From Chinese Press

Criminal Law amendment vital

(China Daily)
Updated: 2010-08-27 09:32
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The amendment to the Criminal Law is not only closely related to people's daily life, but also in the line with the expectations of a modern society to have an advanced legal system. As one of the most important aspects of legislation, the amendment should be open to the public to solicit its opinion, says an article in Beijing Times. Excerpts:

On Monday, the National People's Congress Standing Committee - the country's top legislature - began the first reading of an amendment to the Criminal Law. The amendment proposes to drop the death penalty for 13 economics-related non-violent crimes.

The amendment, the eighth to the country's 1997 Criminal Law, is meant to further temper justice with mercy, which would have a great impact on society. According to information collected by the media, the key words of the amendment are: civilization, science and justice.

At present, 68 crimes can invoke the death penalty. One of the drawbacks of the penal system now is the large gap between fixed-term and life imprisonment. The limit of fixed-term imprisonment is 20 years, which then jumps to life imprisonment. The latest amendment raises the limit to 25 years, which can make the penal system more scientific. And it should help the judiciary mete out proper punishment.

The work on the amendment draft started last year, but it was limited to legal professionals.

The public didn't participate in the discussions or the draft readings even for burning issues such as drunk driving. So, the amendment should solicit public opinion to reflect universality and set a good example.

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