A draft amendment designed to make it easier for citizens to take the government to court has been submitted to China's top legislature.
CRI's Wu Yanping has more.
The draft amendment stresses the courts' duty to ensure citizens' rights to sue authorities and required courts to accept cases involving governments as defendants.
Governmental defendants should respond to the suits according to law.
The amendment says more rights infringement cases should be accepted by the courts.
Hu Jianmiao, is a professor of the National School of Administration.
"The types of case accepted have been enlarged, which is reflected by the expanded defintion of civil rights. The original administrative procedure law is defined as personal right and property right. However this time, 'other legal rights'is added to this definition. That means civil rights are not restricted to personal right and property fight but has been expaned. Moreover another enlargement is that governmnet documents has been included in suing boundary and court can investigated them."
The Administrative Procedure Law, which went into effect in 1990, is a major guarantee of citizens' rights to pursue governments through courts.
The law has once played an important role in solving disputes between governments and the people.
But in recent years, citizens started to complain of "three difficulties" in making a case against a government, including the filing of cases; the hearings of such cases; and enforcement of verdicts which favor citizens.
The amendment says courts shall accept suits of infringement of rural land contracts and management rights, illegal fundraising, unlawful collection or requisition of property, or unfairly apportioned fees.
Citizens may bring cases against governments which fail to provide appropriate subsistence allowances or social insurance benefits.
Xue Gangling, professor of the China University of Political Science and Law, says that the draft amendment prevents government from intervening in cases or obstructing courts.
"In order to avoid administrative interference, management over cross-adiministrative regions, non-subordinate relations between court and local govt,is helpful to judicial fairness. In terms of administration, if there`s something wrong with trail at subordinate court, the case should be submited to superior court or its specified courts. The core value of this change is it can guarantee the indepence and faireness of trail. For the public, faireness is key in lawsuit."
Regarding enforcement of verdicts which favor citizens, Professor Hu Jianmiao says that punishments would be imposed on administrators who refuse to implement the courts' verdicts.
"Regarding the impotent implementaition of judicial decision, I think, this amendment has added two key points concerint this problem. One is public anouncement, the other detention. Given the role of social media in society, the public announcement is quite effective. I believe, only if the court exercise the power of public annoucement and detention, the impotent implementation of administrative procedure will be solved."
This first revision to the Administrative Procedure Law would make it easier for citizens to sue governments and therefore alleviate "petition pressure".
For CRI, I'm Wu Yanping.