Chinese People Have Enhanced Legal Awareness

Zhang Zhongli, an octogenarian deputy to the National People's Congress (NPC), is known for his enthusiasm in making investigations and putting forward proposals to the national legislature. This time, his proposal to the current NPC session has once again attracted much attention.

"I have raised bills every year and all of them have come from the people," said Zhang, a former director of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences. "In recent years, with an enhanced legal awareness, people have had louder calls for enacting various kinds of laws and that is why most of my proposals relate to law making. "

During the ongoing Fourth Session of the Ninth NPC, a total of 1,040 motions have been submitted by legislators, 80 percent of them requiring legislation on various aspects of social life.

Many of the proposals raised by NPC deputies during last year's third session have been accepted by the NPC Standing Committee. Some of the proposed laws and resolutions have been adopted, while some others have been drafted.

At the current session, more motions have come from deputies representing farmers and workers.

Wang Guangping, a farmer from Anhui Province, east China, is one of the deputies proposing to enact a law on investment for compulsory education. Wang explained that township governments are not capable of supporting compulsory education financially, resulting in delays of salary payment for teachers and making it difficult for rural students to have schooling. "Before I left home for Beijing, my fellow villagers told me time and again that I must raise the motion," he said.

Wang Huaqing, a female deputy and street sweeper from Tianjin, north China, proposed designating a "Cleaners' Day" in China.

Nowadays, ordinary Chinese have developed a greater legal awareness and, as a result, an increasing number of them are seeking to resolve problems and protect their legitimate rights and interests through law, said Wang Jiafu, a law expert with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

So far, the NPC and its standing committee have enacted over 390 laws and law-related decisions; the State Council promulgated more than 800 administrative regulations; and local legislatures enacted more than 8,000 local laws and regulations.

The expert stressed that people's great hope for law is of great importance to safeguarding the authoritativeness of law and law enforcement.

(Xinhua 03/14/2001)