Wen Jiabao

In Brief

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 10 March, 2008, 12:00am

Health vice-minister admits seeing a doctor is expensive

Vice-Minister of Health Gao Qiang has admitted it is expensive for people to consult a doctor because of costly medicine and investigative services. Mr Gao's remarks, made when he sat in on a CPPCC medical and health delegation's meeting, came a few weeks after Zeng Qiyi , vice-director of the Guangzhou city health bureau, stirred controversy by claiming the mainland was the 'least expensive' place to receive medical treatment. Mr Gao said while some medical services, such as the cost of surgery, were lower than those in other countries, medicine and investigative procedures that used large-scale equipment were very expensive, Southern Metropolitan News reported. Some medicines that cost only a few yuan to make were being sold for a few hundred yuan, he said.

Delegate urges ban on extravagant entertaining

A senior Yunnan province official and NPC delegate has called for a ban on officials using public money to entertain guests, the Beijing News reported. Mi Dongsheng , head of the Development and Reform Commission in Yunnan province , criticised the way officials spent a fortune on entertaining their guests on the sidelines of the NPC meeting. Mr Mi suggested the authorities stipulate a buffet be provided at public functions because it would be convenient and much cheaper. The money saved could then be used for developing education across the country, he said.

Doubts cast on life expectancy claim of 73

A leading medical expert has cast doubt over claims in Premier Wen Jiabao's working report that the nation's average life expectancy reached 73 in 2005, which Mr Wen hailed as an achievement in a country with 1.3 billion people. NPC delegate Zhong Nanshan , a director of the Guangzhou Institute of Respiratory Diseases, said major monitoring spots had been located in major cities, which was why the figure had risen, the Yangchang Evening News reported. 'I disagree with mentioning this data because it does not present a realistic picture of the state of affairs. [The average age in] Guangzhou and Shanghai is high, while that of Hong Kong is even higher. It's all right if a comparison is made among cities but I think it's not accurate as a nationwide figure,' Dr Zhong said.

Mao grandson and general to 'revisit revolutionary spirit'

The grandsons of revolutionaries Mao Zedong and Zhu De have vowed to go to Jinggangshan, Jiangxi province , together to 'revisit the revolutionary spirit of their predecessors'. Jinggangshan was the first stronghold set up by the communist-led Red Army. Both wearing military uniforms, Mao Xinyu , a researcher at the Academy of Military Science, and Zhu Heping , vice-president of the Air Force Command Academy, met for the first time at a CPPCC meeting on Saturday, the Yangchang Evening News reported. Shaking hands, Senior Colonel Mao told Major General Zhu that it had long been his wish to visit Jinggangshan. General Zhu said he felt the same way, and suggested they embark on the trip together.