(3) State-owned property.
In the draft property law, explicit stipulations are made on the scope of State-owned property, the exercise of State ownership, effective protection of State-owned property, etc.
With respect to the scope of State-owned property. The draft property law, in accordance with the Constitution and relevant laws, explicitly stipulates that State-owned property includes: the natural resources and infrastructure belonging to the State, the property of government departments and the institutions sponsored by the State, etc.; and, in addition, it stipulates that the State Council or the local people's governments shall, in accordance with the provisions of laws and administrative regulations and on behalf of the State, respectively perform the duties of promoters of the enterprises and enjoy the rights and interests of promoters. This further defines in law the scope of the resources and the property for business operation owned by the State, which will play a key role in promoting and expanding the State-owned economic sector, increasing the economic strength of the State and bringing the superiority of the socialist system into play.
On the question of the exercise of State ownership. In accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, the National People's Congress is the highest organ of the State power and the State Council is the executive body of the highest organ of the State power. The fact that the National People's Congress exercises the State power on behalf of the people throughout the country is embodied in its making of decisions in accordance with law on major issues that have a bearing on the overall situation of the State, and the organ that puts those decisions into effect is the State Council. It follows that it is the government, not the National People's Congress, that concretely exercises the ownership of the State. In such laws as the Land Administration Law, Mineral Resources Law, Grassland Law and Law on Administration over the Use of Sea Areas, it is explicitly stipulated that the State Council exercises the ownership on behalf of the State. As a matter of fact, it is also the administration system currently in effect. The draft property law stipulates, "The State Council shall exercise the ownership of State-owned property on behalf of the State; and where otherwise provided for in laws, the provisions there shall prevail." It is not only in conformity with the characteristics of the people's congress system, but also embodies the requirements laid down at the 16th National Conference of the CPC that the State formulate laws and administrative regulations to establish a State-owned assets management system whereby the Central Government and local governments respectively perform the duties of promoters on behalf of the State and enjoy the rights and interests of owners. The fact that the National People's Congress empowers the State Council through legislation to exercise the ownership of the State on behalf of the State embodies the nature of the National People's Congress and the characteristics of the exercise of its functions and powers. In exercising ownership of the State, the governments shall be accountable to the people's congresses and subject to their supervision according to law.
On the question of protection of State-owned property. In light of the present situation of the loss of State-owned property, the draft property law strengthens the protection of State-owned property from the following five aspects on the basis of adherence to the principle of equal protection:
One, it stipulates, "The property owned by the State as provided for by law belongs to ownership of the State, that is, ownership of the entire people." And it also makes stipulations on the specific property that belongs to State-owned property, in order to prevent the loss of State-owned property due to equivocal definition of its ownership.
Two, it stipulates, "No units or individuals shall be allowed to obtain ownership of the immovables or movables exclusively owned by the Sate as is provided for by law."
Three, it stipulates, "The property owned by the State shall be protected by law, and illegal possession, looting, illegal sharing, withholding or destruction of such property by any unit or individual is prohibited."
Four, in light of loss of the property of the State-owned enterprises, it stipulates, "Any unit or individual that, in violation of the provisions on management of State-owned property, causes loss of State-owned property by transferring it at a low price, illegally sharing it in conspiracy with another person, placing a charge over it without authorization, or by other means in the course of restructure of the enterprise, merger or division of the enterprise, or affiliated transaction, etc., shall bear legal liability according to law."
Five, in light of the problems existing in supervision over State-owned property, it stipulates that where in performing their duties of administration of and supervision over State-owned property, the authorities and their staff members "cause loss of State-owned property due to their abuse of power or dereliction of their duties, they shall bear legal liability according to law."
These stipulations manifest the essence of the Constitution on the need to strengthen protection of the socialist public property and are of tremendous practical significance.