Top Chinese legislator Wu Bangguo promised on Saturday to give the general public more say in the formulation of the food safety law amid both domestic and international concerns about the country's food quality and safety.
The food safety law, with 19 others, is on the top agenda of the Chinese parliament's legislation plan in 2008 that Wu listed in his work report to the current session of the 11th National People's Congress (NPC).
Wu said that the top legislature will publicly post the draft food safety law to solicit public opinions, particularly those of ordinary people, because it is "closely tied" to the interests of the people.
"We must further expand the orderly participation of ordinary citizens in legislative work," he said.
Chinese industries have come under the spotlight of domestic and foreign consumers with concerns about substandard products or tainted food over recent years, which sometimes led to international disputes in addition to poisoning or even deaths of people.
Food-related incidents, in particular, included vegetables with pesticide residue, fish contaminated with suspected carcinogens and eggs tainted with industrial dyes.
A draft law on food safety was submitted to the NPC Standing Committee in December last year for the first hearing, which covers food safety evaluation, monitoring, recall and information release.
Premier Wen Jiabao also promised in his government work report to the NPC session earlier this week to stipulate or update more than 7,700 national standards for the safety of food, drugs and other consumer goods this year. And all requirements and testing methods will "comply with international standards," he said.
The government launched a four-month nationwide campaign in late August last year to crack down on unlicensed food shops and suppliers and on sales of food products without quality and inspection certificates.
As a result, more than 1,480 people were arrested, involving 1,187 criminal investigations nationwide, the General Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said in mid-January.
Other legislation on this year's agenda include the law on state-owned assets, the social security law, the circular economy law and the law on arbitration of disputes concerning contracted rural land, and revision of the electoral law, the organic law of the NPC and the law on state compensation, according to Wu's report.
(Xinhua News Agency March 8, 2008)