Legislature to get boost in power over law

GUANGDONG will significantly boost the power of the provincial People's Congress over the Government, law-enforcement and the judicial system, the chairman of the provincial legislature Lin Ruo said yesterday.

The ongoing Eighth Guangdong People's Congress is expected on Saturday to pass a ground-breaking law to give 150,000 lawmakers at all levels unprecedented supervisory power over governments.

The People's Congress at provincial, municipal and city levels will be given the extra powers to supervise lawmaking at their level.

Guangdong Communist Party Secretary-General Xie Fei told Hong Kong delegates this week the aim was the ''perfection of the People's Congress''. This was one of the province's three priorities for the next six years.

Mr Lin said yesterday the expansion of power of the People's Congress - China's legislature - was of paramount importance in Guangdong's long march to modernisation.

Under the new law, the congress will have the power to supervise ''one government, two councils'' - meaning the provincial government, the judiciary and the procurate.

In his report delivered at the Guangdong People's Congress yesterday, Mr Lin said the public security organ would also be put under the scrutiny of the congress.

Quoting extensively from other senior leaders, Mr Lin said the new power was essential not just to deepen reform but also for the survival of the regime.

''. . . Comrade Mao Zedong had already made this important point in the 40s; that the Government will only be alert if the Government is under the supervision by the people,'' Mr Lin said.

''Our regime can only survive if the people are in charge.

''Without democracy and the rule of law, there will be no socialism, or socialist modernisation,'' Mr Lin quoted the National People's Congress Chairman Qiao Shi as saying.

But Mr Lin admitted that the present system was inadequate and many government officials and law enforcement agents had little respect for the rule of law.

Mr Lin said Guangdong would make greater efforts to educate people in the law, and would require senior officials and cadres to ''set a good example'' in its campaign.

Moreover, Guangdong would seek to implement a ''responsibility system'' in its government under which department heads would be held ''personally responsible'' for the success of the campaign.

Guangdong has designated Shenzhen as the trial city for the campaign by delegating greater legal power to the city.

Under the experiment, the Government will have to administer the city through laws rather than through administrative orders or arbitrary instructions from senior cadres.