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Marriage Law Attracts Public Attention

Seeking public opinion on draft amendments to the existing Marriage Law by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislative body, has met with a warm response, according to the NPC's general office.

The Legislative Affairs Committee of the NPC Standing Committee, which is responsible for collecting views on the draft amendments, had received 3,829 separate comments from the public by Wednesday, the deadline for submission of proposals on revision of the law.

Senior legislators released draft amendments to the current Marriage Law for nationwide public scrutiny and comment on January 11 this year.

The public views submitted to the NPC touch on various aspects of the revision, ranging from the name of the law to possible marital problems that could result from artificial fertilization, committee sources said.

Contributors came from almost all walks of life, including college students, soldiers, farmers, civil servants, judges and retired people.

The committee is busy sorting out these views to work out a new draft for the senior legislators to debate in April during their third round of deliberations, an NPC spokesperson said.

Draft laws or amendments to laws are usually passed by legislators after three readings, according to the Law on Legislative Procedure.

With 52 clauses in six chapters, the draft amendments cover general principles of the law, family relations, divorce, punishment of marriage-related crimes such as domestic violence and a number of other supplementary provisions.

Subjects like bigamy and domestic violence have triggered heated debate since legislators decided to revise the Marriage Law in 1995.

The draft amendments were discussed by senior legislators last October in their preliminary reading.

To encourage a more comprehensive debate, lawmakers organized a plenary meeting to discuss the draft amendments last December in their second round of deliberations.

(China Daily 03/02/2001)

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