Xi signs presidential decree on Civil Code

Chinese lawmakers Thursday voted to adopt the country's long-expected Civil Code at the third session of the 13th National People's Congress, the top legislature.

Chinese lawmakers yesterday voted to adopt the country’s long-expected Civil Code at the third session of the 13th National People’s Congress, the top legislature.

Chinese President Xi Jinping signed a presidential decree stating that China’s civil code had been adopted by the country’s top legislature. The Civil Code will take effect on January 1, 2021.

In addition to general provisions and supplementary provisions, the Civil Code has six parts on real rights, contracts, personality rights, marriage and family, succession, and tort liabilities.

The personal rights, property rights and other lawful rights and interests of the parties to civil legal relations shall be protected by law and shall not be infringed upon by any organization or individual, reads the Civil Code in its opening chapter.

Lawmakers say that the codification is not about formulating a new civil law but rather systematically incorporating existing civil laws and regulations, modifying and improving them to adapt to new situations while maintaining their consistency.

Securing personality rights

A major innovation of China’s Civil Code, jurists say, is embodied in the personality rights part. While some countries have related law provisions, few have a specific law book in civil code dedicated to protecting personality rights.

The personality rights part covers stipulations on a civil subject’s rights to his or her life, body, health, name, portrait, reputation and privacy, among others. Its shows China has reached a new height in protecting the dignity of people, said Chen Jingying, a national lawmaker and vice president of East China University of Political Science and Law.

The Civil Code is a milestone in developing the socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics, and will greatly boost the modernization of China’s system and capacity for governance, said Wang Yi, dean of the law school at Renmin University of China.

According to data, a total of 1.02 million pieces of advice coming from 425,000 people have been solicited during the compilation process in five years.

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