People.com.cn releases top ten pieces of legality news in 2004. Here we can see efforts in the construction of governments by law, we can see the fall of corrupt officials and the nation's anti-corruption determination. Here we hear debates on legality, hear we feel the importance of rights protection.
1. "Private property" into constitution after fourth amendments
With an overwhelming majority, the Second Session of the 10th National People's Congress (NPC) adopted the amendments to the Chinese Constitution on March 14. It is the fourth amendments since the constitution was enacted in 1982. The three major highlights in the amendments are expression of "respecting for and protecting human rights", the clause on private protection, which regards private assets "not to be encroached upon", and the content on state of emergency.
Today, we are pleased to see that constitution is stepping into people's lives. The expression of legal private property "not to be encroached upon�� means the country finally abandons the prejudice against private assets and lifted citizens' property right up to constitutional rights, which provides a constitutional guarantee for protecting citizens�� property right. "Respecting for and protecting human rights��, embodies the human rights awareness of the constitution, making it the ultimate basis for regularizing government behaviors and safeguard the legal rights and interests of the masses.
2. China pushes governance by law
The State Council issued the essentials on the implementation of fully promoting governing by law, which put forward that China will take unswerving efforts in about ten years to generally realize its goal of buildings government and rule by law.
Administrative Licensing Law officially took effect on July 1, signifying the Chinese government is transforming from merely "government of power" to "government of responsibility" and it draws a basic outline of "government and rule by law." It is of important significance for regularizing government behavior, for pushing governing by law and for preventing and controlling corruption by source.
3. Law on Road Traffic Safety takes effect
The Law on Road Traffic Safety of the People's Republic of China, China's first law of its kind, officially took effect on May 1. It is stressed in the law drivers' "no-fault liability" in traffic accidents. That is to say, drivers with no fault still have to make compensation for the traffic accidents. That drivers who bump must make compensation and that escaped drivers who cause accidents be banned of drive for life -- the principles are highlighting the legislation idea of putting people first and the basic principle of fairness and convenience for people.
4. Large amount of civil disputes settled at grassroots level
Mediation, as a legal system with Chinese characteristics, is an important part of the dispute-dissolving mechanism. China's Supreme People's Court, Ministry of Justice held in Beijing a national seminar on the mediation work, which gave positive comments to mediation's important role in maintaining social stability, especially grassroots stability. Currently mediation organizations handle about six million each year, prevent on average over 50, 000 civil disputes from escalating into criminal cases.
5. Strengthen investigation into individual accountability
On September 4, the six defendants charged for key responsibility for the disastrous gas blowout, which killed 243 in Kai County in southwest China's Chongqing municipality were sentenced to jail terms ranging from three to six years. On November 26, the two negligent persons, responsible for the great casualties in a park in Miyun District of Beijing on February 5, were sentenced to three years in prison. Previously, Wan Ruizhong, former Party secretary of Nandan County of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region was sentenced to death penalty for abuse of power and concealing the truth of the mine flooding on July 17, 2001, in which 81 miners died.
Courts' investigation by law for the criminal accountability of individuals let people see again the might of "accountability". Responsibility always goes along with power, abuse of power must be punished, this is a definite requirement building government and rule by law.
6. China launches crackdown on porn websites
Since the opening of the website for reports on illegal and harmful information on June 10, 14 departments including the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee launched a special nationwide campaign cracking down on pornographic websites and further mobilized the masses to participate in it. Till November 9, 244 criminal cases have been uncovered and 428 suspects captured, 1, 442 pornographic websites and 365 websites for gambling and swindling have been shut down. On September 6, China��s Supreme Court and China��s Supreme People��s Procuratorate published judicial interpretation concerning concerning criminal cases related to pornographic digital information. A clear definition of ��pornography�� provided legal foundation for the war against porn websites.
7. Difficulty of enforcement conquered
Enforcement has always been a problem in the work of courts. China's Supreme People's Court issued a notice demanding the people's courts at various levels to settle the un-finished cases in about six months. Till November, over 1.7 million cases have been completed.
In order to solve the problem of difficult enforcement, China's Supreme People's Court, Ministry of Land and Resources and Ministry of Construction jointly issued a document, clarifying and further classifying the functions and powers of the three departments and regularizing the treatment of such cases. The supreme court also issued two judicial interpretations on November to protect the legal rights and interests of the persons against the parties subject to enforcement and prevent inordinate enforcement.
8. Greater efforts in fighting corruption: Wang Huaizhong sentenced
On February 12, Wang Huaizhong, former vice governor of Anhui Province, was sentenced to death. On June 29, Liu Fangren, former Party secretary of Guizhou Province was sentenced life imprisonment. The punishments on these senior officials fully reflect the determination and force of the Chinese government to continue deepening the construction of the Party style and clean government, and the fight against corruption. Meanwhile, China made tremendous efforts in chasing the corrupt officials escaped and in reclaiming the nation's lost properties.
9. Safeguard the rights and interests of laborers
The words of Xiong Deming, a women farmer asking for the help of Premier for defaulted salaries drew concern around the society over defaulted wages. The statute on labor protection issued by the State Council took effect on December 1. According to the statute, employers who don't pay the wages after the due date must pay the double amount; encroachment upon women workers is subject to fine from 1, 000 to 5, 000 yuan.
10. Observe commitments to the international community: interpretation on protecting IPR issued
China's Supreme People's Court and China's Supreme People's Procuratorate issued on December 21 judicial interpretation concerning criminal cases related to infringement upon intellectual property rights (IPR), which took effect on December 22. Much adjustment has been made in the standards of discretion of punishment and the differentiating principles for different crimes.
The judicial interpretation will play an important role in enhancing China's protection of intellectual property rights and maintaining the order of the market economy. It is another significant measure taken by China's judiciary departments to strengthen IPR protection, and to observe China's solemn commitments to the international community.
By People's Daily Online