China gathers public wisdom in compiling civil code

By Zhang Cong, People’s Daily
To compile the civil code is a major legislature task set by the Fourth Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
According to schedule, general rules of the civil code, which is dubbed as an “encyclopedia of social life,” will be made first, followed by detailed provisions.
Huang Wei, an official with the Legislative Affairs Commission of China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, told the People’s Daily that legislative departments, conducting thorough and extensive research, have heard advice via multiple channels and constantly improved the draft version of the civil code since the compilation started in 2015.
To gather wisdom from the mass is a conspicuous characteristic of the compilation, Huang noted. She took the provisions on marriage and family as an example. Regarding the marriageable age, an issue that draws wide social attention, legislative departments have not only studied the opinions from different parties, but also conducted special surveys to solicit public opinions on desired marriageable age under the help from the National Bureau of Statistics, to further improve the rationality and accuracy of the legislative resolution.
Relevant drafts have all been published on the website of the NPC to solicit public opinions after being deliberated by the NPC Standing Committee. According to preliminary statistics, the Legislative Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee has published seven times the drafts since August 2018, receiving 951,607 pieces of advice from 410,349 people. The advice and relevant problems have been studied by legislative departments, and highlighted during the revision process.
Legislation shall be fact-based and shall conform to social reality. According to Huang, legislative departments have gone to different regions multiple times for investigation, hearing advices from parties concerned on the drafts. During the drafting of the general rules and compilation of detailed provisions, these departments also went to various places for investigation and seminars. They visited residential communities, neighborhood committees, enterprises and universities to solicit opinions. Besides, they also established a coordinating group consisting staff from the Supreme People’s Court, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, the Ministry of Justice, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the China Law Society, convening conferences on a regular basis.
How to improve the relevant regulations on high-rise littering is a hotspot issue during the compilation of the provisions on torts, Huang introduced, saying high-rise littering is a frequent problem that seriously endangers people’s lives and property. Legislative departments, based on the existing terms in the tort liability law, have thoroughly studied relevant legislation of foreign countries, held seminars for parties concerned, scholars, property management companies and residents, and have gone to places concerned for special investigation, Huang introduced. They finally improved relevant provisions and won high recognition.

Students debate on a mock trial held in Yaohai district, Hefei, capital of east China’s Anhui province on June 16, 2019. Photo by Xiong Wei/People’s Daily Online

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