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China Set to Resolve Urban Property Rights

China's top law makers yesterday began deliberations on two key laws designed to address long-standing problems with property acquisitions and resolve monopoly issues.

Among them, a draft amendment to the law on urban real estate administration would authorize the State Council to detail specific measures for the orderly expropriation of urban houses and apartments.

Forceful evictions of residents for new urban developments have incited protests and have been condemned across the country.

To protect both people's private property rights and the public interest, the country's new property law, to become effective in October, would entitle the government to seize property only in the public interest.

It also stressed that fair compensation must be paid and new homes for displaced residents must be guaranteed.

As existing regulations on urban expropriations by the State Council contradict with the property law and will be nullified, new regulations covering evictions in urban areas must be put in place, Wang Guangdao, minister of construction, told legislators yesterday.

As such, the State Council suggested that the legislature amend the law on urban real estate administration and authorize the State Council to issue new rules, Wang said.

Lawmakers also said the move was the first step taken by the government to revise related laws and regulations to pave the way for the implementation of the property law, which was adopted in March.

The landmark property law aims to grant equal protection to state, collective and private property.

Also yesterday law makers said that China's first anti-monopoly law, which requires foreign purchases of Chinese companies to go through national security checks, is expected to be put to a vote later this month after 13 years of discussion.

The draft law is "mature and ready for adoption," the Law Committee of the National People's Congress told the ongoing session of the NPC Standing Committee yesterday as it submitted the bill for consideration.

"Besides anti-monopoly checks stipulated by this law, foreign mergers and acquisitions of domestic companies or foreign capital investing in domestic companies in other forms should go through national security checks," the draft states.

The bill aims to ensure fair competition, prevent monopolistic behavior and maintain a regulated market place.

Law makers noted that China's socialist market economy has become more mature, and in the current circumstances, the introduction of an anti-monopoly law is imperative.

In addition to the draft real estate and anti-monopoly laws, the weeklong session will also discuss bills covering emergency response, employment promotion and labor dispute arbitration, among other issues.

(Shanghai Daily August 25, 2007)

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