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China Passes Amended Law to Further Curb Water Pollution

China's top legislature on Thursday adopted an amended water pollution law that toughens punishment of company officials through hefty fines.

The Water Pollution Prevention and Control Law was passed at the 32nd session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), which concluded in Beijing on Thursday.

The law, with eight chapters and 92 provisions, will take effect on June 1.

"Enterprise heads directly responsible for causing severe water pollution incidents and others with direct responsibility will be fined up to half of their income of the previous year," said the law.

Enterprises would be held responsible for 30 percent of the direct loss of any serious water pollution incident they cause and20 percent for incidents of medium consequences.

Previously, corporate executives faced only administrative penalties.

The law also stipulated that the country would set up its water protection goal as well as an assessment system, which would be applied to local officials.

Whether they reach the goal will be directly connected with their performance evaluation, according to the law.

Water pollution is among the top environmental concerns of the Chinese government and the public.

A 2006 survey found that surface water generally was classified as containing intermediate levels of pollution, but one third of the 744 samples tested were graded at the worst pollution rating.

(Xinhua News Agency February 29, 2008)

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