Tuesday, January 02, 2007

New Year Brings New Laws to China

Pigeons set off at the Tiananmen Square on New Year’s Day

Starting January 1, 61 new laws and regulations, half state laws and half local, took effect throughout the country.

As the New Year began, the Supreme Court took into its hands the final approval of death penalties handed down by lower courts, in an effort to check on wrong cases and the abuse of law in local courts, the People’s Daily reported.

Another new legislation is called Anti Money Laundering Law, requiring in financial institutions the establishment of customer identity reorganization, transaction records and large-amount trade report systems, as well as other regulations to help discover and stop money laundering.

A new law strengthening the surveillance power of People’s Congress is also in place. It defines the supervision role of the standing committee of national and local People’s Congress as to be focused on the government, court and procuratorate. Among other tasks, the standing committee shall make sure it looks into government budget and its implementation.

Besides, according to the new Passport Law, starting 2007, it takes 15 days, down from 30 days, to get a Chinese passport. The government took steps to shorten the procedure mostly due to fast growing population traveling overseas. In 2006, nearly four million Chinese people traveled outside the country, while there were only 100,000 off-shore travelers every year in the early 1980s.

In addition, experts from overseas, either Chinese natives or not, will enjoy better treatment at Chinese custom as their luggage will not be routinely checked and some of their belongings will be waived from custom taxes.
----by Josie Liu

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