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Hearing to decide personal income tax deduction
Updated: 2005-09-27 13:40

China's top legislature on Tuesday held its first-ever legislative hearing, aiming to enhance legislative transparency and to promote democracy in legislation.

The legislative hearing is held for lifting the cutoff point of the personal income tax from 800 yuan (US$98.8) to 1,500 yuan (US$185), a major part of the amendment to the Law on Personal Income Tax.

Some 40 people from various walks of life and various regions across the country, selected from nearly 5,000 applicants, attended the hearing, with 20 as speakers of the general public.

Their opinions will provide an "important basis" for the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), the top legislature, to make amendments to the personal income tax law.

At 11:00 a.m., the morning session came to an end and the afternoon session is to begin at 1:00 p.m.

During the morning session, 16 representatives from various social sectors voiced their opinions on the lifting of the cutoff point of the personal income tax.

Representatives from government departments and provinces were also given eight minutes each for an individual speech.

Yang Jingyu, chairman of the NPC Law Committee, said that the adjustment of the personal income tax threshold has aroused great concern among the general public.

By holding the first-ever public hearing for such an important legislation, "we are collecting the wisdom and proposals of people from all walks of life."

"It is also a major step to increase legislative transparency and democracy," Yang said.

Peng Zhenqiu, a deputy to the NPC, told Xinhua that holding the legislative hearing was far from for show. "Rather, it is done to meet the rising demand for democracy in the course of China's development, to some extent."

He also praised China's progress in legislative work and legislative concepts.

China put in force a law on legislation on July 1, 2000, which says the standing committees of people's congresses should solicit opinions from various sides on making laws and regulations. The opinion-collecting process may take various forms, including symposiums, debate sessions or hearings.

According to Peng, 24 provincial legislative bodies had held 38 legislative hearings by the end of 2004 on regional draft regulations concerning market administration, protection of consumers' rights, the environment and resources, construction of urban utilities and other major issues of public concern.

Some speakers said the proposed 1,500-yuan deduction is fair and some others said it is still too low and should be much higher.

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