The Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress on Friday adopted a labor contract law.
The law, which will come into effect on Jan. 1, 2008, is expected to improve protection of employees' legal rights following the exposure of forced labor scandals in brick kilns in central and north China.
Officials will face administrative penalties or criminal prosecution for abusing their authority or neglecting their responsibilities that result in serious harm to the interests of workers, according to the law.
Lawmakers lambasted officials involved in the forced labor scandals in north China's Shanxi Province and central China's Henan Province during their deliberation of the draft.
The forced labor scandals made headlines in China this month, sparking outrage among the Chinese public and arousing concern from national leaders. The workers were forced to work long hours without pay in brick kilns, mines and other small industries.
(Xinhua News Agency June 29, 2007)