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Safety in Workplace Improves in 2002
Although safety standards in China's workplaces have improved this year, the situation is still severe, State Economic and Trade Commission Minister Li Rongrong said yesterday.

There was a dramatic drop in heavyweight accidents occurring in workplaces, Li said in his report on workplace safety to the Standing Committee of the Ninth National People's Congress.

Last year there were 16 accidents of which more than 30 people were killed in each, while this year's figure dropped to nine.

The rate of both the death toll and number of accidents in the workplaces are decreasing, according to Li.

In the first 10 months of the year, the rates decreased by 1 percent and more than 20 percent respectively.

There was also a decrease in the number of accidents that occurred in industries where accidents are prone to taking place.

More than 3,300 Internet cafes throughout China were closed during the past half year for safety reasons, Li added.

Li said it is a long-term and arduous task to maintain safety in workplaces and called on relevant departments to keep alert at all time.

According to another report on the reform of the nation's medical system, which was delivered by Health Minister Zhang Wen-kang to the committee, the growth rate of patients' medical expenses has slowed down and people are becoming more satisfied with the quality of medical services.

During 1990 and 1998, the average annual growth rate of treatment expenses for each patient in hospital was almost 24 per cent.

The rate decreased to about 11 percent in 1999, about 7 percent in 2000 and just over 5 percent last year.

Zhang said health departments in the country have been making efforts to bring into order medical services and prevent medical expenses from increasing too fast.

To deal with some hospitals that charge patients randomly, health departments have set up a nationwide system that makes public the prices of medical services.

(China Daily December 27, 2002)

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