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Legislation Law revision sparks heated debate

By Guo Rong (chinadaily.com.cn)

Updated: 2015-03-11 18:18:26


Expanding power means giving more cities legislative authority, while restricting it means the boundary of the legislative authority for those 49 cities will be limited. The bone of contention focused on these two aspects when NPC deputies held panel discussions about draft revisions to the Legislation Law on Tuesday.

Amendment of the Legislation Law will expand legislative power from 49 cities to 284, empowering their legislatures to create local laws.

However, the bill stirred mixed feelings of excitement and worry among lawmakers.

"Yangzhou has sent many officials to gain legislative experience around China," said Wang Min, a deputy and vice-director of the Standing Committee of Yangzhou People's Congress. "A budget commission and a commission of legislative affairs were set up in Yangzhou last year."

Cities around China have been striving for local legislative power for a long time. Current opinion is that existing laws cannot cover every aspect of social management and different cities need to make different local laws to solve their problems.

The planned amendment to the Legislation Law restricts power to issuing local laws about "rural and urban development and management, environmental protection and preservation of historical heritage and cultural values." In the past, legislative power for bigger cities had hardly any limits.

Also the legislative power of cities has to be approved by provincial legislatures.

It is seen as equality for all cities to have the same range of legislative power, an official from the legislative affairs committee of the NPC said.

However, Zhang Guifang, a deputy and director of the Standing Committee of Guangzhou People's Congress, said this range is too narrow for a "mega city" like Guangzhou.

"Guangzhou has a registered population of more than 8 million and an 8 million immigrant population, as well as a big economy, and there will be many problems in its economic and social development," Zhang said, "The range of issuing local laws should not be restricted to three topics."

Bai Tian, a deputy and director of the Standing Committee of Shenzhen People's Congress, said local legislatures have the right to supervise all local affairs, if the range of legislative power is restricted to three areas, supervision of power will not match legislative power.