By Sun Xiaohua
BEIJING, Dec. 25 -- China is to strengthen supervision and punishment on the illegal acquisition of meteorological information by foreigners, as regulations for foreign-related meteorological observation and data management take effect next year.
Meteorological data plays an important role in the national economy, social development and daily life. It also plays an equally important role in national defence and military activities.
China Meteorological Administration (CMA) statistics show that there have been about 20 breaches by foreign individuals or institutes in China since 2000.
In 2005, a Japanese company was found to have established an illegal meteorological observation station around a photovoltaic power plant in Hami, Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
This year, a British group set up a meteorological observation station without the government's approval near a military harbour and the venue for yachting events for the 2008 Olympic Games in Qingdao, East China's Shandong Province.
"Illegal meteorological surveys and data collection, or other activities have infringed China's sovereignty, hurt normal international co-operation and exchange of meteorological information, and threatened the country's security," said Zheng Guoguang, vice-minister of the CMA.
With the growth of international exchanges on metrological information and rapid development of commercial services, more and more foreigners and organizations are coming to China for meteorological data collection and processing, Zheng said.
"It is necessary and timely to work out measures on management and supervision," he said.
The measures, as a complement to the Meteorology Law, make clear the conditions and procedures for foreign meteorology-related activities in China.
Zheng said that domestic staff and meteorological organizations should heighten vigilance when involved in foreign operations.
"Domestic members should apply for approval first from related departments. Otherwise, due supervision will be lacking," Zheng said.
(Source: China Daily)