Strengthening people's rights: China enters new era with civil code

BEIJING, May 28, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- A news report by on China's newly enacted civil code:

On May 28th, China's first civil code was enacted at the annual session of the National People's Congress. It is the first legislative package called a "code" since the founding of the People's Republic of China, and is of great significance.

Since 1980, China has successively promulgated a spectrum of separate laws including the Marriage Law, Adoption Law, Contracts Law, and Property Law, which have long-served as the basis for judicial practice in civil cases.

Now, China has codified a unified, internally consistent and more comprehensive civil code based on these separate civil laws, aimed at providing an "encyclopedia on social life" and "encyclopedia of rights." It stipulates how civil rights are exercised and protected, providing China with a complete code of conduct in the civil life.

Consisting of 1,260 articles in seven parts, China's civil code includes almost every aspect closely related to people's lives, such as sexual harassment, environmental pollution, protection of privacy rights and image rights in an era when artificial intelligence is rapidly advancing. Some of the code's articles are quite distinctive.

For instance, the term "dignity of life" is introduced in the code. With this provision, every person can maintain their dignity of life and death, such as writing a living will, accepting hospice care, and giving up degrading and painful treatment. These aspects are absent in many other countries' civil codes. Another example is the inclusion of "peace of private life" within privacy rights, which protects people's private lives from illegal intrusion through activities such as peeping, eavesdropping and spam emails.

One of the highlights in China's civil code is the dedicated section for personality rights, emphasizing the respect and protection of personal dignity, and the spirit of humanism. This reflects the wisdom of China's judicial practice over the past few decades, and will undoubtedly increase the protection of ordinary Chinese people's rights. Only in this way can China have a firmer foundation for advancing the rule of law.

With the enactment of the civil code, the civil actors across the whole of society will be incorporated into the system of civil law. In turn, China will usher in a new era of state governance and civil legal protection.

China Mosaic

Strengthening people's rights: China enters new era with civil code

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