BEIJING—The Chinese government issued an official crackdown on all beverage refills Monday, warning that those who are caught helping themselves to more than one serving of any drink will be prosecuted as "traitors against the state."
"There will be no extra servings of Coke, Sprite or any other beverage in the Great and Glorious People's Republic of China," President Jiang Zemin announced via national radio Monday. "Refills are the poisonous creation of the Western capitalist running dog, who is too gluttonous to be satisfied by what can be contained in a single 12- or 16-ounce cup."
The crackdown comes in the wake of a Jan. 15 student-led rally in Beijing's Tiananmen Square, in which more than 450,000 pro-refill demonstrators were run over by government tanks. More than 270,000 other demonstrators were arrested and sent to refill re-education compounds in the remote Yinchuan province in Central Asia, where they will be taught to "contain their beverage thirst to those limits which are in accordance with the teachings of Chairman Mao."
"One drink," said Chinese Premier Li Peng. "One drink only."
As part of the government's enforcement of the crackdown, all those who order soft drinks at fast-food restaurants will be forced to pass through a series of checkpoints before filling their cups at self-serve soda fountains. At each checkpoint, armed army guards will inspect the wax-lined paper cups for moisture, cracking, beading, lip marks, or any other signs of prior usage.
According to U.S. intelligence experts on China, in response to the new checkpoint system, illegal cup smuggling rings are already beginning to form.
"In Wuhan province," said Robert Lovell, the CIA's head of Asian Affairs, "there are widespread reports of medium drink cups being smuggled past guards and into restaurants hidden inside large cups. In the Cantonese city of Zhanjiang, there are even reports of larges being smuggled inside 'super-size' ones."
"The risks are great," Lovell said, "but the potential refreshment is even greater."
The new anti-refill measures are the latest in a series of severe state-sponsored crackdowns. In the past month alone, the Chinese government has banned, under penalty of death: sharing entrees; holding hands; whistling; uttering the phrase, "Nice to meet you"; and wearing eyeglasses.