BEIJING, Oct. 1 (Xinhua) -- China's general provisions of the Civil Law, the opening chapter of a civil code planned for full enactment in 2020, took effect Sunday.
Based on a 1986 version and adopted by the National People's Congress in March this year, the document lays down basic principles regulating civil activities.
The general provisions add protection for the interests of fetuses, lower the statutory age limit for minors with limited capacity for civil conduct from 10 to eight years, and stress protection of personal information, online virtual assets and intellectual property rights.
The law grants status of "special legal person" to rural economic collectives and village committees, among other organizations, which will allow such activities as entering into contracts.
Civil subjects must be aware of the need to save resources and protect the environment in their civil activities, according to the provisions, which have an overall "green" tone, reflecting China's need to strike a balance between the needs of its people and the environment.
The provisions protect the interests of heroes and martyrs, stipulating that those who harm their name, portrait, reputation and honor shall bear civil liability.
"With the General Provisions, 1.3 billion people will feel more secure and enjoy more equal opportunities and dignity," said Sun Xianzhong, a national lawmaker and deputy head of the China Civil Law Society.
Compiling a civil code, a decision made by the central leadership in 2014, is vital to rule of law and modern governance, and a crucial move in building China into a moderately prosperous society by 2020.
A two-step approach has been designed for developing the code. The adoption of the general provisions is the first.
The second, the compiling of five individual volumes that deal with property, contracts, torts, marriage and inheritance, started late last year.