The NPC Standing Committee started a five-day sitting yesterday to review a draft bankruptcy law and the results of inspections of the country's rural problems. Jia Zhijie , a vice-chairman of the legislature's Financial and Economic Committee, said the law would apply to all types of businesses and provide 'fair protection for all parties'. China News Service quoted Mr Jia as telling Standing Committee members that protecting the interests of bankrupt companies' employees remained a priority of the new legislation. He said the draft outlined six specific ways to protect employees' interests. For example, the new law states employees of bankrupt firms must be paid before their creditors. It also states employees are allowed to assign representatives to creditors' meetings. 'Employees are direct victims of bankruptcies,' Mr Jia was quoted as saying. 'Some companies have seriously violated the interests of their employees when going bankrupt and that has had a destabilising effect on society.' Xinhua said the Standing Committee members also reviewed reports filed by 12 inspection teams sent by the National People's Congress to study the implementation of the central government's agricultural policies and the financial support provided by the state. Huang Jikun, an agricultural expert of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said policymakers were concerned about the implementation of a law on the management of rural land which details the rights of farmers and how land-use rights may be transferred. On rural financing, Professor Huang said experts had been debating what role the state should play. He said as much as 70 per cent of rural lending to farmers came from unregulated channels, such as relatives and friends. The committee session will also ratify several international agreements.