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    Reporters Without Borders said in it’s 2005 special report titled “Xinhua: the world’s biggest propaganda agency”, that “Xinhua remains the voice of the sole party”, “particularly during the SARS epidemic, Xinhua has for last few months been putting out news reports embarrassing to the government, but they are designed to fool the international community, since they are not published in Chinese.”
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China’s Latest Crisis: Millions of Pigs Killed by Virus, Pork Prices Doubled

Posted by Author on June 1, 2007

Sydney Morning Herald, Australia, May 30, 2007-

BEIJING: A mystery virus that is killing millions of pigs in southern China is responsible for soaring pork prices that have the senior leadership worried about inflation and social unrest.

The Premier, Wen Jiabao, took the unusual step of visiting supermarkets and pig farms in Shaanxi province at the weekend to show the central Government’s concern about the price of one of China’s staple foods and its most affordable source of protein.

At the weekend, shoppers lined up for more than a kilometre at a Guangzhou supermarket to buy pork on special for 15.8 yuan ($2.50) a kilogram.

Prices that have been as low as 9 yuan a kilogram have soared to 28 yuan. In Beijing, prices have doubled since March.

The Agriculture Ministry said the wholesale price of pork had soared by 71.3 per cent since April, pushed up by rising prices for pig feed (such as corn) and the epidemic of “blue ear” disease – officially called porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome – along with existing foot-and-mouth disease.

Statistics on pig deaths are difficult to obtain but an industry official told London’s Financial Times that he had heard up to 20 million of China’s 500 million pigs had been wiped out by blue ear disease.

The government in Guangdong has announced it will offer subsidies to the poor to help them cope with the rising prices and at least one province has already asked the central government to use the Central Meat Reserve to meet the shortfall, a move that the Commerce Ministry confirmed was being considered.

Imports of relatively cheap South American pork are restricted and pork from the US and European is expensive.

Mr Wen assured shoppers during his supermarket visit that the Government was doing all it could to ensure an affordable supply of pork. Economists said pork prices could push the annual inflation rate to above 4 per cent. Mary-Anne Toy

original report from Sydney Morning Herald

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