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
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 0551 GMT (1351 HKT)
David McKenzie meets some American teenagers who are spending a year in China to be fully immersed in the culture.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 0259 GMT (1059 HKT)
Chinese students show a handmade red ribbon one day ahead of the the World AIDS Day, at a school in Hanshan, east China's Anhui province on November 30, 2009.
The Chinese government pledges to protect a boy with HIV, who was shunned by his entire village in Sichuan, state media reported.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
A Chinese couple allegedly threw hot water on a flight attendant and threatened to blow up the plane.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 0503 GMT (1303 HKT)
China's 1.3 billion citizens may soon find it much harder to belt out their national anthem at will.
December 10, 2014 -- Updated 0021 GMT (0821 HKT)
Los Angeles in the last century went through its own smog crisis. The city's mayor says LA's experience delivers valuable lessons for Beijing.
December 6, 2014 -- Updated 0542 GMT (1342 HKT)
At the height of his power, security chief Zhou Yongkang controlled China's police, spy agencies and courts. Now, he's under arrest.
December 5, 2014 -- Updated 0826 GMT (1626 HKT)
China says it will end organ transplants from executed prisoners but tradition means that donors are unlikely to make up the shortfall.
December 5, 2014 -- Updated 0648 GMT (1448 HKT)
China's skylines could look a lot more uniform in the years to come, if a statement by a top Beijing official is to believed.
December 3, 2014 -- Updated 0855 GMT (1655 HKT)
Despite a high-profile anti-corruption drive, China's position on an international corruption index has deteriorated in the past year.
November 26, 2014 -- Updated 1201 GMT (2001 HKT)
A daring cross-border raid by one of Russian President Vladimir Putin's associates has -- so far -- yet to sour Sino-Russian relations.
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 0051 GMT (0851 HKT)
A 24-hour bookstore in Taipei is a popular hangout for both hipsters and bookworms.
November 25, 2014 -- Updated 0153 GMT (0953 HKT)
China is building an island in the South China Sea that could accommodate an airstrip, according to IHS Jane's Defence Weekly.
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 1057 GMT (1857 HKT)
North Korean refugees and defectors face a daunting journey to reach asylum in South Korea, with gangs of smugglers the only option.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 2319 GMT (0719 HKT)
China and "probably one or two other" countries have the capacity to shut down the nation's power grid and other critical infrastructure.
ADVERTISEMENT