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Decree revised to punish illegal price hikes
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The Chinese government on Sunday promulgated a revised decree to strike at any activities that drive up prices through hoarding or cheating.

The revision was made on the basis of regulations passed in 1999 and amended in February 2006 by the State Council.

The new decree, effective as of Sunday, raises the maximum fine to one million yuan (US$137,000), almost triple the sum in the old regulations, for those who manipulate market prices and ignore the prices advised by the government under emergencies.

Commercial associations, which deliberately spread rumors regarding price information, can be fined a maximum of 500,000 yuan. Those who severely violate the decree may have their legal certificates revoked.

The State Council and local governments can set profit ratios or price ceilings for key goods and services when prices rise too sharply, according to the decree.

(Xinhua News Agency January 14, 2008)

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