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New NPC body to address law conflicts
(China Daily)
Updated: 2004-06-21 07:47

The tragic death of Sun Zhigang, a 27-year-old graphic designer from Hubei Province, has been etched into the country's constitutional development.

In March last year, he was mistaken as a vagrant and detained in the southern city of Guangzhou, as he had not brought with him his temporary residency card or identification card. Several days later he was found dead. He had been beaten to death by inmates while in a repatriation centre.

In June one nursing attendant in the repatriation centre was sentenced to death for his leading role in Sun's death. One of the inmates was given a suspended death sentence.

Ten other inmates received sentences of up to life imprisonment for their roles in the homicide.

Another six people, including a policeman, two doctors, two nurses and the person in charge of the repatriation centre were sentenced to prison terms of two to three years for neglecting their duties.

Subsequently, Sun's case has made a difference in the lives of hundreds of millions of Chinese who live and work outside their hometowns.

The State Council finally rescinded the "Regulation on the Detention and Deportation of Vagrants and Beggars in Cities," which, introduced in 1982, allowed local police to detain people who could not produce local residency permits.

The government was widely criticized for exceeding its authority in taking measures to restrict personal freedom without legal basis.

According to the Law on Legislative Procedures, which went into effect on July 1, 2000, only the national laws apply in settling issues concerning individuals' political rights and personal freedom.

Responding to mounting public demand that it rectify its constitutional oversight, the NPC Standing Committee set up a new agency within its legislative affairs commission last month.
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