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Top legislator promises more democracy in legislation
Latest Updated by 2006-03-09 11:01:18
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NPC & CPPCC Sessions 2006

 GD Provincial People's Congress & CPPCC annual Sessions

Top Chinese lawmaker Wu Bangguo said Thursday that the Standing Committee of the Tenth National People's Congress (NPC) will further promote democracy in its legislation by soliciting more public opinions.

 

"We will continue to publicize law drafts to collect suggestions and hold more public hearings on bills which the public care about or dispute about the most," said Wu, chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, in his annual report on the legislature's work to nearly 3,000 NPC deputies.

 

NPC deputies are particularly keen to take note of Wu's promise at a time when legal experts are engulfed in a battle over the country's first property law still in the making.

 

The draft law, which is designed to provide refined protection of private property, was originally scheduled for approval at this annual session to end on March 14. However, it was scrapped from the agenda just months ahead of the session.

 

Some scholars worry that the draft law may fail to protect state-owned assets by putting indiscriminate stress on private and public ownership.

 

The holdup of property law legislation does not mean that it will be shelved. On the contrary, it is on top of the 25 bills for 2006, according to the chairman's report. Others are related to corporate bankruptcy, supervision, emergency handling, labor contract and the fight against narcotics.

 

The draft property law was made public last year to seek public comments and suggestions. The draft has so far attracted more than 11,500 letters.

 

After reviewing various proposals for modification, the legislature summed up 10 major questions for discussion, one of which involved the protection of state-owned assets reportedly raised by Gong Xiantian, a law professor with the Beijing University. He said in a letter earlier this year that such a law would "undermine the legal foundation of China's socialist economy. "

 

"That version puts state-owned property and private property under indiscriminate protection," Gong said. "This means that people who become rich by preying on state-owned assets and taking bribes could be shielded from prosecution."

 

"Such a law would pose a serious violation against China's Constitution which stipulates that socialist public property is deemed sacrosanct and shall be free from encroachment," he said.

 

Gong's letter created an immediate uproar in the legal and economic circles. Two high-profile seminars were held in Beijing in February to counter his accusations. However, there are many who agree that more effective measures should be available in the law to protect public assets as well as private property.

 

In this regard, Chairman Wu said that relevant organs "are making further revisions to the draft property law on the basis of various views and suggestions."

 

"It will be submitted to the legislature for review when the conditions are ready," he said.

 

Source: Xinhuaain sparked protests, according to the record.

 

"Police abuse is also very common in the United States," the report notes.

 

It quotes a report of the Los Angeles Times on July 14, 2005 as saying that Los Angeles police shot dead the 19-month-old daughter of a suspect when trying to arrest the suspect, which triggered public outcry.

 

And according to an AP story, on Oct. 9, five New Orleans police officers battered a 64-year-old retired teacher on the street while trying to arrest him, and he suffered injuries.

 

As the prisons in the U.S. were packed, the situation of prisoners worsened, according to the record.

 

During Hurricane Katrina, between Aug. 29 and Sept. 1, 2005, correctional officers from the New Orleans Sheriff's Department abandoned 600 inmates in a prison, as many were immersed in chest and neck level water and left without food, water, electricity, fresh air, or functioning facilities for four days and nights.

 

"The United States has always boasted itself as the 'model of democracy' and hawked its mode of democracy to the rest of the world. In fact, American 'democracy' is always one for the wealthy and a 'game for the rich'," says the report.

 

During the mayoral election of New York City in November 2005, billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg spent 77.89 million U.S. dollars of his fortune for re-election. That came to more than 100 U.S. dollars per vote.

 

The election was termed by the Associated Press as the most expensive mayoral re-election in history.

 

The United States is the world's richest country, however, it maintains the highest poverty rate among developed countries.

 

A study of eight advanced countries by the London School of Economics in 2005 found that the United States had the worst social inequality.

 

The poverty rate of the United States is the highest in the developed world and more than twice as high as in most other industrialized countries, the record quotes a report of Newsweek magazine as saying.

 

The United States is a multi-ethnic nation of immigrants, with minority ethnic groups accounting for more than one-fourth of its population. But racial discrimination has long been a chronic malady of American society, says the record.

 

According to The State of Black America 2005, the income level of African American families is only one-tenth of that of white families, and the welfare enjoyed by black Americans is only three-fourth of their white counterparts.

 

The United States does not have a good record in safeguarding rights of women and children, says the document.

 

A survey by the U.S. Census Bureau said the median earnings of women and men in 2004 were 31,223 and 40,798 U.S. dollars, respectively. The female-to-male earnings ratio was 77 percent.

 

In terms of the child poverty index, the United States ranked next to the last among 22 developed nations in the world.

 

"Pursuing unilateralism on the international arena, the U.S. government grossly violates the sovereignty and human rights of other countries in contempt of universally-recognized international norms," the report notes.

 

The U.S. government frequently commits wanton slaughters of innocents in its war efforts and military operations in other countries, it says.

 

The USA Today newspaper on Dec. 13, 2005 quoted a 2004 study published in the medical journal The Lancet as saying that it was estimated that about 100,000 Iraqis, mostly women and children, had died in the Iraqi war launched by the U.S. government in 2003.

 

In 2005, news of prisoner abuse by the U.S. forces again hit headlines, following their 2004 prisoner abuse scandal that stunned the world.

 

The record quotes media reports as saying that to extract information, the U.S. forces in Iraq employed various kinds of torture in their interrogations.

 

They abused the Iraqi detainees systematically, including sleep deprivation, tying them to the wall, hitting them with baseball bats, denying their access to water and food, forcing them to listen to extremely loud music in completely dark places for days running, unleashing dogs to bite them for amusement and even scaring them by putting them in the same cage with lions.

 

"For years, the U.S. government has ignored and concealed deliberately serious violations of human rights in its own country for fear of criticism, "says the report.

 

Yet it has issued annual reports making unwarranted charges on human rights practices of other countries, an act that fully exposes its hypocrisy and double standard on human rights issues, which has naturally met with strong resistance and opposition from other countries, the record notes.

 

"We urge the U.S. government to look squarely at its own human rights problems, reflect what it has done in the human rights field and take concrete measures to improve its own human rights status," it says.

 

"The U.S. government should stop provoking international confrontation on the issue of human rights, and make a fresh start to contribute more to international human rights cooperation and to the healthy development of international human rights cause," the report concludes.

 

Editor: Yan

By: Source: People's Daily website
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