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Law Must Be Duly Enforced
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The anti-monopoly law should grant its enforcement organization a clear status, says a commentary in Southern Metropolis Daily. An excerpt follows:

The National People's Congress began its first hearing on the draft anti-monopoly law on Saturday.

Special attention is being paid to two aspects of the draft law whether administrative monopolies will be clearly stipulated and what measures will actually be taken to fight monopolies.

Comparatively speaking, the latter is more important because the enforcement system is vital to the effectiveness of the legislation.

According to the current draft, an anti-monopoly committee will be established to co-ordinate the work of different departments, while anti-monopoly work will be enforced by an organization under the State Council.

However, the draft says nothing about the legal relationship between the two. The draft also fails to clarify other issues, such as who will lead the organization, whether it will have any subdivisions, and how much power it will actually have.

If the law is unable to define its characteristics, powers, framework and relationship with other departments, then the work of this organization will face many difficulties.

More importantly, the law should offer a clearer definition of the relationship between this organization and enterprises.

It is understood that the anti-monopoly law did not appear earlier due to disagreements between different interest groups. Every department has the natural impulse to expand its power. Legislation should deal with this problem.

The aim of legislation is to solve problems. And the legislative process should find the best way to solve these problems. That is the only way the law can be enforceable.

The drafting of China's anti-monopoly law is mainly a process of public debate about establishing an anti-monopoly system in the country.

The drafting and review of this law should solve any existing problems related to the nature of monopolies and how the organization will function.

Therefore, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress should find a clear and convincing solution to these issues through public hearings and communicating with administrative departments.

It is our hope that this legislative process will help establish a rational and effective anti-monopoly system in China.

(China Daily June 28, 2006)

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