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China, Austria pledge law enforcement co-op

BEIJING - Senior Chinese leader Zhou Yongkang met Friday with visiting Austrian Federal Minister of Justice Beatrix Karl and pledged to enhance cooperation between the two nations on law enforcement.

Zhou, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, said China is facing a lot of problems while achieving conspicuous development through reform and opening up.

The Chinese government has unswervingly adhered to the principle of ruling the country by law, Zhou said, adding that the latest revision of the Criminal Procedure Law epitomizes China's feat of democracy and construction of its legal system.

China is willing to exchange experiences on law enforcement, deepen pragmatic cooperation and work with Austria to combat transnational crimes, according to the Chinese official.

Karl said she had taken note of China's revision of the Criminal Procedure Law, featuring obvious innovation and progress.

The Austrian minister noted the revision of the law also brought new challenges for her Chinese colleagues, including how to secure balance between protecting the rights of victims and those of suspects.

Austria is willing to boost cooperation with the Chinese side, she said.

During their talks, Zhou also hailed bilateral ties between China and Austria over the past four decades, since the establishment of diplomatic relations, highlighting high-level interactions and economic cooperation.

Chinese President Hu Jintao's Austria visit last October and Austrian Federal Chancellor Werner Faymann's visit to China last May pushed the friendly cooperation between the two nations, said Zhou.

According to the Chinese official, China became Austria's biggest trading partner outside Europe in 2010, when their two-way trade rose to $6 billion and that grew to nearly seven billion dollars last year.

"China attaches importance to its ties with Austria and is willing to make joint efforts with the Austrian side to continuously advance cooperation in various areas," he added.

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Chinese voice support for decision on Bo's case

BEIJING - China's top leadership's decision to investigate Bo Xilai's serious discipline violations has won support from ordinary Chinese and grassroots officials.

People interviewed by Xinhua's local correspondents across the country agreed that the decision highlighted the essential principles of being strict with the Party disciplines and the rule of law, and it showed clear attitude and firm resolution to safeguard the Party disciplines and laws.

The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) announced a decision Tuesday to suspend Bo's membership of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau and the CPC Central Committee as he is suspected of being involved in serious discipline violations, and the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the CPC would file the case for investigation.

Chinese police also set up a team to reinvestigate the death of British citizen Neil Heywood in Chongqing on November 15, 2011, which was alleged by Wang Lijun, Chongqing's former police chief who entered, without authorization, the US general consulate in Chengdu on February 6 and stayed there.

According to reinvestigation results, existing evidence indicated that Heywood died of homicide, of which Bogu Kailai, Bo's wife, and Zhang Xiaojun, an orderly at Bo's home, are highly suspected.

Most people expressed the belief that the timely publicity of related facts and firm decision to handle the event is conducive to the country's reform, opening up and stability, to the image of the Party and government as well as to the dignity and authority of law and Party disciplines.

People have paid great attention to the incident of Wang Lijun and now have obtained a relatively complete and clear picture of the event, said Pan Degang, an official with the CPC municipal committee of Qingdao in east China's Shandong Province.

The CPC Central Committee made prompt and correct moves in dealing with the incident, which proved itself to be a wise, resolute and strong leadership, Pan said.

Timely informing the public about the development of the incident helped people get rid of their doubts, said Wang Zhiqian, head of the organization department of the CPC county committee of Laiyuan in north China's Hebei Province.

Through the decision, people believed that the CPC Central Committee, with Hu Jintao as the general secretary, is capable of handling complicated situation and making correct decisions in serious incidents, and they gained more confidence in the Party's leadership.

The leadership's decision on this incident showed its high alertness of risks in governance, the strong motivation to fight corruption in the Party and the unity inside the Party concerning honoring law and disciplines, said Prof. Wang Shiyi with the Party School of CPC Jiangsu Provincial Committee in east China.

It showed that the Party is confident and determined in face of challenges, he said.

Timely revealing the facts, the leadership would unite the whole Party and society, build confidence and minimize the room left for rumors, he said.

Many Party and government officials said they would learn the lesson from this case, closely follow the basic principles and policies of the Party and set the example of loyalty.

Party members and officials should try their best to serve the people, behave themselves and accept supervision, said Niu Landong, an official with the publicity department of the CPC provincial committee of Hebei.

People from all walks of the society expressed their willingness to work for scientific development and maintain social harmony and stability under the leadership of CPC Central Committee.

"We should focus our attention on the development of our enterprise as the company is facing a very complex situation this year," said Lu Ruifeng, working for the Nanjing Port (Group) Co. Ltd.

Police reinvestigate death of Neil Heywood

BEIJING - Chinese police have set up a team to reinvestigate the case that British citizen Neil Heywood was found dead in Chongqing on Nov 15, 2011, which was alleged by Wang Lijun who entered, without authorization, the US general consulate in Chengdu on Feb 6 and stayed there, Xinhua learned from authorities.

Police authorities paid high attention to the case, and set up the team to reinvestigate the case according to law with an attitude to seek truth from facts.

According to investigation results, Bogu Kailai, wife of Comrade Bo Xilai, and their son were in good terms with Heywood. However, they had conflict over economic interests, which had been intensified.

According to reinvestigation results, the existing evidence indicated that Heywood died of homicide, of which Bogu Kailai and Zhang Xiaojun, an orderly at Bo's home, are highly suspected.

Bogu Kailai and Zhang Xiaojun have been transferred to judicial authorities on suspected crime of intentional homicide.

According to senior officials from related authorities, China is a socialist country ruled by law, and the sanctity and authority of law shall not be tramped. Whoever has broken the law will be handled in accordance with law and will not be tolerated, no matter who is involved.

Top court rules on home demolition rights

Courts can turn down government requests to demolish housing, if the compensation for residents is deemed unfair, the Supreme People's Court ruled on Monday.

The latest judicial interpretation by the country's top court, effective from Tuesday, supplements the existing regulation on urban home demolition, which was revised last year.

The interpretation specifies seven circumstances under which courts should reject government requests for forced relocation, including where the proposed compensation "violates the principle of fairness", where land acquisition has "severely violated the procedures provided by law", and where the basic living essentials of property owners are not ensured.

After requests have been approved by court, the interpretation said demolitions should "normally be carried out by administrative bodies", to distinguish judicial approval from law enforcement, according to a statement released by the court on Monday.

"Whether governments or courts are responsible for implementing forced demolition is exactly the issue being left out in current stipulations, and needs an urgent answer," said Wang Xixin, a law professor at Peking University.

The State Council's regulation on urban demolition and compensation, revised in January 2011, forbids local governments from executing their administrative right to demolish houses without residents' consent, unless approved by a court.

However, the ruling fails to specify which party is responsible for carrying out demolition after judicial approval.

Wang said that the latest interpretation "adds another layer of protection" for owners and residents of homes earmarked for demolition, as it put the decision in the court's hands.

"If you let government play the role of both decision-maker and executive body at the same time, misjudgment and demolitions that turn violent can hardly be avoided," he said.

The interpretation also requires courts to give a ruling within 30 days of receiving a government's request to demolish property, and to notify the government within five days once the decision is made.

Rapid urbanization and rising demand for land has given way to more disputes, and who is responsible for carrying out demolition can be a thorny issue, said Ying Songnian, a law professor at China University of Political Science and Law.

"Surely no one is happy to take on that job," he said.

Existing laws, including the Administrative Coercion Law, the country's principal legislation regarding home demolition, have had little effect and "the interests involved are hard to balance", Ying said.

The judicial interpretation clarifying that administrative bodies were responsible for demolitions was a good thing, he said, as "it makes a judicial remedy possible" for property owners if the demolition is wrongly carried out.

Lehman, Lee & Xu is a top-tier Chinese law firm specializing in corporate, commercial and intellectual property matters. For further information on any issue discussed in this edition of China Law Digest , or for all other enquiries, please e-mail us at or visit our website at and Mongolia

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