Long-awaited legislation will probably end a decade-old argument over whether party officials are civil servants, a university professor says. The introduction of the new law had been expected at the end of last year, but was delayed because of different opinions on the issue, said Mao Shoulong . 'It was shelved because the most critical argument had not been solved yet,' the Renmin University professor said, noting strong opposition to the idea of putting party officials under the supervision of the civil service law. The new legislation has been awaited since a provisional regulation on civil servants was adopted in 1993. Although many cadres are part of the civil service, the law may have to compromise on the issue because government officials - under the current political system - are subject to the supervision of the party leadership. 'It [the new law] will give an explanation on the issue. But given such strong opposition, it looks unlikely to classify party officials as civil servants,' Professor Mao said. He said it was not yet clear if the newly released regulations on cadre management were to be in line with the law and continuing reform of the civil service. His observations were shared by another scholar, Yang Fengchun from Peking University. 'They [the management of party officials and civil service reform] are two closely related issues. Since most government employees, including leading officials, are party members, the issue of managing civil servants is the same as the management of party officials,' Professor Yang said.