Central and local governments have responded to recent media reports and public concern over food safety, administrative streamlining, air pollution, and workers’ rights.
On March 15, World Consumer Rights Day, China Central Television reported how some food enterprises misled consumers by exaggerating their products’ health benefits; some even suggested that their food could serve as a medicinal substitute.
After the report emerged, the Food and Drug Administration quickly responded by arranging for its branches in Anhui, Jiangxi, Shandong and Hubei provinces to investigate the enterprises. It also sent a team to Hubei province to ensure that proper legal and manufacturing procedures were followed.
The Hubei provincial food and drug administration, and its branch in Wuhan, the provincial capital, worked with the police in the probe. Wuhan Lebailing Biotechnology Co Ltd and Hubei Guochuang Biotechnology Co Ltd were investigated over the allegations.
In the other three provinces mentioned in the report, the CFDA also probed reported companies and some have already been punished for illegal activities. The CFDA said it will ensure the companies are penalized if the allegations are proven correct.
In order to further propel the ongoing reform of simplifying administrative procedures and optimizing services, the State Council, China’s Cabinet, said in a news release on March 20 that it will launch a special supervision procedure over ministries and local governments to evaluate their performance.
From late March to mid-April, ministries and local governments will be required to check on whether they have simplified administrative procedures and improved services. In late April, the State Council will send inspection teams to supervise them.
Air pollution control
From March 15 to March 18, inspection groups formed by the Ministry of Environmental Protection, together with branches in 18 cities, continued inspecting air-pollution control measures.
Having inspected 869 government departments, institutions and enterprises, the teams uncovered 202 areas of concern. For example, in Langfang city, North China’s Hebei province, about a dozen injection-molding enterprises had resumed production despite being put on the list of heavily polluting enterprises.
In Tianjin municipality, Wanlite Steel for Buildings Co was found to have installed volatile organic compound (VOC) processing facilities, but it did not start them up and emitted waste VOC without proper processing. This contributed to pollution. In coal-storage warehouses in Tianjin, there were no nets to prevent dust from adding to pollution.
In Baoding city, Hebei province, a knitting and dyeing company was found to have altered its online pollution supervision system, and the data its system sent to the local environmental protection city had been fabricated.
Some local governments were also found to have failed to keep the environment clean. In Longyao county, Hebei province, the local urban management bureau did not supervise the street cleaning company it hired well enough and the streets were found to still have rubbish on them.
Fight against delayed wages
Liaoning provincial government sent seven inspection teams to 14 cities to supervise construction companies and tackle wage delays.
It followed the State Council’s decision to comprehensively solve the problem of construction companies delaying wages for their workers. The inspection teams will push some companies to pay immediately, and hold accountable officials responsible for their failures.
On March 17, the Liaoning provincial government required all subordinate cities to better perform their duties to solve the problem.