New rules aim to improve civil rights

PUBLISHED : Monday, 01 September, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 01 September, 2003, 12:00am

New rules aimed at improving the civil rights of people on the mainland take effect today. They include one that strengthens homeowners' rights and another that standardises legal aid service practices nationwide.

The State Council's property management regulation, which clarifies the rights and responsibilities of developers and property management companies, is intended to bring an end to countless acrimonious disputes over property management services.

The regulation states that developers must stick to the principle of separating property development from property management and choose a property management company through bidding.

There have been many incidents of collusion between developers and management companies, to the detriment of homeowners.

The regulation also gives homeowners' associations the right to switch management companies with a two-thirds majority vote. But lawyers have said that without giving homeowner associations proper legal status, they are still unlikely to have enough power to make administrative decisions.

The guidelines will state clearly the criteria under which aid can and should be provided, doing away with previous inconsistencies in the system, which had been regulated at provincial level.

While lawyers welcomed the new guidelines, they said the biggest challenges faced by the legal aid sector were inadequate funding and a shortage of trained staff.

A regulation is being introduced today on intellectual property, aiming to tackle rampant piracy problems as well as widespread infringement of copyright.

Another will allow the operation of privately funded educational institutions and the joint operation of educational institutions with foreign organisations. Illegal connections to power supplies in Beijing will also be banned, as will older vehicles with high exhaust emission levels on main roads.