Pei Chenghu, deputy chief of Beijing's Environmental Protection Bureau, approached the question of the capital's grim air quality like a man trying to catch his breath. He said the municipality wouldn't exactly limit private-car growth, but it would implement more stringent emission standards that would see many older models banned. Official data indicates there are now 1.3 million private cars in Beijing, 11 for every 100 permanent residents.
More promising, China's forestry authority announced a nationwide crackdown on illegal logging by businesses and local governments, the news coming on the heels of reports that the State Forestry Administration had charged Asia Pulp & Paper with illegal logging in Southwest Yunnan Province – confirming charges first leveled by Greenpeace.
China's health regulators also struck, and said they were studying the ingredients in baby oils made by US-based Johnson & Johnson following reports that the Indian government found they contained ingredients considered harmful to babies.
Meanwhile, fears over Sudan I – a carcinogenic coloring agent chili growers like to add to their peppers to make them sparkle – prompted fast food operator KFC to remove two items from its menu after it was detected in a sauce. Supplier Griffith Laboratories, in turn, began a recall of products containing the agent. Weeks later, two executives of the Guangzhou Tianyang Food Co were detained on suspicion of supplying Sudan I to more than 30 food manufacturers, including Heinz Food's China subsidiary. Since February, more than 85 products in China have been found to contain the banned chemical.
In the health sphere, state media reported that a draft of China's first HIV/AIDS prevention regulation was nearing completion for discussion by the State Council this month. Reports said the Ministry of Health planned to create a national database on China's HIV/AIDS patients, promising free HIV tests in every province this year.