A social staple, alcohol is an essential part of Chinese banquets, business dinners, government events, official receptions and even victory marches of troops. An important component of the Chinese custom, use of alcohol can be traced back to the beginning of the nation’s history. Though it might be impossible for some to imagine an important occasion without alcohol, it seems that officials, working in South West China’s Guizhou province, might have to forego alcohol at their official dinner tables.
According to a recent official announcement, effective Sep. 1, 2017, alcohol of any kind, including beer and red wine, will be banned from official events and receptions in Guizhou. The upcoming ban applies to all civil servants in the Party’s and government departments, government organizations, judicial structures, local state-owned companies, public associations and public institutions. Additionally, it forbids individuals or organizations from offering alcoholic beverages to civil servants.
The only exception to this rule would be important occasions involving events related to attracting foreign investment or foreign affairs, where alcohol can be served if prior approval has been obtained.
Referred to as the “Complete Prohibition of Alcohol in Guizhou,” the move has been introduced to improve the work style of officials. According to Guo Ruliang, a county official in eastern China’s Anhui province, “Alcohol bans not only address dinner table corruption, but also liberate public servants.” Further, it will also help improve the image of the officials.
Popular among the nation’s officials and business people, the notorious boozy banquets, coupled with its ganbei culture, that is obligatory drinking among local officials, is known to claim the lives of many government officials. The history of strict alcohol bans goes back to late 2013 when, as a part of a frugality campaign, cigarettes and high-end liquor were banned by the central authorities at working lunches. Similar alcohol bans were also implemented in the provinces of Heilongjiang, Zhejiang, Anhui, Jilin and Xinjiang.
Calling attention to the execution of the ban and severity of punishment, Zhang Ping, deputy head of Guizhou Provincial Discipline Inspection Commission of the Communist Party of China said that the province will recruit staff to check the execution of the ban and on being caught, violators will be punished seriously.
Statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO), reveal that 16 percent of the worldwide alcohol drinkers, aged 15 years or older, engage in heavy episodic drinking. The figures become even more glaring in America with 15.1 million American adults (aged 18 years or above) suffering from an alcohol use disorder (AUD). Considered one of the leading preventable causes of death in the United States, alcohol consumption claims an estimated 88,000 American lives annually.
Drinking a lot over a long time or drinking too much alcohol can cause one to experience severe negative health consequences, including weakening of the immune system, liver and heart diseases, high risk of developing certain cancers, and adversely affect the brain. In addition to causing a variety of physical illnesses, alcohol has also been linked to various mental disorders ranging from depression to suicide. When left untreated, alcoholism can have debilitating consequences.
A serious problem that affects many people, heavy alcohol use can disturb every aspect of one’s emotional and physical life and can put a great financial stress on the health care system and the society as a whole.
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