CHINA'S landmark laws on police and education were tabled before Chinese legislators who met in Beijing yesterday for an eight-day session of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee. The Law on the People's Police, the first in China, spells out guidelines on police work practices apparently in an attempt to clampdown on growing corruption within the ranks. Public Security Minister Tao Siju told legislators yesterday that 'this is to prevent them from abusing their power'. He said the law would protect the legitimate rights and duties of police officers and individual citizens and make it easier to maintain law and order. But the China News Service (CNS) said the draft law had delegated more power to China's one million police in 'maintaining social order and stability'. Aside from crime investigation, traffic management and supervision over national computer networks, Chinese police could adopt coercive means against 'suspects and people who endanger social security', according to CNS. Police above township level could also exercise urgent measures in order to restore social order in case of emergency, it said. Mr Tao said the law was vital in safeguarding national security and public order and China's continued efforts to open up and reform. Also tabled for the first time was the Law on Education, according to a dispatch of Xinhua (the New China News Agency) yesterday. Education Minister Zhu Kaixuan was quoted by Xinhua as saying the legislation would provide a legal framework for reforms in China's education system. The 10-chapter, 81-clause draft bill sets directives for basic education institutions, school management, the rights and duties of educators and students, education expenditure, and provisions for proper facilities. It further defines China's nine-year compulsory education, stating that 'guardians of school-age children, relevant societies and individuals were supposed to be certain that children receive compulsory education for certain years as specified by law'. Education in China has been hard hit by a lack of money. Although the nine-year education policy has been enforced since the late 1980s, large numbers of school-age children have had no education whatsoever. Some are kept away from schools to tend the fields. Others are just too poor to attend school. Mr Zhu said the law stipulated that the proportion of state funds for education should increase in line with the growth of state income. It also rules that special funds are to be raised by local governments to help make compulsory education universal in ethnic minority regions and poverty-striken areas. The NPC session will also deliberate bills on prisons, the judiciary, commercial banks and the People's Bank of China. CNS said the Prison Law, which was put forward to the Standing Committee last September, would be passed in the current session.