BEIJING -- China's national legislature passed an amendment to the Legislation Law on Monday, aiming to promote high-quality development and guarantee good governance by improving the quality of legislation.
The amendment was adopted at the closing meeting of the first session of the 14th National People's Congress (NPC). The amended law will come into effect on March 15.
The Legislation Law, considered a foundation of China's legal system, regulates how national laws, government regulations and local laws come into shape and which organizations hold the legislative power.
The law was first adopted in 2000 and amended in 2015.
PROMOTE HIGH-QUALITY DEVELOPMENT
The 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) held last October called for efforts to build a modern socialist country in all respects under the rule of law.
To that end, the amended Legislation Law adds a provision, "legislation should follow the new development philosophy and ensure that the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts should be advanced through a Chinese path to modernization," to its general provisions.
Observers say the amended law, which aims to improve the legislative system and mechanism to enhance the quality and efficiency of legislation, is expected to promote the country's high-quality development with high-quality legislation.
One of the changes is expanding the legislative power of cities with subsidiary districts. Such cities were granted legislative power within a limited scope after the 2015 revision.
The new amendment expands their legislative power to include affairs concerning primary-level governance and changes "environmental protection" into "ecological conservation."
"Expanding the legislative power of cities with subsidiary districts can better meet the actual demand for innovative governance of local authorities," said Li Zan, a deputy to the 14th NPC from southwest China's Sichuan Province.
In line with the coordinated regional development strategy of the country, the amendment adds provisions on regional coordination on legislation, elevating the existing effective practices into the Legislation Law.
On the first day of 2023, a document on the protection and utilization of the Grand Canal cultural heritage came into effect in Beijing and neighboring Tianjin Municipality and Hebei Province simultaneously. Through coordinated legislation in the region, Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei share the responsibility of protecting the Grand Canal culture.
WHOLE-PROCESS PEOPLE'S DEMOCRACY
The amended law enshrines in the general provisions that whole-process people's democracy should be upheld and developed.
In addition to existing rules in ensuring transparency and people's participation in legislative work, such as soliciting public opinions and publishing relevant documents, the amendment enshrines the system of local legislative outreach offices, which has existed for years, to solicit opinions from the grassroots and people from all walks of life on draft laws and legislative work.
There are 32 local legislative outreach offices nationwide. Lawmakers have solicited public opinions on 142 draft laws and legislative work plans through local legislative outreach offices between 2015 and 2022, receiving more than 15,000 suggestions, of which over 2,800 had been taken.
ENFORCEMENT OF CONSTITUTION
The 20th CPC National Congress stressed that law-based governance and law-based exercise of state power must begin with compliance with the Constitution and called for efforts to give better play to the Constitution's important role in China's governance.
The past five years have seen the NPC and its Standing Committee ensuring the implementation and publicity of the Constitution, including organizing activities to mark National Constitution Day, and organizing ceremonies for newly appointed officials to pledge allegiance to the Constitution.
In this regard, the revision introduces new requirements for the constitutionality review system.
In particular, it requires a bill's explanatory document to include opinions on issues of constitutionality.
Jiang Fan, an NPC deputy and vice president of the Hunan Lawyers Association, said that codifying constitutionality review in the Legislation Law marks substantive progress in the constitutionality review system.
The amendment is conducive to upholding the authority of the Constitution as well as the unity, sanctity and authority of the socialist legal system, said Li Jing, another NPC deputy who is also president of the Tianjin High People's Court, adding that the newly amended law will continuously improve the capacity and level of governance in accordance with the Constitution.