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Consumer authority apologizes over public hearing

THE consumers' association of Harbin, capital of northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, has apologized for stacking a public hearing with delegates it chose to approve water price rises.

Song Yuzhang, the association's secretary general, admitted yesterday that it had wrongly identified some of the 13 representatives on a public hearing, today's China Youth Daily reported.

According to the pricing bureau, the panel included two retired workers, two teachers, two community workers, a company worker, a company official, an office worker, a lawyer and a medical worker.

But China Youth Daily challenged their status, finding that the lawyer was really a legal volunteer and a laid-off worker was actually a retired official.

The panel approved increases in city water prices from 1.8 yuan (26 US cents) per cubic meter to 2.4 yuan.

Retired teacher Liu Tianxiao was the only member of the panel to oppose the water rise. Being denied a chance to voice his opinion, he became so angry that he threw a plastic water bottle in protest, China Youth Daily reported.


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