China looks to improve laws in wake of pandemic

( Updated : 2020-05-22

China will review and revise dozens of laws related to public health, infectious diseases and emergency responses in the coming years, Zhang Yesui, the spokesman for the third session of the 13th National People's Congress, said late on May 21.

He said the country now has over 30 pieces of legislation related to public health and disease prevention," and they have stood the test of time and played a positive role during the epidemic". However, there were still some weak links within the legal framework that needed improvement, Zhang said.

The NPC Standing Committee will introduce or revise 17 pieces of legislation this year and next year, and 13 others will be updated in due course, Zhang said.

The current priorities include drafting the biosecurity law, which it is hoped will be submitted for adoption by the end of the year, he said. The law on wildlife conservation will also be revised and reviewed in the second half of this year.

The legislature will seek to complete the law on animal epidemic prevention, and accelerate the revision of the frontier and health law. The committee will also meticulously evaluate the law on the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases, as well as the emergency response law.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the NPC Standing Committee has reacted swiftly and responsibly, including adopting a decision to impose a full ban on the illegal trading and consumption of wild animals, Zhang said.

In addition, it began reviewing the draft biosecurity law and the draft revised version of the animal epidemic prevention law. It has also launched a new initiative to strengthen the legislative process related to public health.

He said the NPC Standing Committee has also promulgated laws related to epidemic control to provide legal support for prevention efforts and socioeconomic development.