produce that affects fast food restaurants across China, Hong Kong, and Japan.
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 0230 GMT (1030 HKT)
Some savvy individuals in China are claiming naming rights to valuable foreign brands. Here's how companies can combat them.
July 16, 2014 -- Updated 0911 GMT (1711 HKT)
Is the Chinese president a true reformist or merely a "dictator" in disguise? CNN's Beijing bureau chief Jaime FlorCruz dissects the leader's policies
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 0344 GMT (1144 HKT)
With a population of 1.3 billion, you'd think that there would be 11 people in China who are good enough to put up a fight on the football pitch.
July 4, 2014 -- Updated 0631 GMT (1431 HKT)
26-year-old Ji Cheng is the first rider from China to compete for competitive cycling's highest honor.
July 7, 2014 -- Updated 1124 GMT (1924 HKT)
China's richest man, Wang Jianlin, may not yet be a household name outside of China, but that could be about to change.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 2357 GMT (0757 HKT)
When President Xi Jinping arrives in Seoul this week, the Chinese leader will have passed over North Korea in favor of its arch rival.
July 1, 2014 -- Updated 0656 GMT (1456 HKT)
The push for democratic reform in Hong Kong is testing China's "one country, two systems" model.
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 1156 GMT (1956 HKT)
Along a winding Chinese mountain road dotted with inns and restaurants is Jinan Orphanage, a place of refuge and site for troubled parents to dump unwanted children.
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 0836 GMT (1636 HKT)
CNN's Kristie Lu Stout invites Isaac Mao, Han Dongfang, and James Miles to discuss the rise of civil society in China and social media's crucial role.
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 0334 GMT (1134 HKT)
Chen Guangbiao wants rich people to give more to charity and he'll do anything to get their attention, including buying lunch for poor New Yorkers.
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
Architects are planning to build the future world's tallest towers in China. They're going to come in pretty colors.
ADVERTISEMENT