Enactment of Legal Assistance Law Proposed

A lawmaker has proposed to the National People's Congress (NPC) that the Legal Assistance Law be enacted promptly to improve the legal assistance system.

Wei Yuerong, a NPC deputy, said the new law should state in explicit terms that governments at all levels shall provide an organizational and financial guarantee for the enforcement of the legal assistance system.

The law should contain articles on coordinating the relations between courts and aid assistance agencies, said Wei, a doctor with the Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital in Guiping, the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

At the end of 2000, China had 1,912 legal assistance agencies and the cases handled via legal assistance have been on the increase year by year, she said.

It is through legal assistance that many poor, sick and handicapped people have safeguarded their own legitimate rights and interests.

She said, "The legal assistance system is an important legal system to ensure that citizens enjoy equal and impartial legal protection, improve the social security system, and perfect the human rights guarantee mechanism."

The principle on equal legal assistance to all citizens can be implemented to the letter only after the NPC formulates a law on legal assistance, she noted.

(Xinhua 03/14/2001)