Nation to standardize levels of fines

2024-02-29 08:17:02China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

China is set to standardize the imposition of fines, and prohibit practices such as leveraging fines for revenue gains.

Officials emphasized the goal of optimizing the rule of law during a news conference in Beijing on Wednesday.

Hu Weilie, deputy minister of justice, said that the Ministry of Justice has taken measures, including comprehensive cleaning up of administrative regulations, improving the nationwide unified market system, and strengthening the legal inspection of business issues, to support the construction of a market-oriented, rule-of-law based and internationalized business environment.

Last year, the ministry, together with other departments, completed the cleaning up of 604 administrative regulations and fine-related items in departmental regulations. It has submitted requests to the State Council to cancel or adjust 33 fine-related items.

"During the cleaning process, we found that some fines were set unscientifically, and the implementation was not standardized, resulting in strong complaints from enterprises and the public against arbitrary fines," Hu said.

To resolve the issue, the State Council issued guiding opinions to effectively reduce business uncertainties, lower operating costs, and protect companies' legitimate rights and interests, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, he said.

He Yong, head of the ministry's administrative law enforcement coordination and supervision bureau, said that in response to prominent issues such as using fines to increase revenue, substituting fines for management, and pursuing profit through fines, the document focuses on solving the problems strongly reflected by enterprises and the public, with an emphasis on suiting punishment to the crime.

He said that fines must be appropriate, and law enforcers should not arbitrarily impose maximum fines or high fines, nor lower the threshold for determining illegal behavior or expand the scope of illegal behavior. In addition, pursuing profit through fines and imposing fines on past illegal behavior that has exceeded the statutory limit are prohibited.

"For cases with similar facts, nature, circumstances and social harm, it is necessary to ensure that the discretion in fine determination meets statutory requirements and to avoid different penalties for similar cases," he said.

The document emphasized taking systematic measures to resolve common problems in industries and fields related to public safety and the health of the people. Officials involved in irregularities in the setting or imposing of fines should be punished promptly.

In terms of the imposition of fines, law enforcement efforts should be increased in key areas such as safety production, life and health, and product quality. In addition, decisions on fines should consider the feelings of the public to ensure they are in accordance with legal principles and consider the facts and circumstances, while optimizing the system for deferred and installment payment of fines.

Hu said the ministry will further sort out items for fines and speed up their modification and improvement.

"With the effective implementation of the document, the power of administrative penalties will be better constrained by the regulations," he said. "We believe enterprises and the public will feel more fairness and justice in administrative law enforcement actions, further enhancing confidence in optimizing the business environment."

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