- Language Tips
2. We enacted amendments to a number of important laws.
The Standing Committee adopted the Decision on Amending the Law on Personal Income Tax, which sets forth two major changes to the law. One is to increase the salary threshold for personal income tax from 2,000 yuan to 3,500 yuan per month, and the other is to change the progressive tax rate structure on wages and salaries from nine to seven brackets, expand the lower tax brackets, and reduce the first bracket rate from 5% to 3%. The amendments further lower the tax burden on middle- and low-income individuals and appropriately raise the tax burden on high-income individuals. To meet the requirements of the Twelfth Five-Year Plan, we will next accelerate personal income tax reform and develop a sound personal income tax system that is comprehensive yet takes different situations into consideration to give a bigger role to taxation in adjusting income distribution.
The Standing Committee amended the Law Concerning the Prevention and Control of Occupational Diseases to make it more practicable. First, the law makes it clear that employers shall carry out measures to prevent and control occupational diseases in accordance with the law, ensures necessary funding, and further strengthens the responsibilities of oversight authorities. Second, the law improves the mechanisms for diagnosing and evaluating occupational diseases, streamlines the procedures for arbitrating labor disputes concerning them, and focuses on solving difficulties in diagnosing them. Third, the law stipulates that employers shall ensure that their employees who suffer from occupational diseases enjoy government-set benefits in accordance with the law. Persons suffering from occupational diseases whose employers no longer exist or whose labor histories cannot be confirmed may apply to their local people's governments for assistance with their medical care and everyday life.
The Law on Administrative Enforcement concerns the exercise of administrative power and the protection of citizens' legitimate rights and interests. It involves complicated issues, and therefore poses legislative difficulties. On the basis of repeated research, debate, communication, and consultation, the Standing Committee passed the Law on Administrative Enforcement after deliberating it on five occasions. Throughout the process of legislation, we emphasized properly balancing powers and rights as well as powers and responsibilities. We ensured that the exercise of administrative enforcement is standardized, constrained, and monitored in order to avoid and prevent abuses of power and protect the legitimate rights and interests of citizens, legal persons and other organizations, and also endowed administrative bodies with necessary powers of enforcement to ensure that they carry out their functions and duties in accordance with the law and to make their administration more efficient.
The power of the NPC and its Standing Committee to interpret the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and the Basic Law of the Macao Special Administrative Region (MSAR) is an important power given to them by the Constitution and the two basic laws.
Last August, the Standing Committee examined and approved the interpretations of Article 13, paragraph 1, and Article 19 of the Basic Law of the HKSAR. This was the first time the Court of Final Appeals of the HKSAR, in the course of adjudicating a case, requested the Standing Committee to render an interpretation concerning articles of the Basic Law pertaining to matters administered by the Central People's Government and relations between the central government and the special administrative region. The Standing Committee's interpretation provided the court with a legal basis for settling the case by making it clear that state immunity falls under the category of diplomatic affairs, that the power to decide the rules and policies concerning state immunity belongs to the central government, and that the HKSAR must abide by unified state rules and policies on state immunity.
Last December, the Standing Committee examined and approved interpretations of Annex I, Article 7, and Annex II, Article 3, of the Basic Law of the MSAR, thereby clarifying the procedures for revising the methods for selecting the Chief Executive of the MSAR and forming its legislative council. This was the first time the Standing Committee exercised its power to interpret the Basic Law of the MSAR.
This February, on the basis of careful deliberation of a report of the Chief Executive of the MSAR, the Standing Committee adopted a decision on the method for forming the Legislative Council of the MSAR in 2013 and selecting its Chief Executive in 2014.
The Standing Committee's interpretations of and decision concerning the above two basic laws fully embody the principle of "one country, two systems." They safeguard the power of the central government stipulated in the basic laws and guarantee a high degree of autonomy for the HKSAR and MSAR, and they also have great significance for promoting comprehensive and correct implementation of the basic laws and guaranteeing the long-term prosperity and stability of the two regions.
The Standing Committee also amended the Military Service Law, the Law on Citizen Identity Cards and the Law on Promoting Cleaner Production; adopted a decision on issues pertaining to intensifying anti-terrorism work; and deliberated the draft amendments to the Civil Procedure Law and the Budget Law, and the drafts of the Law on Mental Health, the Law on Entry and Exit Administration, the Law on Insurance for Military Personnel, and the Law on Asset Evaluation.