CHINA might copy economic legislation from capitalist countries to speed up the establishment of a legal framework for the socialist market economy, the Hong Kong China News Agency (HKCNA) quoted Tian Jiyun as saying. Mr Tian, a Vice-Chairman of the National People's Congress (NPC), said the ''transplant'' of economic laws from capitalist economies was a ''shortcut'' to drafting legislation for a market economy in China. He said China should not and did not have to ''start everything from the beginning''. ''We can entirely transplant the laws of other countries which have capitalist economies and meet China's practical conditions. ''The mutual absorption and sharing of experience in the formulation of laws has become a common practice around the world,'' he said. The Chinese national parliament planned to pass 152 sets of laws in the next five years to establish a rule of law, he said. The HKCNA said the ''rule of law'' concept was weak in China. ''In the feudal past, the edicts issued by emperors were above the law. Magistrates at local levels have also governed by the rule of man . . . ''But nowadays, some cadres in the mainland often still ignore the law and handle economic and social disputes by administrative orders. Some even abuse their powers or were blinded by personal gain,'' the news agency said. ''This is bound to create obstacles and potential damage to the operation of a market economy,'' it said. The article said thiswas a ''legislative year'' in which more than a dozen important pieces of economic legislation were on the agenda. The bills cover the central bank, commercial bank, foreign trade, futures exchange, labour, share-holding enterprises, insurance and securities. The HKCNA warned that increasing hardship for workers and the soaring cost of living would trigger social conflicts and increase instability while the economic system was in transition. ''If authorities at all levels still disregard the law and turn a blind eye to official malpractice, that is bound to create more unrest.'' The HKCNA said the formulation of laws covering bankruptcy and social protections including unemployment benefits and retirement funds would help prevent instability. The agency said the establishment of a clean administration and the drafting of anti-corruption laws were imperative for penalising violators. The passage last October of unfair-competition laws was also aimed at ensuring that no one would get privileges or a monopoly in the market economy, the HKCNA said.