China mulling environmental levies and nation-wide property tax

Buildings are seen shrouded in heavy haze at Qingdao development zone, Shandong province, on Feb 25. The Chinese government is reviewing proposals for environmental levies and a nation-wide property tax, an official said on Tuesday. -- FILE PHOTO:&nb
Buildings are seen shrouded in heavy haze at Qingdao development zone, Shandong province, on Feb 25. The Chinese government is reviewing proposals for environmental levies and a nation-wide property tax, an official said on Tuesday. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

The Chinese government is reviewing proposals for environmental levies and a nation-wide property tax, an official said on Tuesday.

Ms Fu Ying, spokesman for the National People's Congress, China's national parliament also told a press conference that China is in the process of passing a new environmental protection law, and hopes to include more of the public's feedback in crafting this legislation to make it more effective.

"While the problem is very serious, it can be seen that we are taking action," she said.

Asked whether Beijing will introduce more forceful measures to control the problem of smog, Ms Fu noted that Premier Li Keqiang's 10 measures for improving air quality introduced late last year have already seen results. She did not elaborate.

The national sessions of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), a senate-like advisory body, began on Monday, followed by those of the National People's Congress (NPC) on Wednesday, where Mr Li will give his first work report as premier.

The sessions, known as liang hui, or "two meetings", will involve about 2,232 national delegates for the CPPCC and 2,984 for the NPC, and will end around March 13.

The issue of pollution is top on the agenda as Beijing and other Chinese cities have been shrouded in thick smog for weeks.

graceng@sph.com.sg

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