Chief Justice Xiao Yang said in Beijing Wednesday that the Supreme
People's Court is working to amend a controversial rule which is accused of
different compensation for urban and rural residents in one accident.
If everything goes on smoothly, the amendment will be made public after the
annual session of the top legislature, or National People's Congress (NPC),
which started on March 5 and will end on March 16, Xiao said on the sidelines of
the NPC session.
Issued by the supreme court in 2003, the interpretations on personal injury
cases stipulate that death compensation should be 20 times the average annual
disposable income of urban residents of the previous year, or 20 times the
average annual per capita net income of rural residents.
The average annual disposable income of urban residents stood at 11,759 yuan
in 2006 while the average annual per capita net income of rural residents 3,587
yuan, resulting a wide gap of 160, 000 yuan in compensation if a pair of urban
and rural residents died at the same time in an accident.
The rule has sparked hot debates as critics warned "the lives of China's
urban residents are worth much more than those of rural residents", or
"different prices for lives" in short. Such mishaps did happen in real life.
The supreme court conducted a lot of investigations and researches on the
rule last year, and held discussions with legal experts, scholars and the masses
to seek their opinions.
However, "the result is that people have different ideas on the issue," Xiao
The chief justice did not elaborate more.
An NPC deputy named Liu Aiping had submitted a motion to the top legislature
to urge judicial departments to revoke the current rule.