China bans shark fin dishes at official banquets
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 WWF.
- 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
Part of complete coverage on
March 13, 2014 -- Updated 0621 GMT (1421 HKT)
For the families of passengers aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, the wait for news is agonizing.
March 11, 2014 -- Updated 0835 GMT (1635 HKT)
China plans to hold special courses to train government leaders in ways of managing online public opinion, according to a report in state-run media.
March 14, 2014 -- Updated 0430 GMT (1230 HKT)
Is China a land of opportunities, or land of anger and despair? Tao Xie weighs in.
March 11, 2014 -- Updated 0204 GMT (1004 HKT)
Just call it the Fake Leap Forward: Hong Kongers dressed in Mao suits to protest increasing mainland Chinese influence in their city.
March 7, 2014 -- Updated 0719 GMT (1519 HKT)
For some local Hong Kongers, the local economy is being geared to the needs of cashed-up Chinese day-trippers, rather than locals.
March 6, 2014 -- Updated 1027 GMT (1827 HKT)
Vladimir Putin is seeking China's support in Russia's standoff with Western powers over Ukraine.
March 8, 2014 -- Updated 0559 GMT (1359 HKT)
Despite the country's improving economy, women in China still face rampant discrimination.
February 27, 2014 -- Updated 0824 GMT (1624 HKT)
What's the story with WeChat, the messaging app taking China by storm?
As China's annual parliamentary meetings kick off, Beijing gauges progress on key economic reforms outlined last year.
February 28, 2014 -- Updated 0501 GMT (1301 HKT)
Outgoing U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke speaks to CNN about his time in China.
February 26, 2014 -- Updated 0449 GMT (1249 HKT)
Limited investment options in China means real estate has been a popular choice for consumers looking to expand their portfolios.
February 27, 2014 -- Updated 0140 GMT (0940 HKT)
It's sexy, sophisticated, skintight, and started as a Chinese feminist statement. Here's the story of China's "cheongsam"
February 25, 2014 -- Updated 0911 GMT (1711 HKT)
Linkedin, the networking site for professionals, has done what few other foreign online services have achieved -- it has successfully set up its China operations.
February 25, 2014 -- Updated 0408 GMT (1208 HKT)
With its tradition of free speech, Hong Kongers pride themselves on their strong opinions -- but now local journalists say they are being shut up.
February 25, 2014 -- Updated 1019 GMT (1819 HKT)
Beijingers are once again choking as smog levels hit "heavy or even worse" levels in the capital and other cities across the country.
February 21, 2014 -- Updated 1349 GMT (2149 HKT)
China has urged U.S. President Barack Obama to call off a meeting at the White House with Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.
February 19, 2014 -- Updated 1205 GMT (2005 HKT)
Far from being censored, the U.S. political drama 'House of Cards' is widely available in China -- and surprisingly popular.
Today's five most popular stories