Advisors Call for Improved Compensation Standard

Chinese legislators and political advisors attending their annual session in Beijing on Wednesday said the judicial administration should take active measures to eliminate discrimination between rural and urban citizens in personal injury compensation cases.

In 2005 three young girls died in a car accident in Chongqing. However the compensation money came the girl who was registered in a rural household received less than half of the compensation her urban counterparts received.

Thousands of rural Chinese have been treated differently when legally claiming compensation for life and health insurance. The current compensation rate is calculated using per capita income and expenditure regardless of place of work, job occupation or annual income. This often creates a large discrepancy between payments made to rural and urban families.

This system has split the claimants into two categories; rural and urban, said Liu Aiping, a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

"An urban citizen who dies in a car accident would be paid 200, 000 yuan on average; by contrast, a rural citizen in the same situation would get only 50,000 yuan. Why is the life of one urban citizen worth two rural citizens?" Liu asked.

"It is not fair to treat people in this way when rural areas have gradually begun to integrate with the city and the household register system has begun to fade out," said CPPCC member Yao Shouzhuo.

Yao also suggested citizens' legal rights must be equally protected regardless of the information on their household register.

Liu also called for new regulations for traffic accident compensation and emergency first aid funding. She also encouraged efforts to treasure and respect equality.

(China Daily March 9, 2006)

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