Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Monday, May 05, 2003

Chinese Premier Calls for Patriotism in SARS Fight

Premier Wen Jiabao Sunday called for solidarity and a reliance on science in the ongoing battle against severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) when joining university students in Beijing to celebrate Youth Day, which fell Sunday.


Premier Wen Talks with University Students
Premier Wen Jiabao has called on the nation to carry forward the patriotic spirit of democracy and science in the country's fight against severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

Wen also highlighted the importance of solidarity in the face of the challenge presented by SARS during a tour of the prestigious Qinghua University and the Beijing Agricultural University on Sunday.

His tour coincided with Youth Day, a national day to commemorate the May 4th Movement of 1919, an anti-imperialist, anti-feudal movement which marked the beginning of the new democratic revolution in China.

Wen, accompanied by Vice Premier Wu Yi and State Councilor Chen Zhili, spoke casually to students of the universities about their study and health, and also learned of the schools' efforts to prevent SARS.

The fight against SARS was a stern test for the whole nation, and a practical trial for the young generation, said Wen.

Under the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China and the government, with abundant material and technological support, the nation was sure to achieve complete success in the battle, he said.

A total of 163 new SARS cases including seven deaths were reported on the Chinese mainland in the 24 hours to 10 am yesterday, according to the Ministry of Health. There were 69 cases and four deaths in Beijing.

Middle and elementary schools in Beijing will remain closed for another two weeks after the Labour Day holiday.

The city's education department ordered the closure to prevent the spread of SARS among 1.37 million students.

Most of Beijing's 80 reservoirs are under isolation to prevent possible pollution during the SARS epidemic, sources with the city's water resource department said Sunday.

Major reservoirs that serve as drinking water stores for the city were blocked and people have been banned from entering water storage areas. Swimming, fishing and other recreation activities have been temporarily banned in the reservoirs.

The number of people under quarantine in Beijing increased to 15,873 by yesterday. The number of people released from quarantine is 4,726.

To prevent people and organizations from seeking exorbitant profits from sterilization work, the State Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Health jointly banned them from charging for sterilization.

Dozens of organizations that forced vehicles to pay high charge for sterilization were fined. They included a sanitation office in Linxiang of Hunan Province which set up a sanitation station on a national highway to force passing vehicles to pay high sterilization charges.

A regulation published by the State Council stressed that only authorities for civil affairs and health, the Red Cross Society of China and the China Charity Federation can accept donations from the public.

The SARS epidemic has put paid to the Fourth Women's World Cup in China in autumn. The Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) has decided to shift the host country to another.

The United States and Australia have submitted their applications to host the event. China was given the right to host the next Women's World Cup in 2007.

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