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China Makes Legislative Efforts to Protect Human Rights
Source: Xinhua News Agency
Source Date: Thursday, December 09, 2010
Focus: Institution and HR Management
Country: China
Created: Dec 13, 2010

China is making continuous efforts to protect human rights through improved legislation.

The Communist Party of China (CPC) set out establishing a socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics by 2010 as a goal at its 15th National Congress in 1997.

In March, Wu Bangguo, chairman of the 11th Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), said the country's top legislature would ensure the goal is achieved by the end of the year as scheduled.

China's State Council Information Office published a white paper in September featuring "Progress in China's Human Rights in 2009". The paper said a comparatively complete legal system with the Constitution at its core is now in place in China to guarantee human rights.

The following are some key facts about China's efforts over the past year to protect human rights with its legal system:

-- In March, NPC adopted an amendment to the Electoral Law, which grants equal representation in legislative bodies to rural and urban people.

The amendment requires "both rural and urban areas adopt the same ratio of deputies to the represented population in elections of people's congress deputies," which was an effort to close the urban-rural gap and promote equal rights.

-- In April, the bimonthly session of the NPC Standing Committee adopted a revision to the Law on Guarding State Secrets. It narrowed the definition of "state secrets," boosting transparency and ensuring the people's right to know.

-- Also in April, the NPC Standing Committee endorsed an amendment to the State Compensation Law, giving citizens a better chance of obtaining compensation when their rights are violated by the state.

The amendment also codified compensation for psychological injuries, which the state may be liable for, for the first time.

-- The NPC Standing Committee in June approved a decision to amend the Administrative Supervision Law.

The amended law aims to strengthen the supervision of public servants, gives rural people more say in deciding village affairs and improves protection for whistleblowers who report corruption by officials.

-- In August, the NPC Standing Committee discussed the eighth draft amendment to the Criminal Law, which proposed fewer crimes be subject to the death penalty. It also proposed harsher punishments for crimes endangering public security -- such as organized crimes, drunk driving and street racing -- to better protect human rights.

The draft also proposed tougher penalties for the crime of forcing others to work.

-- In October, the NPC Standing Committee adopted a social insurance law to prevent the improper use of social security funds and to grant all citizens the right to access and enjoy five forms of social insurance.

-- Also in October, the NPC Standing Committee adopted the revised Organic Law of Villagers' Committees, as well as an amendment to the Law on Deputies to the NPC and Local People's Congresses at Various Levels.

-- As of this month, China has more than 230 effective laws, over 700 administrative regulations issued by the State Council, and about 9,000 local ordinances issued or approved by provincial-level legislatures.
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