Legal revisions give all Chinese citizens same rights

BEIJING: In March 15 years ago, the Legislation Law of the People’s Republic of China was adopted during the third session of the 9th National People’s Congress (NPC). Fifteen years later, draft amendments to the law has been discussed during the third session of the 12th NPC. Over the past years, a number of basic laws that concern China’s overall economic and social development as well as fundamental rights of citizens was made, revised and created profound influence to our society.

According to the Legislation Law, the NPC has the authority to enact and amend basic laws concerning criminal offenses, civil affairs, State organs and other matters.

China’s 1982 Constitution was amended for the fourth time in March 2004. “‘The State respects and guarantees human rights’ has been inserted into Constitution for the first time, which reflects that the awareness of protecting human rights started to raise when our economic and social development enters a certain stage. It also laid the soundest foundation of protecting every right of citizens, including the protection of the ownership of private property,” said Han Deyun, an executive partner of Chongqing Suotong law firm.

The Property Law was approved at the fifth session of the 10th NPC in March 2007. It took 13 years and eight reviews, from raising the idea to the official adoption of the law. It also set up a record in the history of Chinese legislation. This Property Law has made detailed regulations over the ownership of not only mountains, grassland, rivers, lakes, seas and underground minerals, but also residential parking spots, elevators, water and electricity pipes.

The Enterprise Income Tax Law was also adopted at the fifth session of the 10th NPC in March 2007. According to the law, research and development expenses incurred by an enterprises for developing new technology, new products as well as new application can be calculated and deducted from its taxable income.

Wan Lianbu, chairman of Kingenta Group, said that “our subsidiary corporation, Heze Kingenta Ecological Engineering Group Co., Ltd, is a beneficiary of the law. The company’s income tax was levied at a preferential rate of 15 percent. The company’s capability of independent innovation was enormously encouraged.”

In March 2010, the draft amendments to the Electoral Law was passed at the third session of the 11th NPC. “The same population ratio in urban and rural areas over electing NPC deputies, the equal right of all citizens to vote, was realized after the amendment for the very first time,” said Zhu Zhengxu, an NPC deputy and vice president of people’s court in Baofeng county, Henan Province. Since reform and opening-up movement, the Electoral Law has experienced five significant amendments, which showed that the country attaches great importance to citizens’ political rights.

On March 14, 2012, the amended Criminal Procedure Law was passed during the fifth session of the 11th NPC. The new law improved the legal rights of criminal suspects and defendants, showed more restraints on the exercise of power, developed the eliminating system of illegal evidence, strengthened legal aid, and established national aid program for the victimized.

“These regulations are the embodiment of the laws of human rights protection in our Constitution, which showed that Chinese government is ensuring fair and efficient assault on crime while protecting human rights, in order to avoid mistrials and perversions of justice,” said Zhou Guangquan, a professor at Tsinghua University. (People’s Daily)