Legislation Against Cover-up
A new law, which is to take effect on November 1, bans the fabrication and spreading of false information on accidents and disasters and requires governments to provide accurate and timely information.
The Emergency Response Law approved by the national legislature on August 30 this year is aimed at improving the handling of industrial accidents and natural disasters, as well as health and public security hazards.
Under the law Chinese officials are legally obliged to provide accurate and timely information on public emergencies, while media organizations that publish false reports could lose their business licenses.
Calling for Cross-straits Media Exchange
The mainland will make efforts to facilitate a mechanism of dispatching resident correspondents between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan, said Ye Kedong, Vice Director of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, at a symposium marking the 20th anniversary of the mainland's official opening to Taiwan's media.
Since 1994, the mainland has allowed 11 Taiwan media organizations to dispatch permanent correspondents to Beijing, Shanghai, Fuzhou, Chengdu and other mainland cities.
Taiwan authorities did not give a green light to permanent mainland correspondents until November 2000 when only four mainland media organizations received permits. Admittance was expanded to the China News Service in July 2004, but the permits for resident correspondents from Xinhua and People's Daily have been suspended since 2005 after the two publications printed different opinions from those of the Taiwan authorities.
Large Hydropower Plant Under Construction
China has started damming Jinsha River, the upper stretch of the Yangtze River, to build the first hydropower plant on it, a project that once raised environmental concerns.
With a designed installed capacity of 12.6 million kw, the Xiluodu hydropower plant, scheduled to be completed in 2015, will be the nation's second largest hydropower plant after the Three Gorges Plant and the third largest in the world.
The plant, located in the country's southwest, will provide power for the dynamic economies of central and east China. It is also a subsidiary project of the Three Gorges Project in terms of flood control.
China plans to build a dozen power plants on the upper Yangtze stretch that is home to the Jinsha, Yalong and Dadu rivers.
Ban Lifted on TCM Doctors
A six-year ban on doctors of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) treating patients in drugstores is expected to be lifted soon amid government efforts to boost TCM.
TCM doctors treating patients at drugstores has been practiced in China for nearly 2,000 years, but it was banned in 2001 after some drugstores illegally oversold drugs and medical apparatus to patients under the guise of free treatment provided by TCM doctors.
A pilot program of allowing TCM doctors back to drugstores will start in nine cities from December, it was announced at a press conference of the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine. But the administration also emphasized that it would set up strict procedures to select qualified drugstores and TCM doctors.
Chinese people will soon have a brand new calendar of holidays as some traditional festivals, such as Tomb-Sweeping Day, Dragon Boat Festival and the Mid-Autumn Festival, will be included in its list of official holidays. May Day holiday, one of the two week-long holidays in May and October introduced in 1999, is likely to cease.
The Chinese Government has formed a preliminary plan on the new legal holiday arrangement that will be released "in the near future." After that, public opinion will be sought on the Internet.
Traditional festivals represent part of China's 5,000 years of cultural heritage. However, current legal holiday arrangements only include the Spring Festival, usually falling in January or February.