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Lawmakers to speed up legislation on social issues

Updated: 2007-03-11 16:44

Wu Bangguo, chairman of the Standing Committee of the 10th National People's Congress, delivers a report on the work of the NPC in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing March 11, 2007. [Xinhua]
China's top legislature, the National People's Congress (NPC), will intensify its legislation focusing on social affairs this year, China's top legislator Wu Bangguo said Sunday. ( Wu Bangguo's Work Report)

"While continuing work to improve economic legislation, we must also concentrate on strengthening legislation related to social programs to provide a solid legal foundation for building a harmonious socialist society and to ensure attainment of the legislative goal of the 10th NPC," Wu said.

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The NPC Standing Committee chairman unveiled the legislative plan for 2007 when delivering a report on the work of the 10th NPC Standing Committee at the legislature's annual full session.

The main legislative tasks this year include enacting the Law on Labor Contracts, Employment Promotion Law, Social Security Law, Law on Mediation and Arbitration of Labor Disputes, Law on Administrative Decrees, Law on Response to Emergencies, Antitrust Law, Law on State-Owned Assets, Law to Combat Illegal Drugs, Law to Curb Illegal Activities, Law on Urban and Rural Planning, and Circular Economy Law.
In addition, the legislature will revise the Law on Scientific and Technological Progress, Civil Procedure Law, Criminal Procedure Law, Law on Food Hygiene, Law on Energy Conservation, and Law on Attorneys, according Wu.

"We have noticed that a large proportion of the laws planned to be enacted or revised in 2007 target at regulating social affairs, " said Fu Yonglin, an NPC deputy from Sichuan Province.

For example, the draft employment promotion law, which was submitted to the NPC Standing Committee for reading in February, prohibits discrimination against job seekers despite their ethnicity, race, gender, religious belief, age or physical disability. And the governments above the county level are required to establish early warning systems to prevent, regulate and control possible cases of large-scale unemployment.

The draft law is urgently needed as the employment situation at present and in a long period to come is not optimistic, said Fu.

Wu Bangguo said the current NPC and its Standing Committee will achieve the goal of basically establishing a socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics and improving the quality of legislation before the current five-year legislative tenure ends in next March.

"Over the last four years, we passed amendments to the Constitution, the Anti-Secession Law, and formulated or revised 70 laws, judicial interpretations and legal decisions concerning legal issues,...thereby making very good progress in legislative work," the top legislator said.

China is in a critical period of reform and development, in which China's economic system and social structure, the interests of different sectors of society and people's thinking and concepts are all changing profoundly, he said.

"These unprecedented social changes provide very strong vitality for China's development, but they inevitably create a wide variety of conflicts and problems as well," Wu said, adding that the legislation work should always adhere to correct political direction and the principle of putting people first, base on China's actual conditions and realities and follow the mass line.


The NPC Standing Committee deliberated 24 draft laws and draft decisions on legal issues in 2006. Among them 14 were adopted and five were tabled to the ongoing annual session of NPC for deliberating.

The Law on Oversight, which is strongly political in nature, is related to the country's political system and system of government. Formulation of the Law on Oversight was one of the major legislative acts of the NPC. Work actually began on this law at the Sixth NPC and continued for the following two decades. The law was adopted last year.

The Law on Oversight "fully embodies the organic unity of the leadership of the Party, the position of the people as masters of the country and the running of the government according to the rule of law; correctly balances stronger oversight by people's congresses with the leadership of the Party;...upholds the principles of democratic centralism, collective exercise of functions and powers, collective decision making and acting in accordance with the law and prescribed procedures..." said Wu.

The NPC Standing Committee in August 2006 adopted the Corporate Bankruptcy Law, aiming to protect both creditors of bankrupt enterprises and the people who work in them. The law will come into effect on June 1, 2007.

The old bankruptcy rules, promulgated in 1986 on a test basis, were widely regarded as outdated as they fail to give sufficient protection to creditors and only touch on State-owned enterprises (SOE).

The new Corporate Bankruptcy Law applies to all kinds of enterprises and financial institutions. All the country's companies and enterprises, whether state-owned or private, will have to follow a unified corporate bankruptcy law if they founder.

In a bid to safeguard children's fundamental interests and ensure their healthy growth, the NPC Standing Committee revised Compulsory Education Law and Law on Protection to Minors last year.

Other important laws passed or revised last year include Anti- money Laundering Law, Banking Oversight and Management Law, and Organic Law of the People's Court, among others.

According to the revised Organic Law of the People's Court, the Supreme People's Court retrieved the right to review death penalty cases. This was widely regarded as an important step to ensure judicial justice.

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The Supreme People's Court will send back cases to provincial courts for retrial if it evaluates that a death sentence has been passed without proper .

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