Gambling Law Proposal Causes Stir in China - Saturday 12th of March 2005

Presented to the National People's Congress (NPC) by legislator, Luo Yifeng, the bill calls for new legislation to target government and company chiefs and introduce heavier penalties for offenders.

Under current Criminal Law in China, the maximum punishment for gambling is three years in jail. Luo cited social problems, state corruption and loss of State assets as evidence that, ?a new, special law banning gambling, with heavier penalties meted out to violators, is a lasting solution to prohibit gambling.?

?My proposed law will explicitly ban any government officials and State firm executives from gambling,? said Luo, ?It will also set up parameters to differentiate normal entertainment activities from gambling activities.? The Anti-Gambling Campaign Office at the Ministry of Public Security released an official statement favouring amending or changing current statutes over creating new anti-gambling legislation.

?Considering China's current conditions, time is not ripe yet for making a special anti-gambling law,? the Office stated, ?it is better to revise the existing Criminal Law to fix the problem in a more timely fashion?. This would include more severe punishments to serious offenders and the inclusion of new forms of gambling, such as gambling on the Internet and outside the Chinese mainland.

?The explanations, to be published soon, will define more clearly gambling activities,? said Chu Huaizhi, a senior law expert at the Peking University, ?We can always improve our monitoring and control measures to stop the activities at the very root sources through use of high technology and more efficient border checks.?

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