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China to Launch Special Inspection over Rural Tax Reform

China will kick off a special inspection of rural tax and fee system reform in some provinces, the Ministry of Finance announced on Tuesday.

The State Council will send 6 inspection teams to 12 provinces from November 21 to December 5 to check out the reform progress concerning rural tax and fee collection, according to the ministry.

To alleviate the burden on Chinese farmers, the government has been reforming its rural tax and fee systems for years in an effort to eliminate growing administrative and arbitrary fees.

Since the beginning of this year, the government has stopped collecting the agricultural tax in all provinces except three, where agricultural tax ratios have been lowered to 2 percent. Next year, the whole country is expected to annul the agricultural tax.

As local governments collect less taxes and fees from farmers, they are facing fund shortages in supporting education and infrastructure construction. To solve this problem, the central government has allocated huge sums of money to alleviate the fund shortages of local governments.

(Xinhua News Agency November 16, 2005)

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