The top legislature opened its bimonthly session on Wednesday, with lawmakers considering draft laws on cyber and national security, and a draft amendment to the Criminal Law.
The draft law on cyber security was submitted for its first reading at the session of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, which runs until July 1.
The session was presided over by Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the NPC Standing Committee.
The 68-article draft law on cyber security suggests mechanisms to guarantee the safety of Internet products, services, operation, network data, and information.
Lawmakers also mulled a law concerning the security of China's activities and assets in space, on the international sea bed and in polar regions, to further improve the legal framework protecting national security.
The draft national security law, which was tabled for its third reading, said China would "peacefully explore and exploit outer space, international sea bed areas and polar regions".
An entry and exit security mechanism will be built, scientific capacity developed, international cooperation enhanced, and activity and asset security on "new strategic frontiers" safeguarded, the draft national security law read.
In addition, the draft also said response and defense against nuclear threats and attacks would be stepped up.
Lawmakers also deliberated a draft amendment to the Criminal Law for the second time, which included more items defined as terrorism.
According to the draft amendment, those financing training programs for terrorists will face more than five years in prison, in addition to fines and confiscation of property.
Under the current law, these punishments are applied only to those funding terrorist organizations and individuals carrying out acts of terror.
Those recruiting and transporting personnel for terrorist organizations, activities or training will also now face more than five years in prison in serious cases, according to the draft amendment.
Items related to school bus safety were also reviewed. Drivers of overloaded school buses may be incarcerated, according to a draft amendment.
Those driving school buses at a speed that exceeds the designated limit, as well as owners or managers, may also face the same punishment, according to the draft.
With regard to cults, lawmakers discussed harsher punishment for those involved in cults or superstitious activities that hamper the implementation of laws and regulations.
According to the draft amendment to the Criminal Law, in serious cases the maximum punishment may be extended to life imprisonment, in addition to fines or confiscation of property. Currently, the maximum sentence for those found guilty of cult-related crimes is 15 years in prison.
Lawmakers also mulled stricter air pollution control measures, deliberating the regulation of emissions from boats and ships. According to a draft amendment to the Air Pollution Law, ships on inland or river-to-sea waterways must use standard diesel to cut emissions.
Ocean-going vessels will also be required to use fuels that conform to China's environmental protection standards after stopping at Chinese ports, the draft read.
A draft legal document was also tabled, which said Chinese officials will pledge allegiance to the Constitution when assuming office.
All officials elected or appointed by people's congresses and their standing committees at both national and local levels, as well as state functionaries appointed by people's governments, courts and procuratorates at all levels should swear a public oath of allegiance to the Constitution while assuming office, said the draft.
The lawmakers also considered allowing prosecutors to institutionalize public interest litigation in civil and administrative cases.
A bill, submitted by the Supreme People's Procuratorate, requested the top legislature authorize a two-year pilot program in 13 provincial divisions.
Under the program, prosecutors will be allowed to file a civil lawsuit against any act that compromises public rights and interests by pollution or by undermining food and drug safety, according to the bill. < The top legislature also started reviewing an agreement on the founding of the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) on Wednesday, intended to fund infrastructure in the BRICS bloc and other developing economies.
The agreement was signed by all of the bloc's members -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- on July 15 last year during the sixth BRICS summit.
It will enter force only when all BRICS countries have deposited instruments of acceptance, ratification or approval.
The lawmakers also deliberated a treaty allowing China and Kazakhstan to transfer convicts as well as a pact to facilitate multi-national tax collection and management.