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 China moves to rein in irrational gov't investment 

Xinhua  2010-01-08

China publicized draft regulations for government investment Thursday to solicit public opinions, a move expected to better regulate investment and improve investment efficiency.

To shun from extravagant government buildings or projects simply built to boost image, the draft stipulates the government should mainly use its funds on projects related to the nation's security or those that can not pool resources efficiently only by exerting market forces, according to the State Council's Legislative Affairs Office.

Authorities in charge of project examination and approval should "solicit public opinions sufficiently" when the project will either has great impact on economy, society or environment, or involves major public interests, the draft reads.

Projects of "special significance" should go through expert appraisals prior to its approval, it said.

"It will help the government to make decisions on investment more scientifically and democratically," said an unnamed official of the Legislative Affairs Office Thursday.

"Government investment" here refers to activities of spending government capital in fixed assets in the People's Republic of China.

Government workers, who use their power for personal gain or are negligent of duties, should be punished in accordance with administrative regulations or laws, and their illegal gains should be confiscated, the draft reads.

People responsible for project construction would be banned from being in charge of government-funded projects for three years and be punished in accordance with laws if they default the government of the funds, start construction without approval, change the original design, or embezzle funds, it stipulated.

Appraisal institutions that falsify or make inconsistent conclusions would face penalties ranging from a warning, rectification, demotion, or revocation of qualifications, it said.

The draft also allows the government to attract investment from private sources on projects by applying policies such as transfer of loan or fiscal interest discount.

The Chinese government launched an economic stimulus plan at the end of 2008 to combat global economic crisis, targeting to invest 4 trillion yuan (585.6 billion U.S. dollars) by 2010. The central government investment had accumulated to nearly 1 trillion yuan in 2009.

People can submit their suggestions on the draft by visiting chinalaw. gov.cn or sending E-mail to zftz@chinalaw.gov.cn before Jan. 30, the Legislative Affairs Office said in a notice

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