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NPC Invites Public's Comments on Draft Employment Law

Public comment has a bigger role in making a major new employment law.

The Standing Committee of the 10th National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, on Sunday made public the full text of the draft employment promotion law, and said that "all suggestions from the public are welcome".

People are encouraged to fully discuss the draft law and mail their suggestions to standing committees of local people's congresses or directly to the NPC Standing Committee before April 25. They may also visit the website to post messages, the notice said.

The practice follows the NPC's promise to further promote democracy in legislation earlier this month.

"We'll solicit opinions as extensively as possible so that the laws we enact fully express the common wishes of the people," Wu Bangguo, chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, said while delivering a work report to the full session of the 10th NPC about two weeks ago.

He said the committee would publish the full text of draft bills and hold more debates and hearings to carry out in-depth deliberations for highly technical or controversial laws.

Before the draft employment promotion law, the 10th NPC also publicized the draft Property Law in 2005 and the draft labor contract law last year.

Official figures show that the first draft received 11,543 letters within 40 days of its publication; and the second received a record of 191,849 suggestions within a month.

All suggestions received full attention from the legislators. For instance, legislators added specific amendments to the Property Law, after some sections of the public argued that the draft law was weak in protecting State assets.

With stipulations on the establishment of a more comprehensive unemployment benefit system, the draft employment promotion law is expected to become another hot topic.

Guo Sikun, a senior student at Nanjing University of Post and Telecommunications, said he was happy that now everyone might have a say in legislation.

"I've read the draft and will visit the NPC website to suggest schools and governments offer college graduates more help in employment," said Guo, who had been looking for jobs for half a year but still failed because of fierce competition.

Official figures show that China's employment situation remained grim. In the next few years, about 24 million people will enter the job market annually, competing for half as many jobs under current economic circumstances.

(China Daily March 27, 2007)

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