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West China Improves Legal System for Greater Development
                      Governments in west China provinces, autonomous regions
                      and municipality are working to improve the legal system
                      in the area, hoping to facilitate healthy development
                      there and encourage investment from home and abroad.
                      A batch of existing rules and regulations that are out
                      of sync with development of the market economy have been
                      annulled by the governments in the west.
                      This is a joint move made by the governments of 10
                      provinces, autonomous regions and municipality in
                      western China, including Shaanxi, Gansu, Qinghai,
                      Ningxia, Xinjiang, Sichuan, Guizhou, Yunnan, Chongqing
                      and Tibet.
                      At a recent national conference, Chinese law experts
                      said that only a sound legal environment can help
                      establish a democratic and scientific decision-making
                      system, prevent construction of redundant projects, and
                      improve the ecological environment in western areas.
                      Chinese law experts are now researching ways to ensure a
                      legal guarantee for the sustainable development strategy
                      in west China, whose area and population accounts for 57
                      percent and 23 percent of the country's total
                      Professor Cheng Liaoyuan, a member of the research team,
                      said that the plan is to integrate the rule of law with
                      sustainable development and the strategy of developing
                      west China.
                      The government of Chongqing Municipality announced the
                      annulment of over 200 local rules and regulations in
                      early June. The People's Congress of Chongqing
                      Municipality is also reviewing more than 100 rules and
                      regulations formulated since 1997 when it became a
                      municipality enjoying provincial status in the country.
                      The outdated rules and regulations and those which do
                      not tally with the strategy of developing west China
                      should be rescinded or revised, an official from the
                      Chongqing Municipal People's Congress said.
                      Shaanxi, Gansu, Xinjiang, as well as Guiyang, the
                      provincial capital of Guizhou, and Chengdu, the
                      provincial capital of Sichuan, have also abolished some
                      regulations and rules or made revisions of others.
                      These are the practical measures taken by the local
                      governments as they attempt to improve the legal system
                      in the west while upgrading their infrastructure
                      facilities, law expert Yin Wanbang said.
                      The provinces, autonomous regions and municipality in
                      western China will also strengthen law making and law
                      enforcement while perfecting the legal system.
                      The Municipal People's Congress of Chongqing will work
                      out a series of rules and regulations on improving the
                      investment environment this year to ensure the interests
                      of investors, including an ordinance on encouraging
                      foreign investment and regulations on management of the
                      Chongqing Economic and Technological Development Zone.
                      The Chinese government has always encouraged the
                      formation of a sound legal system in the process of the
                      country's economic and social development.
                      Some foreign businesspeople also said that they are
                      afraid of doing business in the traditional Chinese
                      style of depending on high-powered connections, or
                      "guanxi," because this will increase their investment
                      A good investment environment based on transparent rules
                      and regulations will be more favorable for fair
                      competition, they said. However, law experts said that
                      the development of the west should not mimic the old
                      groping ways that took place in the east during the
                      early stage of the country's reform and opening up
                      The anticipated upsurge of the western area against the
                      backdrop of China's expected WTO entry and a maturing
                      market economy needs the guarantee of a legal system,
                      experts said. "The country's 22-year-old reform has
                      basically established the rules of the game for China's
                      social and economic development," said Prof. Zhuo Zeyuan
                      at the Southwest China University of Political Science
                      and Law.
                      The starting point for the development of the west
                      should be high, Zhuo added. The area's development
                      scheme and implementation measures must conform to those
                      of the World Trade Organization and should leave more
                      room for further development.
                      He stressed that the development of the west should be
                      in step with the construction of the legal system.
                      Chinese law experts are now researching a legal security
                      system and will offer suggestions for the strategic
                      development of the west

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