Officials to patrol Silk Alley
Copyright watchdogs have opened a permanent office in Beijing's Silk Alley, a famous indoor market repeatedly accused of selling rip-offs of famous foreign brands, state media reported yesterday. The office, set up by the local bureau of industry and commerce, is staffed by eight officials equipped with digital cameras who will patrol the alley throughout opening hours from 9am to 9pm, the Beijing News said. The US government on Friday said China's enforcement continues to lag "far behind" promises made by the government on industrial-scale piracy of US goods.
China fund to invest abroad
China's massive government-controlled pension fund has been given the green light to invest part of its money in overseas markets, state media reported yesterday. The State Security Fund, which has assets valued at 201 billion yuan (US$25.1 billion), can start investments abroad today after the go-ahead from the central bank and other agencies, the People's Daily said on its Web site. Initially, however, the fund will only be allowed to allocate a small portion of its huge assets in foreign markets, the paper said, citing a previously unveiled investment plan.
Chinese decry censorship
A coalition of Chinese Web activists has launched a petition decrying censorship of the Internet and challenging the legality of government information controls on China's more than 100 million Net users. Hundreds of citizens signed the petition along with representatives of 13 local Chinese Web sites recently closed or targeted by censors. It began circulating on Saturday via e-mail and overseas Chinese-language Web sites unaffected by domestic censorship. The e-mail's signatories said that China's Constitution grants its citizens freedom of expression and publication, and those rights "should be respected and protected, and should not be subject to any unlawful restrictions and obstructions." Beijing rights activist Chen Yongmiao (陳永苗), who helped organize the petition, said yesterday that he had been prompted to act by the March closure of the Aiqinhai (愛琴海) Web site, based in Zhejiang Province, that specialized in adventurous cultural commentary. Zhejiang officials said Aiqinhai had not sought necessary approval.