BEIJING, July 29 (Xinhua) -- Chinese customs authorities announced Friday that they had solved five major rice trafficking cases, detaining 19 suspects. Rice trafficking in China is increasing due to low overseas prices, while domestic prices remain high.
Customs police in southwest China's Chengdu seized 7,784 tonnes of smuggled rice worth 38.4 million yuan (5.82 million U.S. dollars).
In China, rice can be priced up to 1,000 yuan per tonne higher than in rice-growing countries in Southeast Asia. This is largely due to Chinese authorities setting a high government purchasing price to protect farmers' interests.
The protection of such interests carries huge political significance in China.
Rice smuggling not only affects China's domestic prices, but also poses threats to food safety as illicit rice escapes quality inspection.
Customs police continue to intensify the crackdown on smuggled agricultural produce. In the first half of the year, they made seizures in22 major cases of smuggled agricultural produce worth a total of 500 million yuan.