China joins the Bird Flu Club, halts poultry exports

China is now the 10th nation in Asia to confirm the presence of Bird flu, and is now banning poultry exports from the south-western Guangxi region and the central provinces of Hubei and Hunan.

At least 83,000 poultry in the three provinces have been killed, and officials estimated another 110,000 would be culled. Xinhua said the situation in all three regions was ‘under control’.

Across the region, the H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus has claimed 10 lives in Vietnam and Thailand.

The Chinese commerce ministry also said yesterday it had suspended imports of poultry from Indonesia, Laos and Pakistan in a bid to curb the spread of bird flu, Xinhua reported.

The move, announced by the commerce ministry and said to be effective since Wednesday, brings to eight the number of countries hit by a Chinese import ban. The others on the list are South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

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