On Jan. 1, 2006, China implemented the alcohol circulation management regulation, which explicitly forbids alcohol vendors from selling alcoholic drinks to minors. Chinese drinks outlets and shops are not permitted to sell alcoholic beverages to minors under the age of 18.
The aim of this first alcohol management regulation is to keep Chinese minors away from alcoholic beverages. Chinese government officials would like young people to turn their backs on alcoholic drinks in 2006.
The history of the Chinese brewing industry can be traced back 4,000 years. Alcohol has high status in traditional Chinese culture and is a frequent theme in Chinese classic poetry.
However, research carried out by the Peking University psyche health institute points out that alcohol consumption is on the rise in China, with 84.1 percent of adult Chinese men and 29.3 percent of women admitting to being regular drinkers.
Many minors are addicted to alcoholic drinks, which can cause fights and even alcoholism.
The implementation of the alcohol circulation management regulation on the Chinese mainland means that beverages with an alcohol content of more than 0.5 percent cannot be sold to minors.
According to the standard, not only distilled spirits, but also most beers and wines are prohibited. Alcohol vendors will get a warning from local government if they infringe the regulation, and will get a 2,000 yuan (about 250 U.S. dollars) fine if they stray from the law.
Markets and shops involved in the alcohol business have been given a three month interim period. Carrefour is taking the lead in taking action; alcohol counters in its five supermarkets in north China's Tianjin city have a sign saying "it is forbidden to sell alcoholic drinks to minors under the age of 18".
Similar signs have been put up in some drinks stores in cities in west and south China.
Wang Xiaozhong, a public relations manager at Carrefour, said that Carrefour employees have the right to refuse to sell alcoholic beverages to those who cannot prove their age.