BEIJING - China's landmark Property Law that provides equal protection to both state and private properties was put into effect on Monday.
The law approved by the national legislature in March after repeated revisions and unprecedented eight readings is seen as a significant step in the country's efforts to further economic reforms and boost social harmony.
The 247-article law stipulates that no units or individuals may infringe upon the property of the state, the collective and the individual.
"The law will inspire people's enthusiasm to create wealth and is helpful for them to fully enjoy the fruit of reform and opening-up," said Xu Xianming, president of the China University of Political Science and Law.
To give equal protection to private property by law is in accord with the Constitution, the proposition of the Communist Party of China and people's common requests, according to Wang Liming, a professor of Renmin University of China who participated in the legislation process of the law.
However, the bill had met with doubts and opposition from people who argued private property should not be leveled with state property.
In response, senior legislator Wang Zhaoguo said during the parliamentary full session in March that it will be impossible to develop the socialist market economy or to uphold and improve the basic economic system of socialism if equal protection is not secured.
"Under China's socialist market economy, all players enjoy the same rights, observe the same rules and bear the same responsibilities," said the vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature.
To address public concerns over fraudulent acquisitions and mergers of state property, the law stipulates that illegal possession, sharing, and destruction of state property is prohibited. Those who cause loss of state property shall bear legal liability, according to the law.
The concept of improving the protection of private property was first brought up at the 16th National Congress of the Communist Party of China held in November 2002. In March 2004, the NPC adopted a major amendment to the Constitution, stating that people's lawful private property is inviolable.