By Jim Yardley

Jan 10, International Herald Tribune

BEIJING: Prime Minister Wen Jiabao responded Wednesday to growing public anxiety about inflation by announcing that China would freeze energy prices in the near term, even as international crude oil futures have topped $100 a barrel.

The move to hold down prices came as inflation hit an 11-year high in China. A recent nationwide public opinion survey found that "rising prices of consumer goods" ranked as the top public concern, followed by income inequality and corruption.

The freezes, announced on the government's main Web site, followed a meeting of the State Council, led by Wen on Wednesday, to revise policies on price controls. Prices of oil products, natural gas and electricity will be frozen in the near term. Rates for public water bills also will be frozen, as will the cost of public transportation tickets.

Read more this news quote

photo: Shoppers at a Shanghai supermarket. Local Chinese authorities have been instructed to keep a close eye on food price increases. (Kevin Lee/Bloomberg News)