Seafood restaurants shut down in China as New Year approaches
China’s premier seaside tourist region is seeking to rein in malpractice in the seafood catering sector, which has seen customers overcharged and a restaurant charged with bribery.
A clampdown involving the China Food and Drug Administration, the Industry and Commerce Bureau (which issues business licenses), the Tourism Administration, and the Public Security Bureau has resulted in the high-profile closure of two restaurants in Sanya, the coastal city on the tropical island of Hainan that is often touted as China’s answer to Miami.
The Liu Mei Jia seafood restaurant has had its license revoked for “soliciting customers” – reference to a practice in which restaurateurs use misleading advertising and salespeople to lure in customers who are then frequently overcharged. Also put out of business was the Qiong Mei Jia seafood restaurant, which stands accused of “bribery,” according to the local office of the Industry and Commerce Bureau, which didn’t elaborate on the charge.
Price-bilking by seafood restaurants has become a major consumer issue in China in recent years, particularly in major tourist destinations like Sanya. This, in turn, has drawn more scrutiny onto the seafood catering trade. The latest crackdown, which featured prominently on state-run TV, comes just before the annual Chinese New Year on 16 February 16, a peak period for dining out.