Ministries and departments under the State Council, China’s Cabinet, have responded to a series of issues concerning the public in the past week, including odorous salt, preferential financial policy, kindergarten, primary and middle-school security, think tank management and air pollution.
Combating salt scandal
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has responded to media reports of odorous substandard salt produced in Henan province. After the scandal was exposed, the ministry called on the Henan Salt Administration to investigate and deal with the problem. The administration has suspended operations of three salt companies in the province, and required one of the companies to recall 7,000 tons of substandard salt products.
The ministry said guaranteeing the quality and safety of salt is one of the major issues concerning people’s basic well-being, and the ministry will keep monitoring the problem, require relevant authorities to release test results soon and seriously punish any company found to be producing substandard salt.
P referential financial policy
Xu Hongcai, assistant minister of finance, said on May 5 that the ministry will implement five preferential policies to encourage local governments to actively push supply-side structural reform, eliminate excessive production capacity and enhance financial management.
According to Xu, the five incentives include giving extra rewards to nine regions that passed requirements for eliminating steel and coal overcapacity, giving incentive funds to 10 regions that successfully performed financial management; rewarding 30 cities and counties that promoted public-private partnerships, and providing preferential employment subsidies to eight regions that succeeded in poverty alleviation.
Meanwhile, the ministry will also reward local governments that renovated shantytowns, or introduced public hospital reform, old-age support services, environmental management and technological development.
An official of the Ministry of Education said that education authorities should include security in the evaluation of kindergarten, primary and middle schools.
Wang Daquan, deputy director of the ministry’s department of policy and law, said at a news conference that the document on enhancing security and control in kindergartens and primary and middle schools issued by the General Office of the State Council included requirements on security. According to the document, heads of kindergartens and primary and middle schools should take full responsibility for security. Kindergartens and primary and middle schools should implement enhanced management and security measures and control facilities should be installed on campus.
Think tank management
Nine ministries and departments, including the Ministry of Civil Affairs, jointly issued a document promoting social think tanks. According to Li Bo, an official of the Ministry of Civil Affairs, the document requires managing nonofficial think tanks according to relevant laws and regulations. The civil affair authorities will ban unregistered social organizations operating in the name of think tanks in accordance with relevant laws and regulations.
Li said the document stresses that such think tanks should be managed by both civil affairs authorities and the institutions that are in direct charge of those think tanks. Meanwhile, a supervision mechanism through which specialized and social organizations can supervise those think tanks should be established, according to the document.
More than 1,900 companies and institutions have been inspected in the second round of air pollution and control inspections by the Ministry of Environmental Protection in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and surrounding areas from April 28 to May 4. The ministry said environmental problems were found in 1,210 companies and institutions, accounting for 63.4 percent of the entities that have been inspected.