AGICHINA - PEOPLE'S DAILY Law tightens checks on power

Temporary rules only allowed in emergencies
Law tightens checks on power

 

BEIJING, March 9 (Xinhua- People's Daily) - A draft revision to China's Legislation Law bans ministries and local governments from issuing rules and policies that mitigate citizens' rights or increase their obligations without legal basis.

The bill was submitted Sunday to the ongoing national legislative session for third reading, the first time the country's top legislature has discussed its draft amendment in a full session.

The provision in the bill is considered as the national legislature's attempt to prevent the executive branch from churning out inappropriate rules or policies, and stresses the NPC's leading role in legislation.

In recent years, for the sake of economic development and social management, local governments passed rules and policies that aroused concerns of abuse of power.

Li Shishi, director of the Commission for Legislative Affairs of the NPC Standing Committee, previously cited local protectionism among lawmaking bodies, in addition to buck passing and power struggles.

For example, in an attempt to ease traffic jams and reduce air pollution, the Beijing municipal government banned residents from buying cars except after getting car registration licenses from a bi-monthly lottery. Private vehicles in Beijing are not allowed on the streets during specific hours one working day a week.

Shenzhen in Guangdong Province introduced a similar car purchase restriction in December only 20 minutes before the rule took effect, to prevent residents from a purchasing spree that "may cause a big increase in the number of vehicles that could cause traffic jams and disorder."

Some other cities followed suit. A number of cities also adopted stricter measures on real estate purchases, hoping to reduce speculation in the housing market.

Liang Ying, an expert with the Legislative Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee, told the Xinhua News Agency that he believes the executive branch would be more cautious in issuing rules if the law is amended. "As Premier Li Keqiang said in his government work report, it goes without saying that power should be used responsibly."

"This provision will be a warning against unnecessary administrative rules," Liang said.

Nevertheless, the bill allows local governments to issue temporary rules only in emergencies. Such temporary rules will be lifted in two years unless local legislatures pass laws to support them. 

 

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