China to step up property rights protection
China will step up protection of property rights to provide sustained impetus for economic development, according to a statement following a State Council executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday.
Businesses will enjoy better protection of their operational and property rights, and private businesses will enjoy equal protection for their property rights as companies in the public sector.
Cases of economic crimes will be handled in compliance with relevant procedures. The protection for residents' property rights will also be enhanced, the statement said.
A key report delivered to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) said that economic reforms must focus on improving the property rights system and ensuring the market-oriented allocation of factors of production.
This year's government work report said that protecting property rights meant protecting labor, invention and innovation, and protecting and developing productive forces.
China's Property Rights Law was promulgated in 2007, widely seen as a landmark for better protection of property rights in the country. The CPC Central Committee and the State Council issued a guideline on improving property rights protection in November 2016, which is an overall plan for the development of the property rights protection system in China.
Regulations and documents that are contradictory to the law and go against the protection of property rights protection will be cleared, revised or abolished to ensure that private businesses will enjoy equal protection as their counterparts in the public sector, the statement said.
The government will ensure that administration will be in line with the rule of law, and wayward and arbitrary law enforcement will be strictly prevented, it said.
Government oversight over environmental protection and workplace safety must be conducted through lawful means, and no arbitrary measures, not to mention illegal methods should be employed to restrict business production and operation.
"Enhancing the protection of intellectual property rights is a matter of overall strategic significance, and it is vital for the development of the socialist market economy," Li said.
China's efforts of property rights protection, mass entrepreneurship and innovation and the reform to streamline administration and provide better services have worked to unleash the vitality of enterprises and spurred economic development, Li said.
To protect intellectual property rights, the government plans to explore the establishment of a punitive fine mechanism for property rights infringements. The government will also step up law enforcement and judicial protection to increase the cost of infringements and reduce the cost of right protection, the statement said.
IPR law enforcement in key areas, including the internet, exports and imports will be reinforced, as well as in rural and urban areas where counterfeiting is rampant.
The bad faith of governments will be put on record, and a redress and punishment mechanism for bad faith of governments will be improved.
The country will also establish complaint filing and compensation mechanisms for businesses that suffer losses in property rights due to governmental bad faith.
"There are still quite a few problems with the current property rights protection system. Deficiency in this area is a main cause for the slide in private investment," Li said.
Entrepreneurs should be given a confidence boost through the speedy conclusions of a number of key pending infringement cases, he said.
"The wider opening up of the country calls for enhancing IPR protection. All related laws and measures must be fully implemented, the problem of violators getting away with IPR infringements must be tackled to dispel the public concern," Li added.