Socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics enriches world's legislative framework
2011/03/10

BEIJING, March 10 (Xinhua) -- A socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics has been established "on schedule" in China, top legislator Wu Bangguo announced Thursday, hailing it as a "major milestone" in the history of the development of the country's socialist democratic legal system.

"We now have a complete set of types of laws covering all areas of social relations, with basic and major laws of each type already in place, together with comprehensive corresponding administrative regulations and local statutes," Wu said while delivering a work report of the Standing Committee of the 11th National People's Congress (NPC) at the parliament's annual session.

"Overall, the system of laws is scientific, harmonious and consistent," said Wu, chairman of the NPC Standing Committee.

China's legislative goal of forming a socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics by 2010 was set forth at the Fifteenth National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in 1997.

The goal had been attained on schedule, Wu said.

He said that by the end of 2010, China had enacted 236 laws, over 690 administrative regulations and more than 8,600 local statutes that are in force, and fully completed the work of reviewing current laws, administrative regulations and local statutes.

"There are laws to cover every area of economic, political, cultural, social and ecological development in the country," he told almost 3,000 legislators from across the country.

Wu said in his report that the socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics is based on the situation and realities in China, complies with the requirements for reform, opening up and socialist modernization, and represents the will of the Party and the people.

The system is rooted in the Constitution and has several types of laws, including laws related to the Constitution, civil laws and commercial laws, as its backbone, he said.

The system has different levels of legal force, reflected in laws, administrative regulations, and local statutes, he said.

SIGNIFICANCE AND EXPERIENCES

"The establishment of the socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics is a major milestone in the history of the development of China's socialist democratic legal system and has great practical and far-reaching historical significance," Wu said in his report.

The socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics is the legal foundation for permanently preserving the inherent qualities of socialism with Chinese characteristics, he said.

It is also a legal system that embodies the innovations and praxes of socialism with Chinese characteristics and a legal guarantee for the prosperity and development of socialism with Chinese characteristics, he said.

The CPC's leadership and the guidance of the socialist theoretical system with Chinese characteristics were critical to the establishment of the socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics, according to the report.

In the process of forming the socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics, China has steadfastly proceeded from its conditions and realities, put people first and legislated for the people as well as maintained the unity of the socialist legal system, said the report.

Wu stressed the vitality of laws lies in their enforcement.

"The formation of a socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics has generally solved the problem of having laws for people to follow," he said.

He said the problem of ensuring that laws are observed and strictly enforced and that lawbreakers are prosecuted has become more pronounced and pressing.

He vowed to uphold the authority and dignity of the Constitution and laws.

"No organization or individual has any privileges that transcend the Constitution and laws, and all violations of the Constitution and laws must be prosecuted," he said.

The top legislator also underlined the need to adhere to law-based administration and judicial justice and enhance the awareness of laws and the rule of law across society.

Law experts and NPC deputies hailed the establishment of the socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics as a "significant and arduous historical task" accomplished by the country.

They believe the socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics suits China's national conditions and reality, and has enriched the world's legislative framework.

UNEVEN LEGISLATIVE JOURNEY

Before feudalism fell apart in China, the country was largely governed by feudal rulers and the concept of rule-by-man was deep-rooted among average Chinese. China did not try to apply the modern and contemporary system of laws until a century ago that.

In 1950, the People's Republic of China adopted its first law, the Marriage Law, which won wide public support as it outlawed arranged marriage, a practice considered as a legacy from the feudal society.

In 1954, China enacted its first Constitution, paving the basis for the country's endeavor to build a country ruled by law.

China had made progressive legislative endeavor over the past three decades, said Huang Jianchu, director of the Economic Law Department under the Legislative Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee.

In the period, China amended its legal system in line with social and economic changes, people's raising demands for political rights, and evolving themes of the times, he said.

Yao Jianlong, professor with the East China University of Political Science and Law, said the socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics is in compliance with China's current economic and social development as well as its political civilization.

China's legislation has tailored to its national conditions and reality and should never copy foreign practices completely, said Du Tao, an official with the Civil Law Department under the Legislative Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee.

Du cited the country's Property Law as an example to demonstrate China's legislative endeavor to modify laws based on its own conditions.

In some foreign countries, individuals are allowed to own mines under their land. However, articles regarding such an issue cannot be incorporated into China's Property Law as it goes against the Constitution, which stipulates that mines are state assets, he said.

Zhou Guangquan, an NPC deputy and professor with the Law School of Tsinghua University, said China's law system has its distinctive features because China is still in the primary stage of socialism and pursues a unique development mode.

China has enacted some laws based on the need of its political, economic and social development, which are rarely found elsewhere in the world, he said.

For example, the NPC has enacted the the Law on Rural Land Contracts, which grants peasants the long-term and guaranteed land-use right.

"The law features China's own characteristics, since farmland contracting is quite unique to China. The law can ensure the best use of arable land and protect farmers' interests," Du Tao said.

"We have made a point of learning from other countries, but we should never copy their laws blindly," said Huang Jianchu.

China have learned the best practices from other countries, such as the Patent Law, he said.

"While drafting the 'Patent Law', we learned from foreign countries to allow patent holders to have the right to sue in case of patent infringement. However, given the lengthy and costly lawsuit, we also provide for administrative protection," said Huang.

The provision of both legal and administrative protection can better protect the rights of patent holders, said Huang.

"During the 30 years of establishing the socialist system of law with Chinese characteristics, we have, based on our own national conditions, learned from history and other countries and also made innovations, so that our legal system integrates the characteristics of China, the era and world civilization," said Xu Xianming, an NPC deputy.

 

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