BEIJING, March 15 (Xinhua) -- China's national legislature on Wednesday passed the General Provisions of the Civil Law, the opening chapter of a civil code planned to be enacted in 2020.
The General Provisions were adopted at the closing meeting of the annual session of the National People's Congress (NPC), with 2,782 of the 2,838 deputies present voting in favor. It takes effect on Oct. 1.
Compiling a civil code, a decision made by the central leadership in 2014, has been deemed as a "must-do" to promote the country's rule of law and modernize state governance, and as 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, which lays down basic principles for regulating civil activities, marks the crucial first step.
The second step, the compiling of five individual books that deal with property, contract, tort liability, marriage and inheritance, started late last year. Work on the books will be stepped up.
"With the General Provisions, 1.3 billion Chinese 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.
"The birth of the General Provisions is not the finishing line. There is a long way ahead for such a huge project as compiling a civil code," said Sun, who has spent years pushing for a civil code in the country.