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New law protects farmers' interests

CHINA'S top legislature concluded its six-day, bimonthly session yesterday after approving several laws, including one on rural land disputes aiming to ensure rural stability.

President Hu Jintao signed decrees to publish the law on the mediation and arbitration of rural land contract disputes, the revised Law on Statistics and a decision to abolish eight outdated or redundant laws.

The laws must be published before taking effect. The meeting was presided over by Wu Bangguo, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.

The session also adopted a revision to the government's 2008 final accounts, an audit report and a decision to lease land in Guangdong to Macau as a new site for the University of Macau.

Wu said the law on the mediation and arbitration of rural land contract disputes is based on the actual condition of rural areas, gives consideration to the convenience of the broad mass of people, brings into full play the role of mediation and arbitration and specifies measures and procedures that provided a legal basis for settling rural land disputes and ensuring farmers' rights.

"It's also significant in strengthening rural land operation systems, improving land contract relations and promoting rural development and social stability," Wu said.

The revision to the Law on Statistics mainly focused on falsification in statistical work, Wu said, adding the revision improved the law by preventing official interference in statistical work, reinforcing responsibility and enhancing punishment so as to ensure the authenticity and credibility of data.

He said one important item on the agenda of this session was a bill which offers jurisdiction of a part of an island in Guangdong to the Macau Special Administrative Region as a new site for a university.

Lawmakers set out scope of the leased land and the time limit, among others, so as to offer a legal back-up for Macau to assume jurisdiction over the land, he said.

He said the lease would play an important role in supporting Macau to develop education and cultivate talents to promote sound and fast development of the SAR.

Wu said the meeting also deliberated on the central government's final accounts for 2008.

"During the deliberation, members of the NPC Standing Committee agreed with the judgement that this year has been the toughest for the country's economic development since the new century," he said.

Wu said lawmakers had been deeply concerned about the reconstruction of quake-hit areas in Sichuan Province after the region was struck by the 2008 quake and reaffirmed the importance of rebuilding housing and public facilities.


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