Legislators tackle draft civil law

By Li Ruohan Source:Global Times Published: 2017/3/8 21:18:39

Code to cover property rights, ecological conservation

Chinese legislators have started deliberating on the general provisions of a civil law on Wednesday during the ongoing annual session of China's top legislature.

If passed, the draft will bring China closer to a long-absent civil code to better protect people's civil activities, said experts.

Developing a civil code, dubbed as "an encyclopedia on social life" which regulates personal and property affairs, will help "better protect people's immediate interests, improve State governance and maintain market order," Li Jianguo, vice chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, said while explaining the draft Wednesday at an NPC plenary meeting.

Based on the General Principles of Civil Law adopted in 1986, the draft will provide a framework for interpreting some 200 current civil and commercial laws. It also deals with a variety of issues, ranging from ecological conservation to property protection, as well as the guardianship system.

The draft will cover every aspect of people's lives and ensure the safety of their property, Wang Liming, a civil law professor at the Renmin University of China and also a former member of the NPC's law committee, told the Global Times.

For instance, the draft for the first time states that spouses and children should be the custodians of those who are incapable of civil conduct, and government will also be involved in looking after those who cannot find a custodian.

It also lowers the statutory age limit of minors with limited capacity for civil conduct from 10 years to 6 years old, although many legislators said that 6 is too young. The purpose of lowering the threshold is to "better respect the minors' self-consciousness," Li said.

To better protect underage sexual assault victims, the draft states that victims have until they reach the age of 18 to file a complaint.  Previously, victims had to file a complaint immediately after the incident.

The draft will likewise expand the time frame in which civil cases are filed from two to three years, Wang praised.

In addition, the draft highlights the protection of online virtual assets and data, as incidents of personal information leaks have increased in recent years.

The NPC Standing Committee have put the draft through three readings since June 2016. According to the legislative plan, the code will take effect in 2020.

It is rare in China for a draft law not to be passed after three readings, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

The General Principles of Civil Law will not be abolished, but the new provisions will be upheld, Li was quoted by The Beijing News as saying on Wednesday.


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