Happy New Year! As is the case every month — certainly every year — new laws will take effect across China on 01 January 2015. Here are some of the more important laws now reality across the country…
- A revised law on environmental protection comes into effect today. It basically lifts a previous cap on maximum fines to be imposed by polluters; with no more cap on penalties, fines can now skyrocket through the roof, making pollution a far less “attractive” option. Persons in charge of companies that pollute against the law can now also be detained, and registered non-government organisations in larger cities are now able to take polluters to court.
- A new budget law now will require greater transparency on the side of government. This is a major step forward as under the previous law, there was no such provision, making government more a “manager” than being “an entity under public supervision”.
- New railway rules will regulate operators, as well as Security, Ticket and ID Checks. Railway operators will now be regulated according to new laws — this is happening less than two years after the former Railways Ministry was dissolved. There will now be new, standardised regulations governing how Security, Ticket and ID checks take place at stations; the rules have not changed much, but part of the Zukunftsmusik will see the arrival of self-service Ticket and ID check devices (right now, they’re all being done by station staff).
- Banks operated fully or partly by foreign parties will now be subject to less restrictive regulations. Generally speaking, it will now be easier to establish such banks (this includes establishing representative bodies in China).
- Taxes will come into place on stock ownership transactions where income is involved as stipulated by new regulations being put into effect on a trial basis. A new tax rate of 20% will now be levied where the new rules come into effect.