Resolving party officials' status may be difficult, experts say A draft law recognising Communist Party officials as civil servants, ending a decade-old argument over the issue, may create a new legal grey area, experts say. The legislation might cause confusion among party members, who are subject to party regulations, a scholar from the China University of Politics and Law said. Professor Liu Junsheng said the legislation would cover most party officials, from state leaders to grassroots party organisation staff, with the exception of those in state-owned enterprises and institutions. 'Party officials will be subject to two completely different set of rules: one is the legislation and the other is the party's constitution and internal regulations,' he said. Professor Liu said an urgent task would be to co-ordinate the new law and previous party regulations, likely to contradict each other over appointments and promotions. He questioned an attempt to bring judges and prosecutors under the jurisdiction of the draft law. 'The draft says civil servants shall not oppose decisions and orders by their superiors. But judges do not have such an obligation according to the current law on judges,' Professor Liu said. 'It is an obvious contradiction which seems to have been overlooked.' His concerns were shared by a senior legal scholar from Peking University. 'It is unnecessary to define all those who are on government payrolls as civil servants,' Jiang Mingan said. 'It may be viewed by some as a step forward in strengthening the legal system, but in my view it could be a backward step, especially the proposal of applying the law to judges and prosecutors. 'About 70 to 80 per cent of the content of the civil service law is not applicable to judges. The move will not be conducive to [the promotion of] the professionalism, independence and impartiality of the judicial system.' Professor Jiang participated in the drafting of the current regulation on civil servants adopted in 1993. The draft law is being examined by the National People's Congress Standing Committee at a session scheduled to close today.