China will improve its foreign-related legal system and promote the building of a law-based and international business environment in the next five years, Vice-Minister of Justice Xiong Xuanguo said on Thursday.
It will accelerate the formation of a comprehensive system of foreign-related laws and regulations, standardize law enforcement and judicial criteria and improve the effectiveness of law enforcement and judicial activities to promote a higher level of opening-up and the construction of the Belt and Road Initiative, Xiong said at a news conference in Beijing on promoting law-based governance during the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25).
Xiong said foreign-related legal services will be enhanced to guide Chinese enterprises and citizens to abide by local laws, regulations and customs when venturing abroad, and use laws and rules to safeguard their legitimate rights and interests.
"We will set up a number of world-class arbitration institutions and law firms to improve legal services, especially those concerning foreign affairs," he said.
China has 34,000 law firms and about 520,000 lawyers. About 12,000 of the lawyers have expertise in foreign legal systems. In addition, Chinese law firms have set up over 150 overseas branches in 35 countries and regions.
Through carrying out bilateral and multilateral legal cooperation and exchanges, China will take an active part in global governance and uphold and make international rules, so as to build a fair and equitable international system, he said.
Additionally, China will clear up laws and regulations that hinder fair competition, and use the rule of law to break up industrial monopolies and local protection to form a well-regulated and orderly market system, Xiong said.
China's business environment has significantly improved in recent years. In 2018, China ranked 46th in the World Bank's assessment of the environment for doing business, but it rose to 31st in 2019, said Li Mingzheng, director of the ministry's bureau of rule of law research.
China will actively promote administrative and legislative work in areas such as market regulation, intellectual property protection and fair competition, which are closely related to improving the business environment. Further reform of government at all levels will be carried out, and an evaluation system for the construction of law-based government will be established to accelerate the transformation of government functions, Li said.
Administrative decision-making will also be promoted as part of the reform to solve problems such as new officials refusing to resolve issues left by their predecessors. Improving the business environment will be an important part of higher authorities' oversight, he said.
The central government will deepen reform of the notarial system, and accelerate the adoption of one network platform to offer services for high-frequency notarial matters, Li said.
He added that China will improve the system of administrative reconsideration and adjudication, offer mediation and arbitration, and provide enterprises with efficient and convenient channels for resolving disputes.
From 2016 to 2020, organs at all levels nationwide handled about 1.09 million appeals against administrative decisions, of which 1.05 million were concluded. Last year, the Communist Party of China Central Committee also issued a reform plan for the appeals system to solve deep-seated problems.