China’s top legislator Zhang Dejiang on Wednesday lauded progress made in legislation related to people’s livelihood in the past year, saying that the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee had accomplished all the tasks that had been set for 2015.
“Putting the people first in legislation and making legislation for them is an important principle that we must uphold in our legislative work,” Zhang said.
TOUGH AIR POLLUTION LAW
In response to public complaints with regard to the serious air pollution in the country, Zhang said that the Standing Committee made “comprehensive revisions” to the Air Pollution Prevention and Control Law, including increasing the number of articles from 66 to 129.
He further explained that the revised law is aimed at strengthening the obligations of the government, enterprises and individuals in the prevention and control of air pollution, and that it’s more “targeted, practicable and enforceable.”
Data from China’s Environmental Protection Ministry show that 191,000 firms were found to be violating environmental regulations in 2015, with 20,000 of them being shut down. Official data also show that in 2015, the average PM2.5 density in China’s 74 major cities dropped 14.1% compared to 2014.
Another issue that concerns people’s daily lives is that of food safety. Zhang said the Standing Committee revised the Food Safety Law in 2015, with an emphasis on preventing and reducing safety risks.
The revised law, he said, brings the whole process from food production and distribution to catering under supervision. It also prescribes the establishment of a society-wide co-governance system for food safety that comprises rewards for reporting food safety problems and introduces a food safety liability insurance system.
“The people will not be happy unless they have confidence in the safety of the food they are eating,” Zhang said.
LANDMARK DOMESTIC VIOLENCE LAW
Last year, China also adopted the country’s first ever domestic violence law, which took effect from March 1, 2016. The new legislation covers both physical and psychological abuse at home and includes couples who are cohabiting.
Zhang said that the law has not only stipulated mechanisms and measures for preventing and dealing with domestic abuse, but also introduced a system of restraining orders to protect the victims of family violence.
The new law allows victims or whoever is in immediate danger to file for a “personal protection order,” and requires the courts to deal with such complaints within 72 hours.
According to the All-China Women’s Federation (ACWF), nearly 25% of Chinese women have suffered violence at home, but each year, only some 40,000 to 50,000 of them report their cases.
Meanwhile, another major change last year was Standing Committee’s move to revise the Population and Family Planning Law, implementing a universal two-child policy as of January 1, 2016.
“It’s a move that will have far-reaching effects on our efforts to promote the balanced development of China’s population,” Zhang said.
Story by CCTV News