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Duty-free sector and fire safety among issues addressed

Xu Wei
Updated: Jul 9,2019 7:02 AM     China Daily

Several ministry-level departments, including those for finance, emergency management and health, have responded recently to issues of public concern.

Regulation to ensure fair duty-free market

China will beef up oversight of duty-free shops at ports with measures to encourage fair market competition, according to a temporary regulation published on July 4.

The regulation, issued jointly by the Ministry of Finance and four other government departments, said operators of duty-free shops must be decided through a bidding process, during which eligible businesses must be offered unbiased treatment.

The sustainable development of businesses must be taken into account during the selection of operators, and the variety of products they offer, in addition to liquor and cigarettes, will be an important factor.

Products sold at duty-free shops must be in line with the categories of products authorized by the General Administration of Customs, the regulation said.

Fire safety inspections ordered near campuses

The Ministry of Emergency Management has called for heightened efforts to reinforce fire safety inspections of rental housing units and businesses near campuses in the wake of several accidents in recent months.

In a notice issued with three other government departments on July 3, the ministry said problems such as a lack of fire control measures, failure to assume safety responsibilities and a lack of safety training were behind a number of deadly fires in rental housing in recent years that have each claimed at least 10 lives.

Meanwhile, businesses around campuses, such as internet cafes, games rooms and hotels, also pose severe fire hazards due to the large flow of people attracted to their commercial activities, it said.

Government departments must launch comprehensive fire safety inspections targeting rental housing units and business venues, the notice said.

Housing units accommodating more than 10 tenants that fail to ensure safe evacuation procedures must be shut down temporarily, and electric bikes that are illegally parked or charged inside residential buildings must be removed.

The notice also called for property owners and managers to organize fire extinguishing and emergency evacuation drills on a regular basis, carry out fire safety inspections, and keep firefighting equipment well maintained.

Psychological health of elderly a priority

The National Health Commission said on July 4 that it has launched a two-year pilot program to evaluate the psychological conditions of senior residents and improve the ability of health workers at the primary level to offer help.

The program, covering 1,600 urban communities and 320 villages, will conduct evaluations of the psychological conditions of residents age 65 and older to learn about the common psychological issues they face, said Wang Haidong, head of commission’s department of aging and health.

Under the program, psychological assessments will be carried out on a voluntary basis, and interventions and suggestions for medical treatment will be offered depending on the results, he said.

The commission said the program has been prompted by an increase in mental problems among the elderly in recent years. More senior citizens are now part of the migrant population or have been left behind at home by their children, making them vulnerable to mental issues, especially when they catch chronic diseases or lose their spouses or friends, it said.

The program is expected to improve the ability of medical workers at the primary level to identify common psychological issues and offer corresponding help, Wang said.

Action plan to boost security of data

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said on July 1 that it has launched a one-year action plan to boost data security, targeting data leaks and misuse by businesses.

The campaign will include checks on data security at all telecom companies, 50 major internet companies and 200 popular online applications by the end of October, the ministry said.

The plan calls for the establishment of an industry data security protection mechanism, with measures to develop data protection catalogs and formulate security standards in more than 15 industries.