China adopts General Provisions of the Civil Law

China's national legislature on Wednesday passed the General Provisions of the Civil Law, the opening chapter of a civil code planned to be enacted in 2020. The General Provisions were adopted at the closing meeting of the annual session of the National People's Congress(NPC), with 2,782 of the 2,838 deputies present voting in favor. It takes effect on Oct. 1 this year.

Compiling a civil code, a decision made by 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 has been designed for developing the code. The adoption of the General Provisions, which lays down basic principles for regulating civil activities, marks the crucial first step. The second step, the compiling of five individual books that deal with property, contract, tort liability, marriage and inheritance, started late last year. Work on the books will be stepped up.

The General Provisions are based on a 1986 version, also called the General Principles of Civil Law. Though historically significant, the 1986 General Principles included some outdated provisions. Furthermore, with the promulgation of many separate civil laws over past decades, judges might hand down different verdicts in the same case as they turn to different laws when making judgments. 

To better handle new conditions arising in China's socio-economic development, lawmakers have revised a number of clauses in the 1986 version and added new ones to better protect individuals and organizations.

Click here to read more about the General Provisions of Civil Law.


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