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Laws Revised on Protection of Heritage, Environment
A revised law to boost protection of the nation's ancient heritage received the nod from lawmakers yesterday after four rounds of protracted debate.

Towns, villages and streets of significant historical importance were saved from the threat of destruction by the amended Law on Cultural Relics Protection.

It was passed by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislative body, which also approved the Law on Evaluation of Environmental Protection.

The revision process on the cultural relics protection law involved soliciting opinions from the public, legislators and relevant government departments, said top legislator Li Peng yesterday when the 30th session of the committee closed.

The old law, which was adopted in 1982, has seen little changes since then. But problems have surfaced regarding the protection of cultural relics.

In order to avoid the loss of museum relics and stop rampant excavation and smuggling of relics, the amendment also stresses enhanced management of museums and private collections.

The amendment states that individuals, legal persons or private organizations can obtain cultural relics through inheritance, bestowal, purchase from an antique shop or auction.

But they are forbidden to trade on excavated cultural relics or those in museum collections without approval from a legitimate source.

The new amendment to the law on environmental impact assessments enables China to examine its development projects more closely to prevent pollution and achieve sustainable development.

The law will provide powerful legal support to improve environmental protection in China, said Li in his closing remarks.

The legislation demands that administrative bodies make an environmental impact assessment of their land use, city planning, and regional construction and exploitation programs.

They must also assess the impact on the environment of all plans relating to agriculture, energy, forestry, manufacturing, tourism, transport, water resources, and the exploitation of natural resources.

The legislative committee of the NPC drafted a law on Evaluation of Environmental Impact and submitted it to the congress for deliberation in November 2000.

(China Daily October 29, 2002)

Law Expected to Prevent Environmental Hazards
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