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Curbs put on foreign hydrological activities from China

China, 09 May 2007: Foreign organizations or individuals will require government approval before conducting any hydrological activitiy in China, according to a newly issued State Council regulation.

Hydrological activities, including surveying, monitoring and forecasting, are primarily concerned with studying the properties, distribution and flow of water.

The regulation, which will come into effect on June 1, states that organizations and individuals that flout the new law and conduct hydrological activities without authorization will be fined 50,000 to 100,000 yuan (USD6,500-USD13,000).

China continues to encourage international cooperation and communication in hydrological activities and believes that the new regulation will help regulate the quality of foreign involvement in Chinese hydrological activities.

The new law comes after a similar regulation restricting surveying and mapping by foreigners that was issued in January and went into effect in March which stated that any foreign organization or individual that wishes to survey or map the country must first gain approval from the central government.

The regulation, issued by the Ministry of Land and Resources, also forbids foreigners from conducting land surveys, aerial photography, mapping administrative borders and drawing navigational maps.

Foreigners who are given permission must be supervised by local authorities and they should cooperate with a Chinese partner and their activities must not jeopardize national security. A ministry spokesperson commented that the number of foreigners conducting surveying and mapping activities in China is on the rise and many field projects have been carried out illegally at a potential risk to national security.

The latest regulation states that hydrological organizations should report to local governments as soon as they detect changes in water quality that could potentially indicate instances of water pollution.