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3. We made legislation more scientific and democratic.
We focused on strengthening the following work based on the experience gained from our past practices.
First, we expanded the orderly participation of citizens in legislation and actively responded to social concerns. The amendment to the Law on Personal Income Tax affects the vital interests of the people. In the period of just over a month after the Standing Committee released the draft amendment to the public for their opinions, it received over 230,000 comments. At the same time, we solicited written opinions from local and central government departments, and from enterprises, universities, and research institutes; held forums and discussion meetings to directly solicit suggestions from experts, scholars, and public representatives. We conscientiously and responsibly made major new revisions to the draft amendment by giving full consideration to opinions on all sides, particularly feedback from the public, carrying out thorough deliberation, and having repeated consultations with the State Council. These revisions raised the salary threshold for personal income tax and reduced the tax rate for the lowest tax bracket appropriately.
Second, we worked harder to develop a scientific, harmonious, and unified legal system. After the Social Insurance Law and Amendment VIII to the Criminal Law were passed, the Standing Committee promptly revised some articles of the Law on the Coal Industry, the Construction Law, and the Road Traffic Safety Law to resolve the issue that parts of these laws did not conform or dovetail with each other. After the Law on Administrative Enforcement was promulgated, we required relevant authorities to promptly put in order administrative enforcement clauses in existing laws, regulations, and other normative documents. The State Council and local governments attached great importance to and made arrangements for this work and basically completed it by the end of last year.
Third, we launched a pilot project for evaluating laws after they are passed. We selected the Law on Scientific and Technological Progress and the Law on Promoting Agricultural Mechanization for evaluation. We objectively evaluated how scientific and practicable laws were as well as how effectively they were implemented, and focused on the ownership and use of intellectual property rights in scientific and technological projects, incentives for corporate investment in R&D, trans-regional mechanized farming services, subsidies for purchasing agricultural machinery, and fuel subsidies for agricultural machinery. The Standing Committee deliberated the relevant reports, and called for improving the mechanism for evaluating laws after they are passed on the basis of a review of the experiences gained from the pilot project and for carrying out such evaluations on a regular basis and in a standardized way.
Now that our socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics has been established, it has become more urgent and important to strengthen publicity and education regarding the legal system and ensure effective law enforcement. The report approved and sent out by the CPC Central Committee last year on forming a socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics called for further strengthening enforcement of laws and education in the law, and vigorously promoting a socialist spirit of the rule of law. We conscientiously implemented the guiding principles of the Central Committee and adopted a resolution on further strengthening publicity of and education regarding the legal system in conjunction with hearing and deliberating the work report on the fifth five-year plan for spreading general knowledge of the law among the people. The resolution emphasized that we need to comprehensively implement the rule of law as the basic strategy and be fully aware that publicity of and education in the law are important, long-term and urgent, and that we should use the formation of a socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics to make publicity and education work more targeted and effective; enhance the ability of government employees, especially leading cadres at all levels, to perform their duties in accordance with the law; and accelerate the creation of a social atmosphere in which people purposefully study, respect, abide by, and apply the law. We widely publicized the socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics in various ways, such as issuing a white paper and producing a documentary entitled "Forging the Rule of Law," which played a positive role in enhancing the awareness of laws and the rule of law across society and promoting effective law enforcement.