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China vows to crack down on smuggling
   CCTV.COM   2003-08-06 10:08:42   
    China's leadership says it will give top priority to cracking down on smuggling. The National Anti-smuggling Work Conference was held Tuesday in Beijing to call for tougher action against the crime.

    This is the first meeting on cracking down on smuggling since China's new leadership came to power earlier this year. Premier Wen Jiabao reiterated his commitment to continue to battle smuggling and emphasized those stricter rules and measures will be implemented. He also underlined that the fight against smuggling remained a long-term task.

    The conference was attended by top officials and customs staff from around the country, especially coastal and border provinces, and the areas where lie hidden trafficking routes. Since China established a unified anti-smuggling system in 1998, law enforcement departments and the Administration for Industry and Commerce have taken a major role in battling against smuggling. With these joint efforts, China has witnessed certain progress in the campaign in the past five years.

    Chinese customs handled 55,755 smuggling cases from 1998 to 2002, with an estimated value of 43.04 billion yuan, or 5.19 billion US dollars. (Sources from the General Administration of Customs). Other law enforcement departments have also dealt with some 41,000 smuggling cases involving a total value of 8.02 billion yuan, or 9.7 million US dollars, since July 1998.

    The crackdown on smuggling has curbed illegal trade and resulted in a sharp growth in legitimate business. The country's imports and exports have grown at an average annual rate of 17.7 percent since 1998, and more than 1 trillion yuan, or 120 billion US dollars, worth of customs tariffs have gone into state coffers.

    However, in recent years, smuggling activities have also become increasingly corporate-professional-and intelligent oriented. The Conference decided to launch a nationwide anti-smuggling joint action from August until early next year.

    Although detailed measures have not yet been revealed on the meeting, it has given a strong signal that China's new leadership will be tougher on smuggling. As this issue is closely linked to organized crime and corruption, it is considered a test of reforms to be carried out by the new leadership in the coming years.

Editor: Xiao Wei

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