Property law may finally get a vote

(Shanghai Daily)
Updated: 2006-12-25 08:56

China's long-debated property law is a step closer to approval after it was given to lawmakers yesterday for a seventh reading.

Also submitted for consideration was a proposal that the bill should be put up for a vote at the next full session of the National People's Congress in March.

The draft property law, a sweeping bill designed to protect both public and private ownership, has undergone more reviews than any other bill ever to come before the NPC Standing Committee, China's top legislature.

The latest version, which tries to strike a balance between private property and state ownership, says all market players should enjoy equal legal status and rights for development.

The NPC Law Committee, the bill's author, suggested that the lawmakers agree to "submit the draft to the Fifth Session of the 10th National People's Congress for deliberation" after the unprecedented seventh reading.

The draft was first submitted to the legislature in 2002, but it was withdrawn from the NPC full session last March over worries that the draft, the country's first specific law to protect private ownership, might undermine the legal foundation of China's socialist system.

The draft was further revised in August to install state ownership at the heart of the economic system after 15,000 suggestions from the general public were received.

Compared with the sixth version, the latest draft has only minor changes.

The committee members are debating adding clauses to the law that will allow farmers to prolong their land contracts when the contracts expire.

The draft also revises previous clauses on the use and ownership of parking places.

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