Food Safety´sBad Taste in China
A new food safety law that took effect in 2009 failed toend China´s struggle with consumer scandals invoMngdangerous and even poisonous food. As a result, thegovernment added amendments to the Criminal Lawthis year designed to step up food protection. But someexperts say this tougher legislation and enforcement canhardly be expected to resolve allfood security problems.
Several scholars familiar with the ongoing struggle argue that thenation´s regulations are too segmented. They say voids in regulation andenforcement prevent effective safety monitoring of the nation´s food. Inaddition, China´s current food quaiity standards lag behind internationalnorms, the scholars say, and data disclosure is too opaque to allow properpublic scrutiny of the food production chain.Grappling with
China´s legislature approved June 30 ameasure to more closely regulate the exercisingof administrative powers which, for example,let govemments deploy specialpolice to remove illegal street vendors. The law takeseffect this year in hopes of reducing heavy-handed administrative controls. Legal expertsoffering opinions include Ying Songnian, headof the Research Institution of AdministrativeLaw at the China Law Society, and YangXiaojun, law department vice director at theNational School of Administration.
Ying says the measure´s authorsfocused on preventing the abuse of power.But Yang says loopholes willlet govemmentagencies eircumvent the rules. He says, forinstance, the law´s intent is trumped by aprovision in the Admirustrative Penalty Law,which lets government agencies use variousadministrative measures.
Boost Productivity toMaintain Growth
Amid rising concern about a diminishingdemographic dividend for the Chinese economyand its effect on growth, an increasing numberof the nation´s economists are busy exploringnew avenues for sustainable development. Oneof them is Cai Fang, director of the Institute ofPopulation Studies at the Chinese Academyof Social Scienc,es, who writes that consistentimprovements in labor productivity offer afundamental means for securing sustainableeconomic growth.