NPC weighs first law on real rights
China's national legislators are expected to review a draft real rights law, a major part of a new civil code.
Real rights refer to property rights in general. For example real estate rights. They can also be attached to movable property.
The decision was made Friday ahead of a six-day session of the Standing Committee of the 10th National People's Congress (NPC), the country's top legislature, which will kick off next week.
A draft of the country's first civil code was reviewed in 2002 by the previous NPC.
The draft has a total of 1,209 clauses in nine volumes. It is one of the largest pieces of legislation in the nation's history.
A decision was made at the time to review and pass the draft civil code volume by volume.
It would be virtually impossible for the lawmakers to discuss it as a whole in three or four rounds of deliberations.
The draft law on real rights is one of the major sections and tops the current legislative agenda that started with the election of new NPC last year.
The draft law was designed to nail down property relations, make full use of properties and better protect owners, said a senior legislative official who declined to be identified.
The draft law, after passing key tests, is expected to be submitted to the plenary meeting of the NPC in March.
Despite recent changes, there has long been a call for specific laws to cement the equal status of private property and public property. The country's latest amendment to the 1982 Constitution put private assets of Chinese citizens on an equal footing with public property.
Some residents in Beijing tried to fight back against unfair and under-compensated demolition of their houses this spring, shortly after the amendment to the Constitution was adopted.
Wu Zhaoxiang, a judge with the Supreme People's Court with a doctorate in civil law, said the practice reflected the absence of specific legislation to transform the people's constitutional rights into reality.
"The draft bill on real rights, if passed, will offer these residents a powerful legal weapon," Wu said.
Wu said the law would also enhance awareness among government officials of the importance of protecting private property.
The unidentified official said the draft law may better protect consumers' rights especially in the purchase of real estate."A precautional registration system in real estate transactions is introduced in the draft law.
"It will... shield the consumers from unnecessary market risks," he said.
Oftentimes in China, property is sold before it is built. The new law would prevent duplication of sales, he said.
The courts in the capital city handled some 3,948 cases involving disputes on real estate last year. Among these cases, disputes over the sale of marketable housing accounted 67.7 per cent.
The lawmakers will also debate a draft law on the punishment in respect to management of public security.
The draft law is based on the current Regulations of the People's Republic of China on Punishments in Public Order and Security Administration, adopted in 1957.