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Legislative Process Aids Democracy
Leading law professors yesterday hailed the Chinese legislative process that has taken on board the wisdom prevailing at grassroots level, especially now that China has entered the World Trade Organization (WTO).

"Efforts by the legislative body to take advantage of the wisdom and efforts of everyone has helped them make better laws," said Wang Liming, a civil law professor of Renmin University of China Law School.

Wang once participated in drafting China's Contract Law and amending the Marriage Law.

The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) - China's top legislative body - received nearly 4,000 public responses last year when they put draft amendments to the Marriage Law out for public consultation.

Those public views submitted to the NPC ranged from the title of the law itself to potential marital problems that could result from acts of artificial insemination.

Contributors emerged from almost all walks of life with ages ranging from 13 to 90.

"Ordinary people are playing an increasingly active role in revising laws because they now realize what a large stake they have in them," Wang said.

"It seems to me that people in both urban and rural areas no longer view the law as a matter only for government departments or legal professors to discuss."

Wang's view was echoed by Yu An, a professor of administrative law with Tsinghua University Law School.

"Public participation has not only helped increase the efficiency of legislation but has also improved grassroots democracy," Yu said.

It has been a basic strategy for the nation and its people to manage State affairs in accordance with the law, said Gu Angran, director of the Legislative Affairs Commission with the NPC Standing Committee.

The NPC and its Standing Committee had endorsed 301 laws, seven pieces of legislative interpretations and 122 decisions concerning legislation by the end of August, according to NPC sources.

Yu said the Legislative Procedure Law, endorsed in 2000, was a milestone in promoting democracy in the legislative process in the nation.

The law on legislative procedure makes clear-cut stipulations to guarantee that people can participate in the legislative process through various channels such as seminars and public hearings.

(China Daily October 31, 2002)

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