AN EARLIER VERSION OF THIS REPORT SAID THE INSPECTION HAD BEEN INTO WINE. IN FACT IT WAS INTO SPIRITS, A MISTAKE MADE IN THE TRANSLATION OF THE CHINESE REPORT INTO ENGLISH. OUR APOLOGIES INTO ANY CONFUSION CAUSED.

A survey by the China National Administration for Industry and Commerce in Beijing, Shenyang, Zhengzhou and Chengdu claims more than 70 percent of "imported" spirts sold in restaurants and hotels in the four cities is fake.

Their inspection of 50 hotels and restaurants in the four cities showed just 28.6 percent of bottles sold as quality, imported spirts were the real thing.

Beijing fared better than the rest, but is reported to have only managed 60% authenticity.

While counterfeiting is a multimillion dollar business in China, on occasion the investigators found the fake product was simply down to restaurants or hotels transferring cheap spirits into fancy imported bottles. In an effort to stamp out the trade, the administration has launched a crackdown on agents and dealers.

Eighteen months after its entry into the World Trade Organisation, China remains a counterfeit paradise, awash with a huge range of copied industrial products and brands, local or foreign.