BEIJING China's civil code pre-amble, expected to be passed next Wednesday by the National People's Congress, promises to address a number of legal questions:
- The pre-amble draft requires companies rights and obligations are determined in a "fair" and "reasonable" way. The previous principles only required "fairness". Some lawyers say this could mean companies and individuals are compensated at market rates if they are forced to move due to government re-zoning.
- The pre-amble is expected to explicitly include "virtual" property in Chinese law for the first time. Lawyers say this could allow legal protection for holders of virtual currencies such as Bitcoin or virtual goods purchased as add-on in online games.
- "Good Samaritans" who accidentally injure strangers while providing assistance during an emergency will be protected from liability under the new law, barring incidents of gross negligence.
- Children as young as six will be able to have a say in custody battles during their parents' divorce proceedings, down from the minimum age of 10.
- Litigation duration limits will be extended to three years from two, allowing parties more time to deal with complex cases before rulings need to be made.
- The pre-amble draft makes some progress on protecting individuals from, say, companies who wish to sell their private data without getting full consent.
- Provisions allowing arbitration could help address telecom fraud and nuisance calls, which are common in China.
- Internal migrant worker parents will be expected to improve care for children when they leave them at home and move to other regions for work.
- Children of China's "empty nest" pensioners will be expected to "support, care for and protect" their parents when they move out of home.
(Reporting by Christian Shepherd; Editing by Sam Holmes)