China to reduce capital crimes, address food safety

Updated: 2011-04-30 08:39


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BEIJING - A number of notable changes to China's laws, addressing issues such as the death penalty, a new smoking ban and food safety will go into effect next Sunday.

The following is a summary of the most significant changes to China's laws.

--- 13 crimes exempted from death peanalty

China's newly revised Criminal Law has reduced the number of crimes punishable by death to 55, down from the previous number of 68.

The 13 newly-exempted crimes are all non-violent offenses, including smuggling cultural relics, precious metals, rare animals and their products; carrying out fraudulent activities with financial bills; carrying out fraudulent activities with letters of credit; false issuance of value-added tax invoices; forging or selling value-added tax invoices; the teaching of criminal perpetration methods and robbery of ancient cultural ruins.

The amendments are another move by China to limit the use of the death penalty, following a decision in 2007 that all verdicts involving capital punishment should be reviewed and approved by the Supreme People's Court.

--- Smoking ban in public venues

A revised regulation from the health ministry will create a smoking ban in enclosed public locations.

The regulation says that public business owners should install conspicuous non-smoking signs, carry out promotional activities to warn people of the dangers of smoking and encourage employees to dissuade smokers from lighting up.

The regulation also says that smoking areas in outdoor locations should not obstruct pedestrian walkways and that cigarette vending machines should be removed from public places.

--- Harsher punishment for drunk drivers

China's newly amended Road Traffic Safety Law now states that drunk drivers will have their driver's licenses revoked upon conviction. Drivers found guilty of drunk driving charges will have to wait five years to apply for new licenses.

The amendment also says that drunk drivers may have their licenses permanently revoked if they cause a serious accident.

According to China's current law, drivers who have at least 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood in their body are considered drunk.

China's earlier law imposed a license suspension of three to six months for drunk drivers.

--- Food additives in flouer

Benzoyl peroxide and calcium peroxide, two flour additives that are commonly used to 'bleach' food, will be prohibited as of May 1, according to a notice jointly released by seven ministry-level departments.

Flour and related products produced before that date will be allowed for sale until their shelf life expires.

The document said that China's improved grain processing methods have removed the need for the additives.

--- Transparent property pricing mechanism to be implemented

A new regulation created in March by the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planner and price regulator, states that all real estate developers and real estate agents must give accurate pricing information for all of their property and disclose all miscellaneous fees collected for other entities when selling property.

Prices declared cannot be raised before being redeclared, but may be reduced or discounted, according to the regulation.

--- Military secrets

Revised regulations regarding the preservation of military secrets in the People's Liberation Army (PLA) have redefined the responsibilities of military personnel who are involved in the handling of confidential information.

The new regulations have added provisions on the development and use of classified information databases, as well as the use of Internet access and mobile phones.


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