China To Scrutinize State Assets Through Stricter Audits

Oil, railways and other key enterprises will be targeted.

China will impose stricter audits on companies directly under central government control, especially monopolies, to scrutinize the use of state assets, state press said Feb. 9, citing Li Jinhua, auditor general of the National Audit Office. "State-owned and -controlled enterprises are closely linked with the economic health of China," Li said, according to the China Daily. He added his office will expand the scope of the audits and carry out more routine and special checks.

Yu Xiaoming, the deputy auditor-general, said auditors nationwide last year unearthed 281.4 billion yuan's (US$36.3 billion) worth of "problematic money" from the inspection of 6,997 state-owned enterprises.

He said audits of the Ministry of Railways, the nation's leading oil company PetroChina and four other key state-owned enterprises would be the main tasks of his office this year.

Losses of state assets have become an outstanding problem with the reform of state-owned enterprises in China.

By 2004, losses of state assets accumulated over the past few years had amounted to 350 billion yuan, according to previous reports.

Last month, China announced new rules aimed at guaranteeing that state assets identified as key to the nation's economic security are not sold too cheaply to foreigners.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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