BEIJING, March 14 (Xinhua) -- Chief Justice Xiao Yang said here Wednesday that the Supreme People's Court is working to amend a controversial rule which is accused of different compensation for urban and rural residents in one accident.
If everything goes on smoothly, the amendment will be made public after the annual session of the top legislature, or National People's Congress (NPC), which started on March 5 and will end on March 16, Xiao said on the sidelines of the NPC session.
Issued by the supreme court in 2003, the interpretations on personal injury cases stipulate that death compensation should be 20 times the average annual disposable income of urban residents of the previous year, or 20 times the average annual per capita net income of rural residents.
The average annual disposable income of urban residents stood at 11,759 yuan in 2006 while the average annual per capita net income of rural residents 3,587 yuan, resulting a wide gap of 160,000 yuan in compensation if a pair of urban and rural residents died at the same time in an accident.
The rule has sparked hot debates as critics warned "the lives of China's urban residents are worth much more than those of rural residents", or "different prices for lives" in short. Such mishaps did happen in real life.
The supreme court conducted a lot of investigations and researches on the rule last year, and held discussions with legal experts, scholars and the masses to seek their opinions.
However, "the result is that people have different ideas on the issue," Xiao said.
The chief justice did not elaborate more.
An NPC deputy named Liu Aiping had submitted a motion to the top legislature to urge judicial departments to revoke the current rule.