BEIJING, Jan. 11(Xinhuanet)-- Chinese retailers selling alcohol products to minors under the age of 18 will be punished as of April this year, according to a new regulation which took effect on Jan. 1.|
These products include distilled liquor and most beer and wine with an alcohol content of more than 0.5 percent, according to the regulation on the control over the circulation of alcohol products.
Alcohol dealers are also demanded to put signs about no alcohol sale to minors at their shops.
The punishment for violators ranges from government warning to a fine of 2,000 yuan(250 U.S. dollars).
Although the government allows a grace period of three months to enforce the regulation, many alcohol dealers have responded quickly.
In Tianjin, a port city near Beijing, the five outlets of France's supermarket giant Carrefour set up signs of the sales bank on their alcohol counters.
"Our staff are asked to check the ID card, driver's license or passport of buyers who look like minors," said Wang Xiaozhong, public relations manager of Carrefour China.
Similar signs are also seen in stores in Urumqi in the northwest and Guangzhou in the south.
Nevertheless, it is easy to set up signs, but hard to refuse the buyers. Owners of some grocery stores in Tianjin told Xinhua that many kids would say that they bought alcohol for their parents, not for themselves.
In Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province, market inspectors found that not only supermarkets but also restaurants and bars were selling alcohol to minors during the New Year holiday.
Experts with the Nanjing Alcohol Marketing Association said the ban would help keep young people from alcohol but it was not easy to carry it out smoothly. They suggested concerned government departments strengthen enforcement of the regulation.
Drinking alcohol is popular in China, one of the earliest countries in the world to make such products. A survey conducted by the Psychic Health Research Institute of Beijing University shows that the number of Chinese alcohol drinkers, including quite a few minors, has been increasing in recent years, and 84.1 percent of them are male drinkers. Enditem