INJURED KIDS A doctor gives medical treatment to a student, one of the victims of a stampede at a middle school in central China's Hunan Province on December 7, which killed eight and injured 26 (ZHAO ZHONGZHI)
A panel of 42 experts in the fields of hygiene, agriculture, food and nutrition was set up on December 8 by the Chinese Government to conduct risk assessment on food safety.
According to China's Food Safety Law, the expert committee shoulders the responsibilities of formulating risk monitoring and assessment schemes, establishing technical rules and explaining assessment result.
Minister of Health Chen Zhu said that over the next two years, the ministry would establish a national monitoring network for food contaminants and food-borne illness, and begin a national dietary research.
Food safety issues have become particularly sensitive in China since September 2008 after melamine-contaminated dairy products were found to have left at least six infants dead and sickened about 300,000 others.
Government Websites Boom
More than 45,000 government websites have been set up in China amid growing awareness of promoting information transparency, official figures showed.
Websites had become an important platform for governments at various levels to disclose information and interact with the public, said Lu Shiche, Chairman of China Information Industry Association at a forum on December 6.
China initiated the government website construction campaign in 1999. The Ministry of Defense is the latest ministry to open its official website. In the three months after its opening on August 20, total visits hit 1.25 billion.
The sales revenue of China's online gaming industry is expected to reach 27.5 billion yuan ($4.03 billion) in 2009, according to Ma Huateng, President and CEO of China's leading Internet service provider Tencent.
The third quarter financial reports of major Chinese online game companies including Sohu, Tencent, NetEase and Shanda, showed most of them recorded a 60-percent or even higher increase in gross profit, according to the report of Beijing Daily on December 6.
The sales revenue of China's online gaming industry reached 18.38 billion yuan ($2.7 billion) in 2008, up 76.6 percent from 2007.
Chinese online game companies' expansion overseas also contributed to the growth.
Websites Shut Down
Beijing Internet users are scrambling for downloads from BitTorrent (BT) websites following speculation that authorities will shut them down soon.
Meanwhile, another downloading website, VeryCD, went offline on December 9 due to a technical failure, Internet experts said the failure might be caused by an overload of users seeking last-minute free downloads.
As the largest BT download website in China with 5 million downloads each year, VeryCD has been on the verge of closure after the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) shut hundreds of similar peer-to-peer file sharing sites.
Owners of the Shanghai-based website said they might suspend download feeds because the site does not have a license to provide audio and video content. The website was warned by SARFT in 2008 that it was spreading unauthorized audios and videos in China.
Aside from pirated DVDs, file-sharing websites are also comprehensive sources of foreign entertainment such as dramas, rare movies, books and CDs.