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Nation promotes legal knowledge
By Cao Desheng (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-12-05 23:04

"What should I do if my parents violate my privacy?"

"Is it illegal to wound others in order to protect myself?"

These questions were raised by primary students from Keyang Hope School in Shijingshan District of Beijing during a legal lecture on the eve of the national day for promoting legal knowledge, which fell on Saturday.

"I hear the word 'crime' in TV programmes, but I don't know much about protecting myself from committing a crime," said Geng Shuo, a grade-five student.

It was the first time Geng and his 1,300 schoolmates had received a lecture on the law, which was given by judge Lai Qi from Beijing No 1 Intermediate People's Court.

Without dull interpretations about laws and regulations, Lai told the children how to protect themselves with legal knowledge and how to avoid committing crimes by analyzing some typical criminal cases.

"Maybe we are still ignorant of the law, but the 90-minute lecture has helped us increase our legal awareness," said the 11-year-old Geng.

Lai's talk was among a series of nationwide efforts to popularize knowledge of the law on this annual national day, which began in 2001.

This year's theme is "promoting the spirit of the Constitution and increasing awareness of the legal system."

The key to the overall implementation of the Constitution is for all people to have an understanding of it,, said Han Qide, vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, at a symposium on Saturday.

All citizens should receive legal education, particularly leading officials, judicial personnel, administrative enforcement staff, juveniles and enterprise managers, Han said.

The nation should also intensify the legal education of government officials, experts say.

"It is of crucial significance for the Party and government officials to abide by and safeguard the Constitution since they are mainly involved in the practice of governing the country according to the law," said Xu Xianming, president of China University of Politics and Law.

He summarized the core of the Constitution as democracy, rule by law and people's rights, stressing that government officials must adhere to the Constitution.

Citizen's rights should be the starting point for the governments' work, he added.

Since the first five-year plan for raising legal awareness was mapped out in 1985, great achievements have been made in this endeavour. A great majority of people now use the law as a way to safeguard their rights and interests.

But experts say more effort is needed in rural areas.

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