Details of draft legislation will be made available for public comment National People's Congress chairman Wu Bangguo confirmed yesterday that the much-anticipated food safety law would be included in this year's legislative plan, as food quality remained a source of concern for trading partners and domestic consumers. From fake eggs and toxic fish to adulterated milk powder and pesticide-laden dumplings, food safety has escalated into a major issue in the past few years, prompting the NPC Standing Committee to give the draft food safety law a first reading in December, even though it was not included in the last legislature's five-year plan. The draft law will be made available for public comments, alongside several other people-focused laws chosen to allow a gradual expansion of citizen participation in lawmaking. Mr Wu said in his annual work report yesterday that the country's legislators planned to pore over 20 laws this year, including several controversial laws on the last NPC agenda that have yet to be passed, such as the state-owned assets law and the social security law. The latter, which is designed to give legal support to the mainland's troubled social-security system, also went through its first reading in December. Mr Wu said difficult clauses in the law would be examined through public consultation sessions with experts, following in the footsteps of the Property Law. He said that in the past five years, legislators had deliberated on 106 draft laws and legal interpretations, with 100 of them having been passed. The country's library of law had now grown to 229 laws, 600 State Council regulations, and 7,000 regional laws and regulations, covering all areas of legislation - constitutional, civil commercial, administrative, economic, social, criminal and procedural. 'The fundamentals of a legal system of socialism with Chinese characteristics have been formed,' Mr Wu said. 'This provides powerful legal protection for the country's rule of law, the construction of a socialist country, and the realisation of the country's long-term peace.' But more needed to be done to reach the government's goal of completing the legal system by 2010, he said. 'We must pass more social legislation, focusing on improving people's well-being ... work vigorously to make legislation more scientific and democratic, constantly improve the quality of legislation and give even more play to the standardising, guiding and ensuring role of the law in the country's political and social life,' Mr Wu said. Despite the achievements, experts say other important laws on the previous NPC agenda that have yet to be passed include the social assistance law and the correction of illegal behaviour law, a much-debated plan to abolish labour camps. A law meant to regulate compulsory measures used by the administration - the last piece in a trio of administrative laws restraining government powers that also includes the administrative penalty law and the administrative permit law - is also awaited. And despite mentioning the concept of 'human rights' for the first time in amendments to the constitution in 2004, the NPC has still not enacted a law to give effect to the United Nations' International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which China signed in 1998 but has not implemented. A Government Affairs Freedom of Information Law was passed but in the watered-down form of a regulation.