China Aims to Make Suing Government Easier for Citizens

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China’s top legislature is reviewing a draft amendment to the Administrative Procedure Law, which would make it easier for citizens to sue their government, China’s Xinhua news agency reported Monday.

MOSCOW, August 25 (RIA Novosti) - China’s top legislature is reviewing a draft amendment to the Administrative Procedure Law, which would make it easier for citizens to sue their government, China’s Xinhua news agency reported Monday.

If the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) passes the amendment, fewer cases will be thrown out by the Chinese courts.

The 1990 Administrative Procedure Law, which is a major guarantee of Chinese citizens’ rights to sue administrative agencies or personnel, says that citizens, companies or other organization may file suit against “specific administrative acts.” Articles 11 and 12 of the law list the kinds of disputes that are considered actionable. The amendment would remove the word “actionable,” which in practice becomes an excuse for courts to throw out cases, according to Xinhua.

The amendment would also extend the time limits for plaintiffs to file suit and for the hearings to take place. Defendants would be compelled to personally appear before the court.

At present, some defendants simply ask their lawyers to represent them in court, which often makes it more difficult to settle the dispute.

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