|Wednesday, March 01, 2000, updated at 14:33(GMT+8)
New, Solid Steps Taken in Democracy and Legal Construction
This special report written by Our Staff Reporters Fu Xu, Yuan Jianda and Wu Ying is about the NPC Session and the CPPCC Session at which NPC deputies and CPPCC members discussed democracy and legal construction over the past year. They agreed that China had taken a new, solid step in this respect. Following are the main points of this report:
Legislation Becoming Increasingly Mature and of High Quality
In recent years, the pace of China's legislative work has been quickened. A law on legislation has been placed on the agenda of legislation. After two rounds of deliberations at the session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), the draft of the Legislation Law will be submitted to the Third Session of the Ninth NPC for examination and approval.
Legislation requires not only quantity, but more importantly quality.
Many NPC deputies and CPPCC members have said that in light of the need of the reform and modernization drive, it is necessary to make timely revisions and explanations of relevant laws, so as to make China's laws more conform with the objective reality and better preserve the authority of the legal system. Our legislation is becoming increasingly mature.
Over the past year, the NPC Standing Committee has examined 31 drafts of law and adopted 20 of them, thus basically fulfilling the annual legislative plan and taking another step toward the goal of initially establishing a socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics during this term of office.
Administrative Reconsideration: More Forceful in Restraining Power
Before the enactment of the Administrative Reconsideration Law, there had been the Administrative Procedure Law, the State Compensation Law, the Administrative Penalty Law and a series of other legal stipulations restraining administrative power. Enforcement of the Administrative Reconsideration Law has remedied the limitation on the right relief granted to citizens by the original administrative procedural system, providing citizens with relief featuring convenient application, quick procedure and comprehensive content and increasing the legal liabilities of administrative reconsideration organizations, so as to better prevent the misuse of power.
In December 1999, the State Council made a special decision, calling on local governments at all levels and various departments under the State Council to do solid work in implementing the basic strategy of governing the country according to law, comprehensively push forward the work of carrying out administration according to law, strictly running the government and establishing clean, industrious, pragmatic and efficient governments, to ensure that law must be observed, law must be strictly enforced and law-breakers must be prosecuted. This once again indicates the firm attitude and strong determination of the Chinese government in conducting administration according to law. Speaking of carrying out administration according to law, some NPC deputies and CPPCC members said, "for governments at all levels, doing administration according to law is an inevitable requirement, as well as the best choice."
Supervision Produces Practical Results
Strengthening supervision has always been the topic to the utmost concern of the general public. After the Second Session of the Ninth National People's Congress, Chairman Li Peng clearly called for putting the supervision work on an equally important position as legislative work, further intensifying supervision efforts, improving supervision methods, perfecting supervision procedures and stressing practical supervision results.
Enacting a supervision law has been the common demands of NPC deputies and CPPCC members in the past few years. Apart from strengthening legislation concerning supervision, the NPC Standing Committee has conducted in succession supervision over the implementation of laws, such as law on the prevention and control of atmospheric pollution and law on product quality, which are to the common concern of the people, through such forms as law-enforcement inspection and report on a special topic and specially supervised and urged the solutions to such questions as increasing farmers' income and reducing their burden and strengthening the building of the ranks of security personnel.
Healthy Development of Villagers' Exercise of Self-government According to Law
On April 9, 1999, after the implementation of the revised Organic Law of Village Committee, the incident of villagers' recall of the village committee chairman, the first of its kind in China, occurred in Ruian City, Zhejiang Province. The members of Bailian Village in Pandai Township of the city who were dissatisfied with the unclear financial account of the village, held a villager conference attended by more than 600 villagers, removed the village committee chairman He Guangshou from his post according to law.
Ma Xianzhang, an NPC deputy and vice-chairman of the Henan provincial people's congress standing committee, said, "Of the country's 1.2 billion-plus population, 0.9 billion are in the countryside, this is the basic national condition of China. Therefore, respecting the democratic right of farmers as masters of their own affairs, and expanding grass-roots democracy are apparently very important to China's democracy and legal construction. In the process of strengthening democracy and legal construction in grass-roots units, attention should be paid to stimulating the masses' enthusiasm and creativity for participation."
The revised Organic Law of the villagers committee establishes in the legal form the "four democracies"-democratic election, democratic decision, democratic management and democratic supervision, this has not only called up the villagers' enthusiasm for exercising their democratic rights, but also has granted them the legal power for democratic management.
It is reported that since last year, making public village affairs and exercising democratic management has been generally carried out in various parts of the country.
Striving to Achieve Judicial Fairness
In 1999, the court department launched the "Execution Year" activity, which has effectively eased the enforcement difficulty. When talking about this change, Wu Changzhen, CPPCC National Committee member, said with relief, "Judicial justice is the soul of the judicial work. Court decisions, once made, should be carried out, otherwise there will be no justice to speak of." Statistics show that between January and October last year, the courts nationwide wound up a total of 1.65 million cases, up 31 percent over the same period of the previous year, involving funds reaching 143.7 billion yuan.
Over the past year, the efforts exerted by the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate in pursuing judicial fairness are evident to the NPC deputies and CPPCC members:
--On September 16, 1999, the Stipulations Concerning the Standard for Placing a Case on File by the People's Procuratorate to Directly Handle and Place a Case on File for Investigation and Prosecution (Trial Implementation) published and implemented by the Supreme People's Procuratorate, such terms as serious case, heavy losses and grave consequences as set in the Criminal Law are required to be made clear and concrete as far as possible, so as to ensure fair handling of cases and strict enforce ment of laws;
--On January 31 this year, in dealing with the problem concerning a few judges who handle cases in violation of law and discipline to which the masses of people strongly react, the Supreme People's Court formally made known to society and implemented the Some Stipulations Concerning Judges Strictly Instituting the Challenge System, setting up an "isolation belt" between the judge and the litigant and his or her agent;
--Courts and procuratorates at all levels nationwide listened to the voices of NPC deputies and CPPCC members by adopting forms such as forums and circulars, and earnestly accepted their opinions and suggestions...Printer-friendly Version Chinese Version In This Section
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