The country's legislative agenda for the coming year looks set to focus more
on social concerns than in previous years, reflecting official efforts to ensure
a harmonious society.
According to the annual legislative plan released yesterday by the Standing
Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature,
about half of the 20 draft laws or amendments to be discussed this year touch on
Among them are draft laws covering labor contracts, social insurance,
employment, food safety, the environment, energy conservation and responses to
contrast, five of the 18 draft laws discussed during last year's session
addressed social issues.
The plan also lists three economic draft laws to be deliberated by the NPC, a
sharp decrease from the eight on last year's agenda. The new drafts deal with
property rights, taxation and urban and rural development.
"Because China now places economic growth and social development on an equal
footing, there will be more laws dealing with social issues in the next few
years," the committee wrote in its plan.
According to the plan, China will have 230 laws on the books by early next
The committee's plan also said the country would do more to improve the legal
system and human rights conditions this year.
Legislators will amend the Civil Procedure Law, Criminal Procedure Law and
the Lawyers Law, which sets qualifications for lawyers, according to the plan.
It is believed that the amendments will streamline the legal process.
The drafts of the property law and corporate income tax law to be deliberated
at the upcoming fifth session of the 10th NPC next month are sure to be the most
eye-catching new pieces of legislation.
According to Legislation Law, only laws that affect the country's legal
system can be submitted to the full session of the NPC.
|Timetable for discussion: China's laws
Twenty draft laws and law amendments are to be
discussed this year:
February: Employment promotion law
Property law; corporate income tax law
April: Labor dispute arbitration
law; town and country planning law
June: Labor contract law; amendment
to the Energy Saving Law; amendment to the Lawyer Law; amendment to the
Civil Procedure Law
August: Circular economy law; 7th amendment to the
Criminal Law; amendment to the Law on Science and Technology
October: Illegal acts corrective law; amendment to the
Criminal Procedure Law
December: Social insurance law; amendment to the
Food Safety Law
The draft emergency response law, administrative
mandatory law, anti-drug law and anti-monopoly law will also be discussed
this year, but no specific schedule is presently
If passed, the property law, which received a record-setting seven readings
by the NPC Standing Committee, will be the country's first law to protect both
public and private ownership. The tax law will place foreign and domestic
business on a "level playing field" by unifying the corporate income tax at 25
The committee also said yesterday that it would hear and discuss eight work
reports from the State Council this year. The reports deal with subjects ranging
from environmental protection, food safety, health system reform and rural
development to the protection of the rights of employees.
(China Daily 02/28/2007 page3)