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News 13 Mar 07
Take shark's fin soup off menu for Olympics: lawmaker
Shark's fin soup should be removed from the menu at Chinese official banquets to prevent damage to the country's image during the Olympic Games next year, according to a lawmaker Tuesday.
"Serving shark's fin to foreign guests during the Olympic Games could greatly hurt China's national image, and officials should start to remove the dish from the dining table right now," Xu Zhihong, a member of China's national parliament told Xinhua news agency.
China is the world's biggest consumer and importer of shark fins and Xu, who is president of Peking University, said that the delicacy was a must-have dish at lavish government receptions.
Xu said other exotic dishes such as snake should also disappear from menus here because they would offend foreigner animal rights activists and environmentalists.
"It is not only an environmental issue, but one that has a direct bearing on the image of Chinese people," he said on the sidelines of a meeting of China's national parliament.
Controversy over China's appetite for shark's fin blew up last year when the country's most famous sports personality, basketball star Yao Ming, called for a boycott of the dish to save the endangered fish from extinction.
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