Warning issued on prices for grain
A high-level meeting on grain ended with Executive Vice-Premier Zhu Rongji warning that Beijing would not tolerate cadres who suppress procurement prices.
Attended by senior leaders including another Vice-Premier, Li Lanqing, and State Council Secretary-General Luo Gan, the two-day meeting last week concluded with a unanimous call to support the buying of all surplus grains from farmers this year at protective prices.
Set by the State Council last year, protective prices are slightly lower than state-set quota prices but still higher than prices farmers could raise on the free market.
The call was not welcomed by cadres in grain-producing provinces such as Heilongjiang, Jilin, Anhui and Henan, who complained that China had reported a bumper harvest for the third consecutive year and the country's grain reserves stood at an all-time high this year.
Cadres in these provinces had wanted to buy at lower prices, saying they already had difficulties selling stocks.
But Mr Zhu made it clear he would not tolerate a challenge.
'All regions, all departments must conscientiously disseminate and study documents issued by the Communist Party and the State Council,' he said. 'Unify your thoughts, have a tight grip of the policy and immerse yourselves in the spirit of these documents.' He pledged the state would never change the protective prices and there was no need for cadres to rush to sell their stocks.
'Don't worry, you can sell your grains whenever you need money,' he said.