Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Deng and Mao theme restaurants not a model for success (2001)

Another odd news article I translated from the Chinese press 10 years ago.
Translated and edited by D. Christopher Harry, freelance translator

"Deng Family Restaurant" Closed Yesterday for Doing Business under the Banner of Deng Xiaoping

     The "Deng Family Restaurant" which was the focus of a news scrum these last two days was closed yesterday. This reporter arrived on the scene to find the two characters "Deng Family" had been taken down, the twin black cat/white cat sculptures were no longer in front of the restaurant, and the characters "Deng Xiaoping has led us to prosperity" were also cleaned off the restaurant window. Pictures of Deng's life and work were also removed form the interior of the restaurant. The restaurant's owner, Meng Jiawan, said that staff from the Yongdingmenwai Street Office of Industry and Commerce in Beijing's Chongwen District came to his restaurant the day before yesterday to inform him to close the restaurant . As they explained, there was nothing wrong with the name "Deng Family Restaurant" and the promotion of the late paramount leader's theories and thinking; only that his name could not be used for the purpose of doing business.
     One official from the Chongwen District Bureau of Industry and Commerce who refused to reveal his identity said that the restaurant was forced to close down possibly for being suspected of false advertising and unfair competition. In his opinion, despite the fact that the restaurant did not use the late leader's name explicitly, the twin black cat/white cat sculptures out front, and the 80-odd pictures of Deng inside the restaurant make it clear to customers that the "Deng Family Restaurant" is borrowing the fame of China's former leader to attract business. This is in violation of a statute forbidding the use of the names of great leaders for commercial purposes. In addition, many of the dishes in the restaurant have no connection with Deng Xiaoping. Thus, the "Deng Family Restaurant" is also suspected of misleading customers about facts relating to the deceased leader.
     Restaurant owner, Meng Jiawan, had told a reporter that he had been inspired by another restaurant under the name of "Mao Family Dishes" to borrow the name of Deng Xiaoping, also born in his hometown of Guang'an in Sichuan province. "I revere Deng Xiaoping and I wanted to promote both his greatness and his achievements.", Mr. Meng said.
     Prior to this incident, the Chongwen District Bureau of Industry and Commerce had ordered the "Mao Family Dishes" restaurant in the same district to cease operations due to the restaurant owner's claims about which dishes Mao Zedong was most partial to. By the same token, this practice also violates relevant provisions of an advertising law which prohibits using living or deceased national leaders for the purpose of promoting business.

Cui Hong (Beijing Morning Post 2001-11-04)

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