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Ministries respond to public concerns

 Several ministry-level departments, including those for ecology and environment, education, and agriculture and rural affairs, have responded recently to issues of public concern.

 
Maritime pollution tackled
 
The environmental watchdog said on Nov 30 that it will adopt a variety of measures to fight against pollution and protect the ecology and environment of the Bohai Sea area.
 
Ke Chang, a senior official from the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, said the campaign against pollution will be conducted on four fronts; namely, addressing pollution sources on land, curbing pollution from maritime activities, restoring the maritime ecological environment and preventing environmental risks.
 
The campaign will target rivers and outfalls flowing into the Bohai Sea, factories, pollution from rural residents and agriculture, and urban sewage. Pollution from mariculture, vessels and ports will also be targeted, he told a news conference.
 
The government will adopt rigorous rules to control sea reclamation and coastline development projects. It will carry out environmental risks assessments and law enforcement inspections to wipe out major risks to the maritime environment.
 
The government will also establish an early warning and emergency response system against red and green tides.
 
Swine fever coordination call
 
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs has called for greater coordination between Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province to control and prevent the spread of African swine fever.
 
Yu Kangzhen, vice-minister of agriculture and rural affairs, said at a work conference on Nov 27 that the risks for the spread of the fever cannot be ignored as the country is still faced with a challenging situation of disease control.
 
Authorities from Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei should unify their leadership over disease control and prevention and increase information connectivity and coordination in measures, he said.
 
He also called for better emergency responses to improve prevention and joint efforts from the three provincial areas for law enforcement.
 
The Agriculture Ministry said last month that it has confirmed African swine fever on two farms in Beijing, the first cases in the Chinese capital. The disease was detected on two farms in the municipality’s Fangshan district.
 
Kindergarten numbers in focus
 
The Ministry of Education said on Nov 28 that it will increase the percentage of public kindergartens among preschool institutions so that more children can enjoy inclusive preschool education services.
 
Lyu Yugang, an official with the department of elementary education with the ministry, said in a news conference on Nov 28 that authorities will inspect unlicensed kindergartens, certify those that are qualified and suspend or close those that fail to meet safety or hygiene standards.
 
Those found with “excessive profit-seeking behaviors” in establishing or operating kindergartens will be strictly curbed, he said.
 
Public kindergartens took up 44.1 percent of the country’s total kindergartens in 2017, according to the ministry.
 
Online system to help IPR fight
 
An online trademark service system has been launched as part of efforts to better protect intellectual property rights, the National Intellectual Property Administration announced on Nov 27.
 
The online system, which is upgraded from the trademark application system, will integrate one-stop services including trademark inquiry, application, announcements, online payment and registration publicity, according to the administration.
 
Shen Changyu, head of the administration, said the launch of the online system is an important step to facilitate trademark registration and to build a trademark service system with high efficiency and transparency.
 
He noted that the registration and review of intellectual property rights are key parts of IPR protection, and the authority will continue to improve the mechanism and its services.
 
Efforts have also been made to fast-track the trademark registration process, and the average trademark review cycle had shortened to less than six months as of November.
 
The country has seen a growing number of applications for trademark in recent years. Trademark applications in China reached around 6 million from January to October, up by 36.4 percent year-on-year, according to the authority.

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