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Amendment to Administrative Procedure Law hailed

Updated: 2013-12-24 21:38
( Xinhua)

BEIJING -- China's legal experts on Tuesday applauded the draft amendment to the Administrative Procedure Law which stresses citizens' right to sue.

An amendment to the Administrative Procedure Law is under deliberation at the bimonthly session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, which runs till Saturday. It is the first revision to a law which has enabled citizens to sue governments for over two decades.

New stipulations include instructions that more rights infringement cases are to be accepted by the courts. People's courts will now accept suits in which administrators have infringed ownership or rights to use natural resources such as forests, pasture, mineral reserves, mountains and water.

Courts shall also be required to accept suits concerning infringement of rural land contracts and management rights, illegal fundraising, unlawful collection or requisition of property, or unfairly apportioned fees.

Citizens may bring cases against governments which fail to provide appropriate subsistence allowances or social insurance benefits.

Hu Jianmiao, professor with China National School of Administration, told reporters on Tuesday that the occasions on which citizens could sue governments had been increased and were more clearly defined.

Hu regards the revisions as most the important parts of the law, balancing the interests of citizens, administrative bodies and courts.

As many administrative bodies simply refuse to implement or ignore verdicts which favor citizens, the amendment stipulates that administrative bodies' refusal to execute verdicts should be made public.

Hu believes public supervision is an effective force in the Internet era. Once a refusal is made public, the body will be harshly criticized and its leaders will run the risk of being removed, so difficulties in execution should be significantly alleviated.

Yuan Jie, of the NPC Standing Committee's legislative affairs commission, believes an important principle for amending any law is to solve the most outstanding problems in the litigation process.

A law must be easy to apply in the real world, and many field studies were conducted while drafting the amendment, involving court clerks, ordinary citizens and lawyers, said Yuan. The difficulty in obliging courts to even file a case in the first place was the most frequently voiced problem. Therefore the draft amendment adds many new articles in this aspect.

"A law must be revised based on solid field study and must respect public opinion," she said.