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Canton Fair puts ban on crooks
Latest Updated at 2008-April-9 10:05:16
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Despite complaints from potential exhibitors and public controversy, the China Import and Export Fair (Canton Fair)'s organizing committee will for the first time require attending exhibitors and journalists to produce documentation proving they do not have criminal records.

Overseas visitors are the only people exempt.

"Our overseeing body urged the requirement to effectively ensure safety during the event," the organizing committee's press officer Liang Yanfang told China Daily yesterday.

To get the documentation, exhibitors must go to the police or provincial trade delegations, while journalists must go to police or media officials, who must sign the papers, she said.

Organizers announced the decision last week and applicants have until Thursday to submit their records.

"We understand safety is very important, because this is China's biggest trade event, especially with riots breaking out in Southwest China before the Beijing Olympic Games," Li Guangjun, a marketing manager with a ceramics firm in Chaozhou, Guangdong province, said.

"However, it's very inconvenient for me to get such a document, because I'm not a native of Chaozhou, and I'll probably have to go back to my hometown in Anhui province to get it."

Li also said he wondered whether the requirement would be effective.

"It's not very difficult for those with ill intentions to get a fake document," he said.

"Also, many criminals might still be at large and so they won't have a criminal record.

"Even for those who were once criminals, we have to ask if it's true that, 'once a criminal, always a criminal'?"

Guangzhou-based lawyer Lu Dequan also disagreed with the requirement.

"Attending the fair is a corporate affair rather than an individual one. It is both unnecessary and groundless to urge exhibitors and journalists to produce such documentation, because even if a person has a criminal record, that doesn't constitute grounds for refusing to admit them," Lu said.

Organizers should instead focus more on beefing up security, he said.

Editor: Yan

By: Zhan Lisheng Source: China Daily Website

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