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A draft amendment to the existing Administrative Procedure Law, was submitted to China’s top legislature for a first reading on Monday.
The law, which went into effect in October 1990, guarantees citizens’ rights to pursue the government through the courts, and this is the first proposed revision.
Xin Chunying, deputy director of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the National People’ s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee said filing of cases and enforcement of verdicts that favor citizens would be more effectively dealt with if this revision is brought.
Widening economic inequality in China has given rise to public discontent and the new Chinese leadership has vowed to settle for a slower but more sustainable pace of growth.
The new draft amendment stresses the courts’ duty to ensure citizens can take governments to court and underlines the need for courts to accept cases involving governments as defendants.
The amendment means more rights infringement cases should be accepted by the courts.
People’s courts will now accept suits in which administrators have infringed citizen’s legal ownership or right to use over natural resources such as forests, pasture, mineral reserves, mountains and water.
Chinese courts shall also be required to accept suits of infringement of rural land contract and management rights, illegal fundraising, unlawful collection or requisition of property, or unfairly apportioned fees.
Citizens may bring cases against governments which fail to provide appropriate subsistence allowances or social insurance benefits.
Monday’s announcement could pave the way for further reforms in the way Chinese courts work.
More court cases, especially corruption trials, will make increased use of social media, a spokesman for the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) said recently.
“Public supervision via the Internet is now the most important channel to monitor the obstruction of justice,” Sun Jungong.