The country's first Civil Code-a fundamental and comprehensive civil law that refines rules for protecting civil rights and remedying their infringement-was adopted before the top legislature wrapped up its annual session on Thursday.
"It's the first law called a 'code' since New China was founded, and milestone legislation in comprehensively advancing the rule of law and improving the socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics," said Li Zhanshu, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.
Li said if the whole of society abides by the code, "our society will be more civilized, harmonious and stable". He also called for national legislators to play a leading role in studying, popularizing and following the code.
Li made the remarks at the closing meeting of the third session of the 13th National People's Congress. President Xi Jinping and other Chinese leaders attended the meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
The Civil Code, which will take effect on Jan 1, consists of general provisions, which clarify basic civil rights, duties and principles, and six individual sections on property, contracts, personal rights, marriage and family and inheritance and torts.
Fu Yuhang, a national lawmaker from Sichuan province, showed her enthusiasm after witnessing the birth of the code."I've been following its legislative process in the past few years, as it greatly matters to everyone's work, life and interests," she said.
Fu applauded the part of the code about protection of personal data, regarding it as a legal basis for formulating a law on personal information protection, which is on the legislative agenda for this year.
Li Jing, another NPC deputy and president of Tianjin High People's Court, said the code demonstrates a "people-centered" approach to legislation. She gave a thumbs-up to the section on personal rights, saying it shows the country is paying greater attention to protecting personal rights and dignity.
Zhang Xinbao, a law professor at Renmin University of China, said a lot of work needs to be done before the Civil Code is enforced.
"Before the code takes effect, we have about six months, and a lot of work awaits us," he said. "For example, the Supreme People's Court should draft, revise and clean up some interpretations on existing civil laws in accordance with the code, while the authorities need to explain the code to the public to ensure it will be effectively implemented.
"Lawyers specializing in dealing with civil cases have much to learn about the code, as the more they know the law, the better they can serve the people," he said.
National legislators also voted to approve a decision on national security legislation for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and the approved resolutions on the Government Work Report and the work reports of the NPC Standing Committee, the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate at the closing meeting.
They also passed resolutions on national economic and social development plans as well as on central and local budgets.