|Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), presides over the 9th meeting of the 12th NPC Standing Committee in Beijing, China, June 23, 2014. (Xinhua/Ding Lin)
BEIJING, June 23 (Xinhua) -- A bi-monthly session of China's top legislature opened on Monday with bills on food safety and speedy trials for minor offenses on the table.
Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, presided over the opening meeting of the session, which runs from Monday through Friday.
A draft revision to the food safety law was submitted for first reading. It is the first proposed revision of the law since it took effect in 2009.
The bill pledges to impose the harshest civil, administrative and criminal penalties on offenders and tightest punishment on supervisors who neglect their duties.
At the session, lawmakers began to deliberate on a bill that proposes piloting fast-track trials for minor criminal offenses.
Cases could be put on the fast track when facts are clear, the evidence is sufficient, the law is not contested, the defendant pleads guilty and the sentence will be no more than one year or a fine.
A draft revision to improve security at military facilities was tabled for its second reading, stressing coordination between military and civilian authorities and easing the process to approve the transformation of military facilities to civilian use.
Also on the table was a report on implementation of the Patent Law. It warned that the quality of Chinese patents is still poor despite the notable increase of the number of applications.
Lawmakers reviewed treaties between China and Bosnia and Herzegovina on criminal and civil judicial assistance as well as extradition, a treaty between China and Mongolia on transferring criminals and a cooperation treaty between China and Uzbekistan.
Lawmakers are also scheduled to deliberate on a report on the central government's final account in 2013 and an audit of the implementation of the central budget.