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Cover Stories Series 2015> Upholding Justice> In-Depth
UPDATED: March 30, 2015 NO. 14, APRIL 2, 2015
A Law for the Law
The legal system gets a new suit of armor
By Yin Pumin

It is considered an attempt by the national legislature's attempt to prevent the executive branch from churning out inappropriate rules or policies.

In recent years, for the sake of economic development and social management, local governments enacted rules and policies that aroused concerns of abusing the administrative power.

In anticipation of easing traffic jams and reducing air pollution, the Beijing Municipal Government banned residents from buying cars without new car registration licenses given out during a bi-monthly lottery. Each private car in Beijing is required to stay off the roads during particular hours of one working day each week. The particular day is decided according to the car's license plate. Some other cities have followed suit.

Wang Lei, a professor with the Law School of Peking University, suggest buying cars is a basic civil right and an abrupt limit of this right without soliciting public opinion hurts people's rights as well the government's credibility.

Meanwhile, a number of cities also adopted restrictive measures on residents purchasing real estate properties, hoping to squeeze out speculation in the housing market.

Liang said that he believes the executive branch would be more cautious of rules to be issued in the future.

"This provision will be a warning against undue administrative rules," Liang said.

Ying with China University of Political Science and Law noted that it is an effort to stress the legitimacy of government rules and push the government to legally exercise their power.

In the revised law, a few provisions are about enhancing the top legislature's duty of examining whether all government regulatory documents are in line with the Constitution and law.

It clarifies that the NPC departments may review government regulations and local laws without being requested. If a citizen or organization requests the review, the top legislature may present the feedback and publicize the result.

"If the NPC plays a better role in carrying out the legitimacy review, the government will be under stricter scrutiny," Ying said.

The law, nevertheless, allows local governments to issue temporary rules only if in emergency. Such temporary rules will turn invalid in two years unless local legislatures pass laws to support them.

Copyedited by Kieran Pringle

Comments to yinpumin@bjreview.com

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