Former Scholar Appointed Deputy Secretary-General of NPC Standing Committee

July 3, 2015
Editor: Eileen Cheng
Xin Chunying [thepaper.cn]

Xin Chunying, previously deputy director of the legislative affairs commission of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), was appointed deputy secretary-general of the standing committee on July 1.

As the first female in China to graduate with a Master of Law following the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), Xin later made the change from a scholar to a legislator. She tries to promote legislation in the country with the knowledge she has acquired through her academic experience.

In 1978, Xin graduated from Jilin University, and furthered her studies in the Graduate School of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Three years later, she worked as a visiting scholar at Berkeley School of Law, University of California, in the U.S. During one class on Chinese law, she found that some professors even lectured on the book "Stories of Judge Dee", a historical crime novel set in ancient China by the Dutch author Robert Van Gulik. The folk tale about a Tang Dynasty court judge was taken as a reflection of the actual law of China in the 1980s. Feeling hurt, Xin intended to correct the misconceptions of fellow professors, only to be met with a shrug.

"So you tell me what the law of China is and show me an example," said Xin's colleagues, leaving her somewhat speechless. There were few laws in China at that time, not to mention a sound legal system. "I chose law as my major in an age of scarce laws in the country," she said.

After finishing her studies in the States, Xin returned to her home country at the end of 1986. During the following two decades or so, she worked as a leading scholar at several national-level law institutions, and was honored as one of China's "Top 10 Youth Jurists" in 1999.

During the heyday of her academic study, Xin was elected as a member of the NPC Standing Committee in March 2003. A year later, she was appointed as deputy director of the legislative affairs commission of the NPC Standing Committee, which is responsible for the whole process of national legislation and legislative plans.

During the past years of work at the legislative affairs commission, Xin played an important role in the formulation and amendment of multiple laws, including the "Anti-Secession Law" and the "Compulsory Education Law".

Also, Xin was invited to give central government leaders a lecture on improving the legal system and strengthening the rule of law, in November 2007.

Having grown from a scholar to a legislator, Xin pointed out the stark differences between each role: While scholars need to seek different ways of thinking and to question, legislators are expected to reserve their personal views sometimes, so as to strike a balance in the law system and to meet the needs of the public as best as possible.

"China's development has brought the people material wealth, which is a great achievement; it is more remarkable that we have got an improved law system, too," said Xin.

(Source: thepaper.cn & Legal Daily/Translated and edited by Women of China)

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