MEMBERS of the National People's Congress (NPC) have indirectly criticised Beijing's handling of the June 4, 1989, crisis by saying extra care should be taken to protect citizens' rights in a state of emergency. The Standing Committee of the NPC has continued debate on draft legislation on martial law, tabled last Wednesday. The Chinese media yesterday quoted unnamed NPC members as saying China's first legislation on martial law had to spell out the frame of reference and powers of martial law personnel as well as the 'rights and duties' of citizens living under it. Other deputies said there must be stringent supervision of police or soldiers enforcing martial law. 'We must ensure that martial law officers strictly implement powers given them by the law,' the official Legal Daily quoted them as saying. There were also calls for differentiation between turmoil, riots and disturbances, which is not included in the draft. 'Utmost care should be exercised in implementing martial law,' an NPC member told the Legal Daily. 'It should only be declared when social law and order cannot be maintained by normal means.' Other Chinese newspapers yesterday reported discussion of the martial law bill, which was taking place among small groups of legislators, had been hectic. The draft legislation is expected to be amended before it is put to a vote tomorrow. Sources close to the NPC said individual deputies had taken advantage of the debate to criticise Beijing's handling of the 1989 pro-democracy movement. In May and June 1989, there were no laws or regulations supervising the Martial Law Command, which reported only to senior members of the Central Military Commission, including Deng Xiaoping and then commission vice-chairman Yang Shangkun. NPC law drafters revealed last week that a group of legislators had, after June 1989, discussed with regional cadres and military officers the lessons to be drawn from the imposition of martial law in Beijing that year. The draft already carries measures against possible abuse of power such as the stipulation that 'martial law personnel should as far as possible avoid using weapons'. The NPC sources said leaders associated with the declaration of martial law in 1989, including premier Li Peng, did not welcome open discussion of the draft legislation. They said it was 'not a coincidence' that the top members of the NPC, Chairman Qiao Shi and Vice-Chairman Tian Jiyun, had expressed reservations about the armed suppression of the 1989 democracy movement. The Politburo earlier decided the issue of the 'reassessment' of the Tiananmen Square incident should be shelved indefinitely.