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Public voices play key part in nation's lawmaking process

By CUI JIA | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2022-04-26 09:28
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Public opinion has played a strong role in the lawmaking process over the past 10 years, ensuring laws and regulations embody the people's common will and interests, a senior legislator said.

Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2012, China has expanded channels to listen to people's voices at every step of the lawmaking process, including drafting, deliberation and adoption of legislative items, Xu Anbiao, deputy head of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, China's top legislature, said on Monday.

"From 2013 onwards, the first drafts of most laws submitted to the NPC Standing Committee are published online for public review, and the second drafts, after revision, are also published online so people can see what has been changed and if their views have been taken into consideration," Xu said during a news conference on the achievements of China's legislative affairs during the past decade held by the State Council Information Office in Beijing.

Over the past 10 years, public opinion has been solicited on 205 draft laws, with more than 1.19 million people participating and 3.5 million comments made, he added.

China has witnessed a substantial increase in new laws since the 18th CPC National Congress as legislation is key to supporting law-based governance, Xu added.

"Compared with the decade before, the number of newly enacted laws increased by 34 percent, the number of laws amended nearly tripled and the number of decisions adopted on legal issues increased by more than 1.5 times."

As of the 34th session of the Standing Committee of the 13th NPC in April 2022, the NPC had adopted many amendments to the Constitution. The NPC and its Standing Committee had enacted 68 laws, revised 234 laws, issued nine legal interpretations and adopted 99 decisions on major legal issues, while 292 laws were currently in effect, he said.

Apart from the Civil Code of the People's Republic of China, the country's first and only law labeled a "code", Xu said the laws in important fields, such as national security and healthcare have been issued one after another in a progressive manner.

To safeguard national security in a world that is far from tranquil, China has formulated or revised more than 20 laws directly related to national security since the 18th CPC National Congress. They include laws on national security, counter-espionage, anti-terrorism, cybersecurity, biosecurity and nuclear safety, Tong Weidong, an official of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee, said.

New laws have also ensured the stability of Hong Kong. Particularly, the Law of the People's Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, that was passed in 2020 and was a significant move to improve "one country, two systems", Yang Zhaoye, director of the NPC Standing Committee's research office for Hong Kong and Macao basic laws, said.

"The law had an immediate effect in ending chaos in Hong Kong and restoring stability," Yang said.

China's efforts in drafting laws to handle emerging and pressing matters have been reinforced by laws on cybersecurity, e-commerce, data security and personal data protection, Xu said.

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