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China to Revise Law Interpretation on Differentiated Personal Injury Compensation
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China's Supreme People's Court (SPC) will revise relevant laws to reduce the existing disparity of personal injury compensation for urban and rural residents, the Beijing News reported on Tuesday.


Ji Min, presiding judge of the SPC No.1 Civil Court, said the SPC has made investigations in the last two years and will revise the law interpretation soon.


The lives of China's urban residents are worth much more than those of rural residents and urban residents can get more compensation for same personal injuries compared with their rural counterparts according to China's current laws, the paper said.


In a traffic accident on Dec. 15, 2005, in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality, He Yuan, a 14-year-old girl, and two friends going to school were killed after a truck hit their tricycles.


After the accident, the parents of He Yuan were angered to learn that they could only get 50,000 yuan (US$6,250) in compensation while the families of the other two girls received more than 200,000 yuan respectively since He Yuan was a rural resident and the other two were urban residents.


Such a court ruling was based on the interpretations of personal injury cases issued by the Supreme People's Court on Dec. 4, 2003, which stipulates that death compensation should be 20 times the average annual disposable income of urban residents of the previous year or 20 times the average annual per capita net income of rural residents in that area.


Official statistics show that in 2005 the per capita disposable income of China's urban residents was 10,493 yuan and rural per capita net income was 3,255 yuan.


In a statement submitted to the Supreme People's Court, Hu Xingdou, professor with the Beijing Institute of Technology, and lawyer Li Fangping called for an end to unjust treatment for rural and urban residents and to unify the standard for personal injury compensation.


Earlier this month, Zhang Li, a deputy to the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, submitted the motion to the NPC.


For the last two years, Zhang has submitted the same motion. "The laws contradict the principle enshrined in the Constitution that all citizens are equal before the law," said Zhang.


"I have received a reply from the Supreme People's Court which said the issue might be resolved this year," said Zhang Li.


(Xinhua News Agency March 23, 2006)


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