Adopted at the 5th Meeting of the Standing Committee of the Ninth National People's Congress on November 4, 1998 and promulgated by Order No. 9 of the President of the People's Republic of China on November 4, 1998
Article 1 This Law is enacted in accordance with the Constitution with a view to ensuring self-government by the villagers in the countryside, who will administer their own affairs according to law, developing democracy at the grassroots level in the countryside, and promoting the building of a socialist countryside which is materially and ethically advanced.
Article 2 The villagers committee is the primary mass organization of self-government, in which the villagers manage their own affairs, educate themselves and serve their own needs and in which election is conducted, decision adopted, administration maintained and supervision exercised by democratic means.
The villagers committee shall manage the public affairs and public welfare undertakings of the village, mediate disputes among the villagers, help maintain public order, and convey the villagers' opinions and demands and make suggestions to the people's government.
Article 3 The primary organization of the Communist Party of China in the countryside shall carry out its work in accordance with the Constitution of the Communist Party of China, playing its role as a leading nucleus; and, in accordance with the Constitution and laws, support the villagers and ensure that they carry out self-government activities and exercise their democratic rights directly.
Article 4 The people's government of a township, a nationality township or a town shall guide, support and help the villagers committees in their work, but may not interfere with the affairs that lawfully fall within the scope of the villagers self-government.
The villagers committees, on their part, shall assist the said people's government in its work.
Article 5 The villagers committee shall support the villagers and assist them in their efforts to set up various forms of co-operative and other economic undertakings in accordance with law, provide services and coordination for production in the village, and promote the development of rural production and construction and the socialist market economy.
The villagers committee shall respect the decision-making power of the collective economic organizations in conducting their economic activities independently according to law, safeguard the dual operation system characterized by the combination of centralized operation with decentralized operation on the basis of operation by households under a contract, and ensure the lawful property right and other lawful rights and interests of the collective economic organizations, villagers, households operating under a contract, associated households, and partnerships.
The villagers committee shall, in accordance with the provisions of laws, administer the affairs concerning the land and other property owned collectively by the peasants of the village and disseminate knowledge among the villagers about rational utilization of the natural resources and protection and improvement of the ecological environment.
Article 6 The villagers committee shall publicize the Constitution, laws, regulations and State policies among the villagers; help them understand the importance of performing their obligation as proscribed by law and cherishing public property and encourage them to do so; safeguard the villagers' lawful rights and interests; develop culture and education, and disseminate scientific and technological knowledge among the villagers; promote unity and mutual assistance between villages; and carry out various forms of activities for the building of advanced socialist ethics.
Article 7 In a village where people from more than one ethnic group live, the villagers committee shall help the villagers understand the importance of enhancing unity, mutual respect and mutual assistance among the ethnic groups and give them guidance in this respect.
Article 8 The villagers committee shall be established on the basis of the residential areas of the villagers and the size of the population and on the principle of facilitating self-government by the masses.
The establishment or dissolution of a villagers committee or a readjustment in the area governed by it shall be proposed by the people's government of a township, a nationality township or a town and submitted to a people's government at the county level for approval after it is discussed and agreed to by a villagers assembly.
Article 9 A villagers committee shall be composed of three to seven members, including the chairman, the vice-chairman(vice-chairmen) and the members.
The members of a villagers committee shall include an appropriate number of women. In a village where people from more than one ethnic group live, they shall include a member or members from the ethnic group or groups with a smaller population.
Members of a villagers committee shall not be divorced from production but may be provided with appropriate subsidies, where necessary.
Article 10 A villagers committee may, on the basis of the residential areas of the villagers, establish a number of villagers groups, the leaders of which shall be elected at the meetings of the groups.
Article 11 The chairman, vice-chairman (vice-chairmen) and members of a villagers committee shall be elected directly by the villagers. No organization or individual may designate, appoint or replace any member of a villagers committee.
The term of office for a villagers committee is three years; a new committee shall be elected at the expiration of the three years without delay. Members of a villagers committee may continue to hold office when reelected.
Article 12 Any villager who has reached the age of 18 shall have the right to elect and stand for election, regardless of his ethnic status, race, sex, occupation, family background, religious belief, education, property status and length of residence, with the exception of persons who have been deprived of political rights in accordance with law.
The name list of the villagers who have the right to elect and stand for election shall be made public 20 days prior to the date of election.
Article 13 Election of a villagers committee shall be presided over by a villagers electoral committee. Members of the electoral committee shall be elected by a villagers assembly or by all the villagers groups.
Article 14 For election of a villagers committee, the villagers who have the right to elect in the village shall nominate candidates directly. The number of candidates shall be greater than the number of persons to be elected.
The election of a villagers committee shall be valid if more than half of the villagers who have the right to elect cast their votes; a candidate shall be elected only if he wins more than half of the votes cast by the villagers.
The election shall be by secret ballot and open vote-counting; the outcome of the election shall be announced on the spot. During election, booths shall be installed for voters to write their ballots in private.
Specific electoral measures shall be prescribed by the standing committees of the people's congresses of provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government.
Article 15 If a person, by threatening, bribing, forging ballots or other illegitimate means, interferes with the villagers in the exercise of their rights to elect and to stand for election, thus disrupting the election of a villagers committee, the villagers shall have the right to report against him to the people's congress, the people's government of the township, nationality township or town, or to the standing committee of the people's congress and the people's government at the county level or the competent department under the latter, which shall be responsible for investigating the matter and handling it in accordance with law. If a person is elected by threatening, bribing, forging ballots or other illegitimate means, his election shall be invalid.
Article 16 A group of at least one-fifth of the villagers who have the right to elect in the village may propose the removal from office of members of the villagers committee. In the proposal, the reasons for the removal shall be stated. The member of the villagers committee proposed to be removed from office shall have the right to present a statement in his own defence. The villagers committee shall convene a villagers assembly without delay, at which the proposal for the removal shall be voted. The removal from office of a member of the villagers committee shall be adopted by a simple majority vote of the villagers who have the right to elect.
Article 17 A villagers assembly shall be composed of villagers at or above the age of 18 in a village.
The villagers assembly shall be convened with a simple majority participation of the villagers at or above the age of 18 or with the participation of the representatives from at least two-thirds of the households in the village, and every decision shall be adopted by a simple majority vote of the villagers present. When necessary, representatives of the enterprises, institutions and mass organizations located in the village may be invited to attend the villagers assembly without the right to vote.
Article 18 The villagers committee shall be responsible to the villagers assembly and report on its work to the latter. The villagers assembly shall deliberate on the work report of the villagers committee every year and appraise the performance of its members.
The villagers assembly shall be convened by the villagers committee. When proposed by one-tenth of the villagers, the villagers assembly shall be convened.
Article 19 When the following matters that involve the interests of the villagers arise, the villagers committee shall refer them to the villagers assembly for decision through discussion before dealing with them:
(1) measures for pooling funds for the township, and the percentage of the funds raised by the village to be retained and used by it;
(2) the number of persons who enjoy subsidies for work delayed and the rates for such subsidies;
(3) use of the profits gained by the collective economic organizations of the village;
(4) proposals for raising funds for running schools, building roads and managing other public welfare undertakings in the village;
(5) decision on projects to be launched by the collective economic organizations of the village and the contracts proposed for the projects as well as contracts proposed for building public welfare undertakings in the village;
(6) villagers' proposals for operation under a contract;
(7) proposals for the use of house sites; and
(8) other matters that involve the interests of the villagers and on which the villagers assembly considers it necessary to make decisions through discussion.
Article 20 A villagers assembly may formulate and revise the villagers charter of
self-government, rules and regulations for the village and villagers pledges, and submit them to the people's government of the township, nationality township or town for the record.
No villagers charter of self-government, rules and regulations for the village, villagers pledges or matters decided through discussion by a villagers assembly or by representatives of villagers may contravene the Constitution, laws, regulations, or State policies, or contain such contents as infringing upon villagers' rights of the person, their democratic rights or lawful property rights.
Article 21 In a village with a larger population or with the inhabitants scattered here and there, villagers representatives may be elected, and the villagers committee shall convene a meeting of the villagers representatives to decide on matters through discussion with the authorization of the villagers assembly. One villagers representative shall be elected by every five to fifteen households, or a certain number of villagers representatives shall be elected by all the villagers groups.
Article 22 The villagers committee shall apply the system of open administration of village affairs.
The villagers committee shall accept supervision by the villagers through publicizing the following matters without delay, of which the matters involving financial affairs shall be publicized every six months at least:
(1) matters decided on through discussion by the villagers assembly as provided for in Article 19 of this Law, and implementation of the decisions;
(2) plans for implementing the State policy for family planning;
(3) handing out of relief funds and goods; and
(4) collection of charges for the supply of water and electricity, and other matters that involve the interests of the villagers and that all the villagers are concerned about.
The villagers committee shall guarantee the truthfulness of what is publicized and subject itself to inquiry by the villagers.
Where a villagers committee fails to publicize the matters as is required to without delay or if the matters it publicizes are not true to facts, the villagers shall have the right to report the matter to the people's government of the township, nationality township or town or the people's government at the county level and the competent departments under it, which shall be responsible for investigation and verification and order that the matters be publicized; where unlawful acts are verified through investigation, the members concerned shall bear the responsibility according to law.
Article 23 The villagers committee and its members shall observe the Constitution, laws, regulations and State policies, and they shall be impartial in handling affairs, honest in performing their duties and warmhearted in serving the villagers.
Article 24 In making decisions, a villagers committee shall apply the principle whereby the minority is subordinate to the majority.
In its work the villagers committee shall adhere to the mass line, give full play to democracy, carefully heed dissenting opinions, and unremittingly exercise persuasion; it may not resort to coercion, commandism or retaliation.
Article 25 A villagers committee shall, when necessary, establish sub-committees for people's mediation, public security, public health, etc. Members of the villagers committee may concurrently be members of the sub-committees. The villagers committee of a village with a small population may dispense with the sub-committees; instead, members of the villagers committee shall have a division of responsibilities with respect to people's mediation, public security, public health, etc.
Article 26 A villagers committee shall assist the relevant departments in giving ideological education and help to and exercising supervision over the villagers who have been deprived of political rights in accordance with law.
Article 27 Members of government departments, public organizations, units of the armed forces, and enterprises and institutions owned by the whole people, who are located in the countryside, shall not join organizations of the villagers committees; members of collectively-owned entities that are not run by the villages may choose not to join the organizations of the villagers committees. However, all of them shall abide by the rules and regulations for the villages and the villagers pledges related to them. When the villagers committees, villagers assemblies or villagers representatives of the villages, where these units are located, discuss and deal with problems related to the units, they shall solve the problems through consultation with them.
Article 28 The local people's congresses at all levels and the standing committees of the local people's congresses at or above the county level shall see that this Law is implemented within their administrative regions and guarantee that the villagers exercise their right of self-government in accordance with law.
Article 29 The standing committees of the people's congresses of provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government may, in accordance with this Law and in light of the conditions in their own administrative regions, formulate measures for the implementation of this Law.
Article 30 This Law shall go into effect as of the date of promulgation. The Organic Law of the Villagers Committees of the People's Republic of China (for Trial Implementation) shall be annulled at the same time.