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New bill introduces licensing hearing
( 2003-08-25 06:48) (China Daily)

A draft law on administrative licensing, which is now undergoing final scrutiny by national legislators, says that a hearing must be held prior to the establishment of an administrative license when there is a conflict of interest to ensure transparency and fairness.

Administrative licensing is a major government function. It refers to the issuing of formal legal permission to conduct business or business-related activities.

The draft law was drawn up by the State Council to streamline the establishment and enforcement of administrative licensing, safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of citizens, corporations and other organizations, and maintain public interest and social order, while ensuring the effectiveness and efficiency of administrative management.

The latest session of the Standing Committee of the 10th National People's Congress, the country's top legislative body, is expected to vote on the draft law on Wednesday.

Zhang Shicheng, a division chief of the Legislative Affairs Committee under the Congress Standing Committee, said: "The introduction of the hearing system into the administrative licensing process will better ensure that the interests of all related parties get fully considered.''

Administrative organizations should inform the public that an administrative licence is to be established and hold hearings on establishing administrative licenses as required by laws and regulations or when they think a hearing is necessary for the public interest, according to the draft law.

The bill also grants applicants for a certain administrative licence and other interested individuals the right to demand a hearing.

The draft law says the administrative organizations should inform the applicants and interested individuals of their right before making a decision on the administrative licence.

Administrative organizations should hold a hearing within 20 days if the applicants and interested individuals request a hearing within five days of the administrative organization announcing that an administrative licence is to be established.

Neither the applicants nor the interested individuals should bear the expenses of such hearings, the draft law says.

The bill also stipulates that administrative organizations should pay compensation if the administrative licensing process has been conducted illegally.

Such provisions are a credit to the draft law, legislator Xin Chunying told a discussion on the bill held by the Congress Standing Committee at the weekend.

But legislator Gao Zhiguo said the draft law should include more details on the issues that will require a hearing. He said a hearing should be required in principle for all administrative licensing on issues concerning national security, the public interest, natural resources, public services and human health.

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