China's top legislature, the National People's Congress (NPC), adopted a landmark property law here Friday morning, granting equal protection to public and private properties.
It only took less than a minute for the nearly 3,000 NPC lawmakers to pass the much-revised bill, which had gone through a lengthy legislation process of more than 13 years and a record seven readings, by an overwhelming majority as the NPC concluded its annual full session in the Great Hall of the People in downtown Beijing.
The lawmakers applauded warmly after NPC Standing Committee Chairman Wu Bangguo announced the voting results. A total of 2,799 lawmakers voted for the law and 52 against. Thirty-seven abstained and one didn't cast vote.
The 247-article law, which is due to come into effect as of Oct. 1, 2007, stipulates that "the property of the state, the collective, the individual and other obligees is protected by law, and no units or individuals may infringe upon it".
This is the first time that equal protection to state and private properties has been enshrined in a Chinese law, which analysts say marks a significant step in the country's efforts to further economic reforms and boost social harmony.
China's state and private properties once suffered from serious violations due to a lack of respect for and protection of property rights.
"The significance of the law's adoption lies in the fact that it helps complete China's property rights system," commented Jiang Ping, former president of the Chinese University of Politic Science and Law.
"Only when people's lawful property is well protected could they have the enthusiasm to create more wealth and could China maintain its economic development," said Jiang, a scholar involved in the early drafting of the law.
The concept of improving the protection of private property was first brought up at the 16th National Congress of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) held in November 2002. In March 2004, the NPC adopted a major amendment to the Chinese Constitution, stating that people's lawful private property is inviolable.
The draft of the property law was first submitted to the NPC Standing Committee in 2002 and had been reviewed for an unprecedented seven times before it finally reached this year's parliament session for final approval.
(Xinhua News Agency March 16, 2007)