The city of Beijing has called on its restaurants and hotels to stop serving dog meat during the Olympic Games next month.
The move is part of a broad drive by the Chinese capital to show itself in the best possible light as senior officials are concerned that dog meat on menus could offend visitors from western countries.
In a low-profile order issued recently in the name of the municipal food safety office, Beijing's catering industry association was told to "advocate" to its members that they "suspend use of dog meat dishes during the Olympic period".
Beijing is not the first Olympic host to introduce a ban on dog meat. South Korea banned it during the 1988 Seoul Olympics by invoking a law prohibiting the sale of "foods deemed unsightly".
Although dog meat is rarely used in local Beijing cuisine, it has been a popular ingredient in Korean and southern Chinese restaurants for years.
By Kerstin Kühn
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