Page last updated at 13:32 GMT, Sunday, 22 May 2005 14:32 UK

China outlaws 'naked sushi' meals

A woman covered in sushi in the Kunming restaurant in China
The authorities say the practice violates common decency

The Chinese government has banned restaurants from serving food on the bodies of naked women.

The practice was condemned as a violation of common decency by the commerce department.

The ban also aims to stop businesses from using nude models to promote their goods, Xinhua news agency reports.

In April 2004, Chinese media said that a Japanese restaurant in south-west China was fined 2,000 yuan ($240; 130) after it offered to serve "body sushi".

The practice of eating sushi off naked or nearly-naked women has long been popular with a certain clientele in Japan.

But the authorities in the Chinese city of Kunming criticised it at the time of the fine as both unhygienic and an infringement of women's rights.

The Beijing Times newspaper said the new ban was introduced because serving food on women "insults people's moral quality".

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