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The 10 Worst Laws In China

Read on China Law Blog that Foreign Policy Magazine has a list of what it considers to be the 10 worst laws in China.

They are:

Article 105 of the Criminal Law (which broadly defines "subversive activities")

Hukou (Household Registration) System (which creates a classification system for Chinese citizens based on place of residence and socioeconomic status)

Measures for Managing Internet Information Systems, Issued by State Council Order No. 292 (internet censorship)

Law on the Supervision by Standing Committees of the People’s Congress at All Levels (2006), Article 3 (enables one-party rule)

New Property Rights Law, 2007 (which states that while you may own your house, the Chinese state owns the land)

Regulations on Religious Affairs, 2005 (which requires religious groups to register with the state, and all that implies)

Trade Union Law of the PRC (limits workers to party-controlled union affiliation)

State Security Law, Article 4 (which lists specific "state-endangering" acts in vague language)

Emergency Response Law (which limits the spread of false information during disasters, such as the SARS outbreak and the Chengdu earthquake).

Consumer Protection Law, Chapter II, Articles 7 and 8

I'm not going to paraphrase this one from the writers at Foreign Policy -- here's what they have to say:

What it says: Companies are expected to maintain safety standards currently established by other companies, and businesses can’t be punished for falling behind raised standards established by goods entering the market at a later time.

What it does: Safety standards and laws fluctuate with shifts in the market. Thus, there are no objective mandates for consumer product safety. After last summer’s string of product recalls, the U.S. and Chinese product safety agencies met to discuss new measures, including banning the use of lead paint in toys exported to the United States. Still, there is little hope for progress unless Chinese local authorities stop haphazardly enforcing rules and regulations.

As the commenters point out, a lot of these are the typical straw men put up by Westerners who don't understand the Chinese version of political posturing.

And my own personal faith in government respect for "private property" has been shaken by personal experience -- I've lived in two houses now that have almost gotten snapped up in eminent domain land grabs, and I'm also of the opinion that laws like our own Patriot Act are just as scary as anything on this list. What do you think?

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