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NPC approves road traffic, securities laws
( 2003-10-29 06:14) (China Daily)

China's top legislators Tuesday passed two laws on road traffic safety and securities investment funds on the last day of the week-long fifth session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC).

The top legislative body also passed a decision to remove Tian Fengshan from the post of the minister of land and resources for his "serious problem of discipline violations.''

Meanwhile, the legislature appointed Sun Wensheng, 61, former vice-minister of land and resources, to take Tian's place.

"Tian is still under investigation,'' the State Council said in a document submitted to the lawmakers.

The Law on Road Traffic Safety, which will take effect on May 1 next year, stipulates that motorists should be responsible for any traffic accident with pedestrians, even if they are not at fault.

Lawmakers pointed out that this clause places pedestrians' right to life over motorists' right of way, and overrules several local regulations which clear motorists of responsibility if they were not at fault in an accident.

The law also does away with the requirement of parking certifications when car owners get technical checks done on their vehicles.

Some NPC members argued that whether a car had a parking certificate was irrelevant to how roadworthy it was and to demand such a document unduly burdened car owners.

Taking Beijing for instance, a parking certificate costs 500 yuan to 1,000 yuan (US$60 to US$121) every year, and car owners had been asked to show several administrative certificates to have the roadworthiness of their vehicles checked, greatly inconveniencing them, many NPC members complained.

The Law on Road Traffic Safety come out when China is at a period with high incidence of traffic accidents.

A total of 773,000 traffic accidents were recorded last year, claiming 109,000 lives and injuring 562,000, with a direct economic loss of 3.3 billion yuan (US$400 million).

The death toll of 109,000 can be imagined as a huge passenger plane crashing every day in a year, and the loss of US$400 million can produce more than 22,000 cars.

Lawmakers said the law would help maintain road traffic order, prevent and reduce traffic accidents, and protect personal security and interests.

The Law on Securities Investment Funds, being drafted since 1999, is the first in China to regulate the nation's new securities fund industry and will take effect on June 1 next year.

The law does not stipulate whether open-ended funds can apply for short-term loans from commercial banks, which leaves space for further amendments according to the developing needs of the situation.

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