China grants citizens right to sue govt over land acquisition

China has granted citizens the power to sue the government if it fails to pay proper compensation, relenting for the first time to growing resentment over land acquisition.

PTI| Updated: Nov 02, 2014, 14:12 PM IST

Beijing: China has granted citizens the power to sue the government if it fails to pay proper compensation, relenting for the first time to growing resentment over land acquisition.

China's top legislature, the National people's Congress' yesterday adopted an amendment to the Administrative Procedure Law aiming to expand the people's right to sue the government.

According to the amendment, courts will launch probe if the government is sued for violating agreements on land and housing compensation and commercial operations franchised by the government.

The amendment comes in the backdrop of growing public resentment over arbitrary seizure of land by the government for projects without paying proper compensation.

The amendment says the courts should order authorities to follow contracts or give compensation for the breach if they are confirmed to have violated the contract.

Even if authorities have legitimate reasons to terminate contracts, they should offer compensation, the new law said.

The revision compels defendants - representatives of the administrations concerned - to personally appear before the court.

Those who refuse to appear without legitimate reasons or leave the court during the trial without approval may face additional punishment.

Currently most defendants ask their lawyers or other staff to represent them in the court.

"Having them appear in court will also effectively promote the officials' awareness of the rule of law," Professor Jiang Ming'an of the Peking University was quoted as saying by the state-run Xinhua news agency.