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Central Govt. Orders Better Information Disclosure

The Chinese government Wednesday passed a decision that demands government bodies release news information on emergencies and accidents in a "timely and accurate way".

The decision was passed at an executive meeting presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao, which also approved measures to aid poultry farmers badly hit by the bird flu outbreak.

More immediate and accurate information was conducive to the interests of the Communist Party and the country, and safeguarded the public by maintaining social stability and eliminating anxiety.

The decision calls on government departments to establish and improve mechanisms to release news information as a priority, and to cooperate with information departments to release information in a timely and accurate way.

The central government urged governments at all levels to continue the fight against bird flu, and approved a number of preferential measures for the poultry farming sector.

The government said poultry owners should be fully compensated for birds slaughtered in the fight against the disease and for quarantine measures.

China must accelerate the formulation of programs to set up an animal epidemic prevention system and continue its reform of veterinary management system to improve its rapid reaction.

Local governments should offer subsidized loans, tax exemptions, partial exemptions of administrative charges to poultry farmers and companies hit hard by the bird flu.

(Xinhua News Agency February 11, 2004)

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