China’s civil code people-centric, improves legal system

By Wei Zhezhe, People’s Daily
The draft sections of China’s civil code, drawing from past legislative experiences, have made multiple breakthroughs with many highlights, said Wang Junfeng, head of the All China Lawyers Association.
The draft sections practically protect people’s civil rights and safeguards the harmony of social relations, making targeted improvements to emergency requisition of property, contractual rights and obligations, responsibility of property management enterprises and property owners’ obligations, as well as liability for tort, Wang introduced, adding that they also legalize civil rights and concretize legal obligations.
For instance, the draft section on torts sets a clear legal responsibility differentiation in cases of “high-rise littering” that draws wide social attention. According to the section, the users of buildings who could possibly be the injuring party are requested to compensate the victims if individual infringers are not found after investigations. Besides, it also stipulates that the managing party of properties shall fulfill its obligation of offering safety guarantee, and undertake liablity for not fulfilling the obligation.
“This helps guarantee the legal rights and interests of the infringed, helps guide citizens to improve their morality and legal awareness, and helps mobilize each party concerned to participate in social governance,” Wang explained.
The civil code contains a section on personality rights that stresses the protection over people’s rights to health, reputation and privacy. Wang believes the section is a major breakthrough made by the civil code, which reflects the importance laid by China on the protection over personality rights and demonstrates the people-centric value.
The third draft section on personality rights defines “privacy” as “the private space, activity or information that a person does not want others to know,” which expanded the scope of privacy protection. Email addresses and information about a person’s whereabouts are also considered personal information under this draft section.
As social development changes people’s attitudes toward marriage, there is a gradual increase of marriage and family disputes. Speaking of the “cooling-off period before divorce” proposed in the draft section on marriage and family, Wang said it helps save the marriages of many, avoids divorces driven by impulsive decisions, enhances the sense of family responsibility, and safeguards and promotes the stability of marriage and family relations.
Wang remarked that the civil code, which carries the expectation of the people and a dream of generations of law practitioners, will be submitted to the 3rd Session of the 13th National People’s Congress for deliberation, and will surely offer a firm legal base when the country strives to satisfy people’s ever-growing needs for a better life.

A couple showcase their marriage certificates at a marriage registration center in Shapingba district, southwest China’s Chongqing municipality, August 7, 2019. Photo by Sun Kaifang / People’s Daily Online

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