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Constitutional Amendment Urged for Better Protection of Private Property

The All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce (ACFIC), an influential non-government organization representing the country's industrialists and business people from both the public and non-public sectors, has urged an amendment to the Constitution with regard to a better protection of private property.

The ACFIC has submitted a proposal to the just-opened First Session of the 10th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), China's top advisory body on Monday, asking for a Constitutional amendment so as to "improve the legal system for the protection of private property", the China Business Times newspaper reported Monday.

The proposal suggests that the Chinese Constitution, which now has different specifications concerning the protection of public and private property, be revised to show "an equal treatment" to both types of property.

According to the proposal, the amended Constitution should explicitly state that it represents the citizens' basic right to possess private property and this right is under State protection. Under no circumstance, should any organization or individual be allowed to seize or damage the private property of others.

If the State government, out of concerns for public interests, has to nationalize or commandeer the property of some enterprises and individuals, it must give ample and convincing explanations and make due compensations, says the proposal.

The proposal further notes that without the Constitutional amendment, it would be absolutely impossible to revise other existing laws and step up the protection of private property in China.

This is not the first time for the ACFIC to set forth such a proposal. In China, an amendment to the Constitution has to be deliberated and approved at the once-a-year full session of the National People's Congress, the top legislature.

The proposed agenda for this year's NPC session, or the First Session of the 10th NPC, however, would not include any Constitutional amendment. The impending session, traditionally held concurrently with the annual session of the CPPCC's National Session, is due to begin in Beijing Wednesday.

At its 16th National Congress held in Beijing last November, the leading Communist Party of China (CPC) declared that "all legitimate income, from work or not, should be protected" and pointed to the necessity to "improve the legal system for protecting private property", triggering speculations about a possible Constitutional amendment.

(Xinhua News Agency March 4, 2003)


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