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Home >> Opinion
UPDATED: 17:33, March 09, 2007
Property legislation embodies spirit and principle of Constitution
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After seven discussions within the NPC Standing Committee and more than 100 symposiums and legislative meetings based on over 10,000 submissions from the public on the full text, the draft of a Property Law was finally submitted to the fifth session of the 10th National People's Congress on March 8. A careful reading of the final version of the draft enables people to see that if fully embodies the spirit and principles of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China.

Property Law with Chinese characteristics serves China's basic economic system

The first article of the draft law states the purpose of the legislation: "The Property Law is enacted under the Constitution of the People's Republic of China for the purpose of safeguarding the country's basic economic system, maintaining the order of the socialist market economy, clarifying the ownership of property, bringing the effectiveness of property into full play, and protecting property rights."

China's Constitution stipulates that "the state implements a socialist market economy." According to Xu Xianming, a deputy to the NPC and president of the China University of Political Science and Law, the socialist property rights system with Chinese characteristics is determined by the basic economic system of socialism. Ownership is the expression of a social system in law and serves as the core and foundation of property rights. A Property Law with Chinese characteristics must comprehensively and accurately serve the basic economic system of socialism.

Specific provisions to strengthen protection of state-owned assets

At present, some public property is illegally occupied in China. In this regard, the draft clearly states: "In the initial stage of socialism, China upholds the socialist system of public ownership for the means of production as the mainstay while at the same time permitting and encouraging the appropriate development of other economic sectors as supplements to the socialist economy. The State consolidates and develops a publicly-owned economy, and at the same time, encourages, supports and guides the development of the non-public economy."

According to legal experts, "the current version of the draft of the Property Law strengthens the protection of public property in various ways." Firstly, the draft states that "legal state-owned property belongs to the country and all the people of the country." It also explains what kind of property is state-owned property, so as to preventing loss of state-owned property due to obscure ownership. Secondly, the draft stipulates that "any unit or individual cannot take over ownership of state-owned immovable and movable property defined by the law." Thirdly, it stipulates that "all state-owned property is under the protection of the law. No units and individuals shall seize, plunder, divide, withhold or destruct state-owned property." Fourthly, "any unit or individuals who cause the loss of state-owned assets by transferring ownership at low prices, plotting illegal division and occupation, and giving unauthorized guarantees during enterprise restructuring, mergers and separations shall bear legal liability." Finally, "any institutions or individuals who bear the responsibility of state-owned asset supervision and management and cause the loss of state-owned property by abusing power and ignoring duties shall be punished in accordance with law." These provisions fully reflect the spirit of the Constitution, which strengthens the protection of public property.

Meeting market economy requirements and protecting all main players

According to the draft law, "the property rights of the State, collective organizations, individuals and other obliges are protected by the law. No unit or individual shall violate." Sun Xianzhong, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) said that this embodies the principles of equal protection of different property rights as well as the spirit of the current Constitution.

"The equal protection of property rights under the draft law is determined by the market economy." CASS member and civil law expert Wang Jiafu said, "A market economy requires that market players enjoy the same rights, follow the same rules, and bear the same responsibility. We are not able to engage in the market economy if they are not equal."

State Council exercises state-owned ownership

The draft of the Property Law also provides that "state-owned ownership is exercised by the State Council on behalf of the State; in cases where there are separate laws or regulations, the separate laws and regulations shall be followed."

Hu Kangsheng, director of the Law Committee of the NPC Standing Committee said that under the Constitution, the National People's Congress is the highest government organ in the state; the State Council is the highest executive; National People's Congress, on behalf of the people of the country, exercises state power and makes decisions on major issues concerning overall situation of the country in accordance with the law; the State Council is the executive organ.

China's current Law of Land Management, Mineral Resources, Grassland, et cetera, clearly stipulates that the State Council shall exercise property rights on behalf of the state, Hu added. Therefore, the draft law on property which recognizes the State Council as the executive organ of state ownership is consistent with the existing management system. The government department exercising state ownership should report to the National People's Congress and accept the supervision of the NPC.

During the legislative process, the NPC Standing Committee has always adhered to the correct political direction and the Constitution, first considering national conditions and remaining committed to science and democracy. After several revisions and improvements, the draft has been made mature.

By People's Daily Online

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