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Ministries tackle pollution, public housing issues

By Xin Zhiming | China Daily | Updated: 2017-05-23 07:27

Ministries under the State Council, China's Cabinet, responded to a series of concerns from media outlets as well as the public in the past week, mainly concerning environmental protection and subsidized public housing.

Tackling pollution

The Ministry of Environmental Protection said that by May 19 it had sent 23 inspection teams to factories and enterprises in Hebei province and Beijing and Tianjin municipalities and they had found 242 enterprises at fault, accounting for about 74 percent of the total number of inspected enterprises.

Among those enterprises, 31 were found to have failed to install pollution-tackling facilities, while 23 were found to have dysfunctional facilities, said the ministry, which started the inspection in early April. One enterprise was cheating in online monitoring of pollutant emissions.

The ministry also said that there had been many cases of enterprises refusing to allow inspections, with three cases occurring in Handan and two in Hengshui - both cities in Hebei. Relevant departments had made further investigations into such cases, the ministry revealed.

The ministry described in detail how those enterprises refused to receive the inspection teams and urged the local governments to pay attention to those cases and sanction harsh punishment.

Public housing

The State Bureau of Letters and Calls on May 16 released the results of supervising and handling 48 cases concerning subsidized low-priced public housing since mid-April. It is the first time that the bureau released results of supervision of such a field.

The bureau sent six teams, including bureau staff, media reporters and National People's Congress deputies, in mid-April to several provinces and regions, such as Hebei, Liaoning, Inner Mongolia, Shandong, Henan and Hubei, to listen to public complaints. Many people across the country had written letters or made calls to the bureau to complain that they cannot move to public houses as the local governments had pledged; some also said they cannot get their property ownership certificate in a timely manner.

In a subsidized housing project in Shijiazhuang, capital of Hebei province, the supervision team found that the developer started to sell the houses without first obtaining a proper sales certificate from the local government; as a result, those who bought the houses cannot get the property ownership certificate and had appealed to the upper-level authorities many times. The local construction bureau, which is in charge of the matter, said they had talked with the developer about the illegal sales but failed to stop it; moreover, the bureau said it cannot find any materials regarding how it punished the developer because more than ten years had passed.

The central supervision team urged the local government to take measures to solve the problems. Since 2016, the letters and calls from the public concerning public housing projects have increased rapidly and the authorities selected 48 of the most typical cases for conducting field investigations, said Liu Yang, a senior official of the State Bureau of Letters and Calls. "Seen from those cases, some local governments have failed to carry out their duties; their loose supervision, irregular market regulation, and failure to communicate with the public have dented public confidence in government," he said. "We will closely monitor all cases until problems are solved."

Insurance integrity

The China Insurance Regulatory Commission recently said in a document that it will continue to carry out inspection campaigns this year to combat cheating by insurers. Insurers' names will be published if they provide false information to their clients or set obstacles for settlement of claims.

The commission said companies that have infringed upon the legal interests of their clients must be punished in accordance with relevant laws and regulations and, although they are not the direct wrongdoers, the senior management of those companies must also be punished.

The commission said it will publicize typical cases of infringement upon client interests to remind consumers of risks and send a warning to insurance managers.

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