Food lovers feel the pinch as China bans barbecues

November 6th, 2010 - 6:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Nov 6 (IANS) Barbecue food lovers are getting a little agitated as major barbecue venues in China’s southern Guangzhou city were closed down to ensure good air quality for the upcoming 2010 Asian Games and Asian Para Games.

“I enjoy going out for barbecues, but now I can’t,” Feng Daiyan, a Guangzhou resident, told China Daily Friday.

Feng, 30, said he usually goes to a barbecue with friends, colleagues or family members every month.

“Barbecues are my favourite food in the autumn and winter, and I hope Guangzhou’s outdoor barbecue business will re-open soon after the Games,” he added.

Authorities in the Guangzhou provincial capital issued a special notice last month banning outdoor barbecues from Nov 1 to Dec 20.

The Asian Games will open next Friday and end Nov 27, while the first-ever Asian Para Games run Dec 12-19.

Another local resident, Wang Chunsheng said the government should not ban the barbecues that many local residents like, even when the Asian Games are in progress.

“Barbecues do not cause major air pollution, and the government is being a little too sensitive,” Wang said.

A staff member from a barbecue venue in Dafushan Forestry Park in Guangzhou’s Panyu district, where the Asian Games Town is located, said they closed two weeks ago.

By Friday, only three barbecue venues were open in Guangzhou. They said they had not been told to stop by the authorities.

An official from the Guangzhou Bureau of Park and Forestry requesting anonymity said: “The bureau will soon issue a special notice urging the barbecue venues that are still in business to stop.”

However, housewife Huang Wenjuan said it was understandable for the government to ban barbecues to improve the city’s air quality as it had promised a rich, wonderful and harmonious Asian Games.

Barbecue venues started becoming popular in the early 1990s. The city once had over 100 registered barbecue venues, with most enjoying brisk business.

But many venues, particularly those in parks and the city’s major scenic spots, have been gradually shut down since 2004 when a growing number of local residents complained that the barbecues caused pollution.

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