NPC discusses amendments to litigation, espionage laws

China’s top legislature has started a six-day meeting in Beijing to discuss revisions to key laws and regulations. High on the agenda for the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress are two important legal amendments: one to the Administrative Procedure Law, allowing private suits against the government and a draft Counter-espionage Law.

Giving people legal recourse if their rights are infringed...

The amendment to the Administrative Procedure Law expands people’s right to sue the government if authorities fail to fulfill contracts on land issues.

The draft amendment has been submitted for a third reading.

"After two deliberations on the draft amendment, we think it’s necessary to expand some of its terms. The third draft amendment aims to streamline administrative litigation procedures in order to make it easier for people to file lawsuits against the government," said Qiao Xiaoyang, director of Law Committee, NPC Standing Committee.

According to the draft, courts will launch administrative proceedings if the government is sued for violating agreements on land and house compensation... or commercial operations franchised by the government.

But this is just one of the many laws the top legislature is working on. Equally important is a draft Counter-espionage Law.

Formerly known as the National Security Law, the draft is expected to define what constitutes acts of espionage.

"It’s necessary to transform the current National Security Law into the Counterespionage Law in order to build a comprehensive state security law. According to the draft, counter-espionage will work according to the law, respect and ensure human rights, and guarantee the legal interests of citizens and organizations," said Sun Baoshu, deputy director of Law Committee, NPC Standing Committee.