Several ministry-level departments, including healthcare, water resources and education, have responded recently to issues of public concern.
Health sector scams and fraud in crackdown focus
The National Health Commission said on March 22 that a yearlong campaign has been launched to clamp down on scams and fraud in the healthcare sector.
The campaign, which starts this month, is jointly launched by the commission and another eight central government departments.
The commission said in a statement that the campaign will focus on illegal activities such as practicing irregularities, medical care fraud, overtreatment, and misleading commercials and promotions of healthcare products and services.
The authority also vowed harsh punishment for medical practitioners leasing their certificates, healthcare providers or pharmacies renting and trading such certificates, and those manufacturing and selling counterfeit drugs will face harsh punishment.
For those enticing and forcing patients to receive unnecessary treatment, the national credit system for medical practitioners and facilities will mark down their wrongdoings and illegal activities, and make their information public.
Food safety in schools to be further strengthened
China has issued a new regulation on food safety at schools to further improve nutrition and health standards at campuses.
The new regulation, published on March 21, was jointly launched by the Ministry of Education, the National Health Commission and the State Administration for Market Regulation.
As part of efforts to ensure food safety, school officials from kindergartens to high schools must accompany students during school meals, the regulation said.
Schools are also required to release details of food sources, suppliers and other information. Eligible schools and kindergartens can also establish a mechanism so that parents can eat with their children at campuses so that they could provide feedback over food safety and nutrition.
It also called for eligible schools and kindergartens to hire nutrition specialists to provide guidance to students. Schools should nurture healthy eating habits of students and step up monitoring and intervention to prevent malnutrition and obesity among students.
Under the regulation, food safety supervision departments must step up oversight over school food safety via regular inspections on and around campus and guide schools to carry out their food safety responsibilities.
The regulation, which will come into effect on April 1, is also aimed to establish a risk prevention and control system on school food and enable better prevention, emergency response and coping with school food safety accidents.
Waiting time for patent reviews to be slashed
An official with the National Intellectual Property Administration said on March 23 that the country will cut the time needed for patent reviews by at least 15 percent this year to enable better protection of intellectual property rights.
Gan Shaoning, deputy head of the administration, said in a speech at the China Development Forum in Beijing that the review time for trademarks will also be reduced to within 5 months.
The authority will also step up IPR protection by optimizing the mechanisms governing IPR, pushing forward the development of a system for the protection, and expand channels for market entities to defend their rights, he said.
Groundwater resources to be better protected
The Ministry of Water Resources has urged greater efforts to prevent the over-extraction of groundwater in North China.
The ministry said in a statement on March 21 that local authorities and departments should step up coordination and ensure measures will be in place to prevent more overuse of groundwater in North China.
Areas faced with the problems must adopt water conservation measures across the board and adjust their crop structures in the agricultural sector, the ministry said.