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China: Administrative Enforcement Law in the Works

(Oct. 13, 2009) On August 26, 2009, China's draft Administrative Enforcement Law passed a third reading by the National People's Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC). According to a vice chairman of the NPCSC's Legislative Affairs Work Committee, it will be adopted before the end of 2010. Chinese legal experts have commented that the adoption of this legislation, in combination with the Administrative License Law (promulgated on Aug. 27, 2003; effective on July 1, 2004), and the Law on Administrative Penalty (adopted Mar. 17, 1996; effective on Oct. 1, 1996, as amended on Aug. 27, 2009) will complete a trilogy of administrative laws that will better regulate administrative power in China. (Passage of Administrative Enforcement Law (Draft) Expected Before End of 2010 [in Chinese], CHINA.COM.CN, Sept. 27, 2009, available at; Administrative License Law & Law on Administrative Penalty, LAWINFOCHINA (online subscription database),
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Under China's current provisions on administrative procedures, when Chinese citizens sue officials, no fees are incurred for filing an application for administrative reconsideration. (Art. 39, Administrative Reconsideration Law (promulgated on Apr. 29, 1999, effective on Oct. 1, 1999, as last amended on Aug. 27, 2009), LAWINFOCHINA, (last visited Oct. 8, 2009).) In recent years, administrative agencies have accepted about 80,000 administrative reconsideration cases annually, among which those that redressed illegal and improper administrative acts or that saw voluntary correction, reconciliation, or mediation represented 33.59%. (CHINA.COM.CN, supra.)

On March 22, 2004, the State Council (Cabinet) issued the Framework for Comprehensive Promotion of the Implementation of Administration According to Law, in which it announced that in ten years or so the objectives for establishing a government of the rule of law would be essentially realized (seven objectives are listed). (Item 2(3), (Authorized Issuance) Circular of the State Council on Printing and Issuing the Framework for Comprehensive Promotion of the Implementation of Administration According to Law [in Chinese], XINHUA, Apr. 20, 2009, available at In July of that year, the Administrative License Law went into effect, “delineating the rule of law 'boundaries' of the government's examination-and-approval powers, and revoking the 'checkpoints' of layer upon layer of such powers.” (CHINA.COM.CN, supra.) Subsequently, the government abolished 1,992 situations in which administrative approvals were required, and local governments at all levels abolished or adjusted altogether 77,692 such situations. (Id.)