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Beijing smoking ban review broadcast live

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-07-29 13:57

BEIJING - Beijingers were able to watch live online footage of the city's lawmakers jousting over a draft law on smoking control on Friday morning.

The Standing Committee of the Beijing Municipal People's Congress started to deliberate on the draft at 9 a.m.. The procedure was broadcast on, a website operated by the municipal government.

It is the first time that the institution has given citizens a glimpse into its work through a live webcast. The move manifests transparency in legislation and will help promote the regulation, said Wang Qingbin, an associate law professor with China University of Political Science and Law.

Compared with a poorly implemented rule issued by the municipal government in 2008 to ban smoking in parts of indoor public places and on public transport, the highly anticipated draft law significantly expands smoke-free areas.

It bans smoking in all indoor public places, workplaces and public transport vehicles. It also bars smokers from open-air areas of kindergartens, schools, children's centers and historical sites.

The draft proposes designating smoking areas in outdoor places of universities, stadiums, fitness centers, medical institutions, tourism sites and parks.

Health authorities at county, district and city levels are appointed by the draft to enforce the ban.

People breaking the law would be fined 50 yuan (about 8 U.S. dollars) and violators who refuse to stub out 200 yuan.

The draft law, unveiled in April to solicit public opinion, is expected to be deliberated again in September and take effect in 2015.

China is home to over 300 million smokers, with more than one million people dying as a result of tobacco-related illness a year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The country signed the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2003 and it became effective in 2006.

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