China's first legislation on family planning and population was enacted by the 25th session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), which concluded Saturday.
The law, to be enforced from September 1 of next year, is to continue the current government policy on birth control and family planning as it has proved effective.
The law stipulates that the country encourages a couple to bear one child, and they can have a second child if their circumstances meet the provisions.
The detailed provisions on family planning for China's ethnic minorities should be made by provincial, municipal and autonomous regional people's congresses or their standing committees, the legislation says.
In his closing speech, NPC Standing Committee Chairman Li Peng said facts have proven that the family planning policy has played a vital role in promoting economic development and social progress and improvement of people's living standards in China.
"It is known to all that such a policy is a huge success and it has become a voluntary action for the general public to carry out such a policy," he said.
He said publicity campaigns should be carried out to spread awareness of this document to let "all families know its contents."
The provincial-level legislatures were urged to revise their current local regulations and promulgate detailed provisions for implementation.
During the meeting, the legislature also adopted the Third Amendment to Criminal Law and NPC's decision to revise the law on lawyers. The former aims to tighten the strike against terrorist crimes. The lawyer's law revision contains an added clause that a lawyer must have earned a diploma from a four-year university.
The meeting decided that the 5th session of the Ninth NPC will be held on March 5 of next year.
The legislature also agreed to appoint Wang Guangtao as minister of construction.
(Xinhua News Agency December 30, 2001)