February 20, 2008 / 4:02 PM / in 10 years

Liquor firms to challenge work drink ban

BEIJING (Reuters) - Liquor makers in central China’s Henan province are planning a legal challenge to fight a ban on Communist Party officials and civil servants drinking alcohol at lunch during work days, state media said on Wednesday.

The ban, introduced in January last year, has led to more than 100 local cadres being reprimanded for ignoring it, the official Xinhua news said.

Local restaurants are complaining they have taken a hit in terms of fewer lunch customers and lower revenues from not selling as much alcohol, the report said.

“Drinking is a private affair and holding public office shouldn’t keep someone from consuming alcohol as long as it does not affect their work,” Xinhua quoted lawyer Kang Yinzhong, representing the Henan Alcohol Association, as saying.

Kang is “collecting opinions of liquor companies and would submit them to the provincial legislature demanding a revision or end to the ban,” Xinhua added.

Still, some citizens in Xinyang, one of the cities affected by the ban, have welcomed it.

“In the past, some cadres often drank alcohol together at midday, which affected their work efficiency and style,” Xinhua quoted an unnamed resident as saying. “But now the phenomenon has almost been stamped out.”

Reporting by Beijing newsroom; Editing by Ben Blanchard and Mathew Veedon

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