Drinking Age in China: Everything You Need To Know

Drinking Age in China

If you want to know more about the drinking age in China – A country with one of the strictest governments in the world – Then this topic is for you. We will also be covering some of your most pressing questions regarding Chinese drinking culture, whether it’s okay for you to consume alcohol if you’re a minor, and what punishment you have to face when caught breaking the drinking laws in the country. If those topics interest you, then read on. 

If you’re a history buff, you would know that China has a very, very, very rich and storied history. The same can be said for their food and drink, in particular, their alcohol. The Chinese love their liquor, and some of their most famous ones include wine, Qingdao beer, rice wine, whiskey, and baijiu, a native distilled spirit made from fermented sorghum. And with this kind of alcoholic consumption, obviously, there’s bound to be a set of rules when it comes to public intoxication. 

What is the Legal Drinking Age in China?

Drinking Age in China

In China, you have to be over 18 years old to legally consume or purchase alcohol. The country actually has a Minors Protection Law, which states that adults cannot sell alcohol or cigarettes to anyone 17 years old and below. Business operators are also required to put up a prominent sign in their stores that states that minors cannot buy alcohol or cigarettes from their establishments. If an individual is of legal age but looks young, then the owner is required to ask the customer to present a valid ID card. 

What is the Legal Drinking Age in China for Tourists and Foreigners? 

Since you are just a visitor in the country, you have to follow the drinking laws in China, which means that you cannot purchase, own, or drink any alcohol until you turn 18. Keep in mind that when you’re in China, and you get invited to a drinking party with co-workers or friends, you must be able to follow certain drinking customs, or else you’ll be seen as disrespectful. Meanwhile, if you’re a female tourist, you’re not expected to drink as much. 

Do You Need an ID to Drink in China?

As mentioned, business establishments in China that sell alcohol or tobacco will require the owner to put up a sign that says they’re not allowed to sell their products to minors. If you’re buying alcohol or cigarettes in the store and the owner suspects that you’re a minor, they will ask you to show them a valid ID for proof. 

Legal Drinking Age in China with Parents 

According to official law, parents in China should not allow their children to drink alcohol, especially if they are minors. However, despite China’s strict rules regarding alcohol consumption, there have, in fact, been plenty of instances in which teens – And even children – Were made to drink alcohol with their parent’s supervision. There have been concerns regarding underage drinking in China, as it is feared that it could have plenty of negative effects on younger people.

Legal Drinking Age in China by Region

China may be a huge country, but the legal drinking age is applied to every city, province, and county. The same set of rules applies to other Chinese territories outside of the mainland – For instance, Hong Kong’s legal drinking age is also 18. Taiwan, another Chinese-speaking country, also follows the same rules. Even Macau, with its vibrant and energetic atmosphere, also has 18 as its legal drinking age. 

Can Minors Drink in China with Their Parents?

Even though people are not allowed to consume alcohol below 18 years old, underage drinking is still very prevalent in China, as long as it’s done in a private area such as a person’s home. Children have been known to walk up to liquor stores and purchase a bottle for their parents or older guardians to drink. If anything, drug possession and usage are a more serious offense there. 

Consequences of Breaking the Drinking Age Law in China 

Alcohol usage is pretty relaxed in China, and you can purchase it practically everywhere, even in grocery stores. In regards to drinking and driving, the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit is at least 0.02%, but it should be at least under 0.08%. If caught, the offender is expected to pay at least a fine of RMB 1,000 – 2,000, with their driver’s license getting suspended for over 6 months. Having a BAC of over 0.08% can result in imprisonment of up to 3 years. Any drunk driving accident that results in death or serious permanent injuries can lead to the cancellation of the offender’s license. 

Drinking Age in China – A Summary

Once you’ve reached the legal drinking age in China and are familiar with all of its rules, regulations, and cultures, you must remember one thing: Always remain in control when chugging down alcohol. Know your limits, and pace yourself. If you know how to drink alcohol in this country in moderation, you can go through all of its nuances easily. 

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