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Student suggests public cars display red license plates

By Jin Haixing  (China Daily)

16:14, February 26, 2013

A proposal from a student in Beijing suggesting all public vehicles be fitted with an identifiable red license plate has sparked heated discussion online, following recent reports of private use of public cars during Spring Festival.

Luan Songwei, a sixth-grade pupil at Erligou Primary School in Haidian district, made the suggestion after he noted many public vehicles were used to pick up his classmates outside the school gate, Beijing Morning Post reported.

After research, he advised the government to use red license plates for all public vehicles to resolve the traffic jams and pollution problems caused by the inappropriate use of those vehicles.

He suggested that the global navigation satellite system could be applied to government vehicles for supervision.

The government should also release the standards for public vehicle purchasing and the number range for the red license plates should be open to public scrutiny, Luan wrote in his proposal.

The suggestion was discussed widely online, especially after media reported that many public vehicles appeared at tourism sites during the Spring Festival holiday this year.

On Monday, an official had been taken into police custody after injuring 26 people after driving a government car into a movie theater in Henan province on Sunday, Xinhua News Agency reported.

"The suggestion to identify government vehicles with red license plates is feasible. It shows that the public wants to participate in the supervision of public vehicle use," said Chen Yanyan, a professor at Beijing University of Technology's Transport Research Center.

However, the management of government vehicles was complicated because many departments and different types of vehicles were involved.

Chen suggested the government apply high-tech methods as well as detailed regulations for supervision.

"At least an internal supervision system among government departments should be established to supervise public vehicles," Chen said.

Zhu Liang, a senior engineer and a political adviser for Beijing, said he believed a special car license plate system for public vehicles is effective for public supervision. But he warned that it may also have negative effects because the special license plate may give privileges to some government vehicles.

Zhu had his own suggestion. In January, he raised a proposal in a session of the 12th Beijing Municipal Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference that an electronic license plate system could be installed in public vehicles. The system would collect the real-time data location information of the vehicles, and could supervise the illegal use of public vehicles, he said.

Private use of military and government vehicles has long been a concern for the public.

In 2011, a central government office in charge of regulating the use of public vehicles launched a national campaign against the illegal use and surplus of public vehicles in government departments and Party organs.

The official, Liu Xianchong, Party chief of the Culture, Radio, TV, Film, Press and Publication Bureau of Wancheng district, Nanyang, injured the people who were participating in a game celebrating the Lantern Festival on Sunday by driving a government car.

Police have seized the car involved in the accident, the report said.

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