Chinese legislators have seen the urgency of making the country's law system more compliant with international rules as China is approaching its goal of entering the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The local legislative body of Shanghai, China's economic and financial center, has decided that fundamental law principles of the WTO should be considered and implemented in the process of law making and amendments.
It is believed that one of the key challenges China will encounter in the wake of its WTO entry comes from the existing legal system, in which many articles still contravene the WTO's legal framework.
The Shanghai Municipal People's Congress (MPC) Standing Committee, the local law making body, has initiated research into the possible impact on the local law system after China becomes a WTO member.
"Entering the WTO means China will join a system of international rules, to which China should move closer," said Sun Chao, a legislation professor who is working with the Shanghai MPC.
The Shanghai MPC has used the law-making experience under the well-developed market economy since last year in legislation of market access, intermediary service, competition, supervision and trade, Sun said.
Meanwhile, work is underway to amend or annul existing laws which are inconsistent with international rules and practice.
The laws to be cleared in the coming two years are mainly on issues such as market access, and the protection of laborers and intellectual property rights, Sun said.
The law professor also pointed out the importance of maintaining transparency and fairness in the process of law making, which is also required by the WTO.
"The principle of transparency, fairness and participation should be observed in legislation. We have to take demands from all walks of life into full consideration," he said.
The Shanghai MPC plans to involve more citizens, foreigners and enterprises in the city in the process of local legislation through various ways such as holding legislation hearings, and collecting public opinions on a new law through publishing the draft in mass media.
(China Daily August 18, 2001)