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China's legislature adopts country's first anti-drug law, approves new commerce minister

China's legislature adopts country's first anti-drug law, approves new commerce minister

China's top legislature adopted the country's first anti-drug law and approved the nomination of a new commerce minister Saturday, a state news agency reported.
Drug abuse is a growing problem across China, with much of the blame placed on opium flowing across the border from Central Asian countries like Afghanistan. A majority of China's 1.2 million drug users are addicted to heroin, a derivative of opium, Xinhua News Agency said.
Under the new law, owners of nightclubs, bars and other entertainment venues are required to report drug use to police, Xinhua said. Police will also be authorized to search people and luggage for illegal drugs at public places such as bus and train station and border crossings.
Opium, heroin, marijuana, crystal methamphetamine, morphine and cocaine were listed as banned drugs.
Also Saturday, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress appointed Chen Deming as the new commerce minister. The decision had been widely expected; Chen had been serving as vice commerce minister and took part in recent U.S.-China economic talks.
A former governor of Shaanxi province, Chen holds a doctorate in management and will replace Bo Xilai, who was appointed Communist Party chief of southwestern China's Chongqing municipality.
Other approved legislation included an amendment to the income tax law that will raise the minimum tax threshold from 1,600 yuan (US$220, euro150) per month to 2,000 yuan (US$275, euro185). The move was intended to ease the burden on low and middle income families in China, where food prices climbed nearly 20 percent this year.
However, China's economy continued its breakneck growth. The State Council, China's Cabinet, reported to the legislature that central government fiscal revenue is expected to total 2.8 trillion yuan (US$383 billion, euro260 billion) _ 401 billion yuan (US$54 billion, euro37 billion) more than what had been forecast, Xinhua said.
The legislature also voted to allow Hong Kong to directly elect its leader by 2017, followed by direct elections for all lawmakers, Xinhua said.
When Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997 it was granted a wide degree of autonomy and a pledge that it would ultimately be allowed to directly elect all of its legislators and its leader, although no date was ever given.
Only half of the 60-seat legislature is elected, and the territory's top leader is chosen by an 800-strong committee full of Beijing loyalists.


Updated : 2020-12-02 21:46 GMT+08:00