All online car-hailing and ride-sharing companies to be inspected: Ministry

A comprehensive in-house inspection will be made to all internet-based car-hailing and ride-sharing companies across the country starting Wednesday, the Ministry of Transport said on Friday night.

The decision was made at an interdepartmental meeting on Friday convened by Yang Chuantang, the Transport Ministry's Party chief, and Li Xiaopeng, minister of transport. The inspection aims to strengthen consumer safety measures by internet-based car-hailing and ride-sharing companies and to rectify safety hazards, according to a statement from the ministry.

The statement said a host of criminal cases took place recently in which passengers were harassed or even killed by drivers who signed up with Didi, the largest car-hailing company in China, sparking anger among the public. It said Didi is accountable for its dereliction of duty and will be seriously punished.

The statement also pledged to punish all firms like Didi that violate laws or regulations, enhance supervision over these companies' implementation of consumer safety measures, and improve policies and mechanisms that govern the industry.

A 20-year-old woman died on Aug 24 after hailing a car from Didi in the city of Wenzhou, Zhejiang province. The driver was caught by police the following day and has confessed to rape and murder.

The tragedy came after a 21-year-old female flight attendant using Didi was murdered by her "hitch" driver in the central city of Zhengzhou in May.