CHINA’S national legislature yesterday passed the General Provisions of the Civil Law, the opening chapter of a civil code planned to be enacted in 2020.
The provisions, which take effect on October 1 this year, were adopted with 2,782 of the 2,838 National People’s Congress deputies present voting in favor.
Compiling a civil code, a decision of the central leadership in 2014, has been deemed as a “must-do” to promote the country’s rule of law and modernize state governance, and as a crucial move in building China into a moderately prosperous society by 2020.
A two-step approach is being adopted and the general provisions, which lays down basic principles for regulating civil activities, is the crucial first step.
The second step, compiling five books that deal with property, contract, tort liability, marriage and inheritance, began late last year and work on the books is to be stepped up.
“With the general provisions, 1.3 billion Chinese will feel more secure and enjoy more equal opportunities and dignity,” said Sun Xianzhong, a national lawmaker and deputy head of the China Civil Law Society.
The general provisions are based on a 1986 version called the General Principles of Civil Law but with clauses revised and new ones added to better handle new conditions arising in China’s development.
Zhang Rongshun, vice chairman of the NPC Standing Committee’s legislative affairs commission, said the new legal document is “in keeping with the times and also forward looking.”