Editor's note: In 2019, China has adopted a variety of policies in many fields, bringing great changes to people's lives. Let's review those major life-changing policies of the past year.
Kindergarten students learn to sort waste into four categories in a game in Rugao, Jiangsu province, earlier in June. (Photo: China Daily)
1. Garbage sorting rules
How to correctly separate and throw household garbage into dustbins has become a hot topic of discussion, thanks to the garbage classification standards that went into effect.
In 2019, 237 cities at the prefecture level and above have started garbage classification in accordance with a national policy. Shanghai became the first city to enforce its strictest garbage regulation on July 1.
On Nov 15, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development issued unified standard signs for domestic waste classification across the country.
Late-night diners wait outside restaurants in Beijing's Dongcheng district during summer. (Photo : China Daily)
2. Nighttime economy
The nighttime economy was mentioned in a State Council guideline on domestic consumption in August. It refers to business activities between 6 pm and 6 am in the services sector.
These include opening 24-hour convenience stores, extending the service hours of buses, encouraging cinemas and theaters to offer preferential tickets, and advocating for brick-and-mortar bookstores, cultural centers, museums and art galleries to open to the public at night.
Many Chinese cities, especially metropolises such as Beijing and Shanghai, have rolled out plans to support nighttime markets, setting up special zones and extending the operation of public transport.
3. Throwing objects from high up a crime
It's no longer merely immoral when people throw things out of windows from high buildings. In 2019, it has become an illegal behavior that could face punishment.
On Oct 21,the Supreme Court of the People's Republic of China issued a guideline on handling cases of objects thrown from high places. Those who deliberately throw objects from a high altitude shall be punished for endangering public safety, intentional injury or intentional homicide.
Property service enterprises shall also take corresponding responsibility, the guideline highlighted.
Many expressway toll booths are replaced with electronic toll-collection (ETC) devices. (Photo: IC)
4. Popularizing use of ETC
Many physical highway toll stations have been removed to speed up traffic as vehicles installed with ETC devices could pass through nonstop.
On May 28,the Ministry of Transport issued a circular to popularize the use of expressway ETC devices in place of brick-and-mortar toll gates, aiming to reduce emissions and logistics costs and relieve traffic congestion on expressways.
The action plan aims for establishing an electronic toll system for China's expressways by 2025.By Nov 27, the total number of ETC users stood at 174.52 million, reflectingthat91.44 percent of the total issuance task was completed.
5. E-cigarette bans
E-cigarette producers are urged to shut down their internet sales channels and withdraw online advertisements for e-cigarettes.
On Oct 30, the State Administration for Market Regulation and the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration jointly issued a document aimed at strengthening the management of e-cigarettes to better protect minors.
Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Nanning and other places have also banned the use of e-cigarettes in public places. Individuals who break the rules will be fined.
A view of Shanghai metro on Jan 3, 2019. (Photo: IC)
6. New rules for better subway etiquette
After many cities have already issued regulations to ban uncivilized behavior on subways, the Ministry of Transportation on Oct 16 published a detailed nationwide regulation to rectify uncivilized behavior such as eating, littering, urinating and putting graffiti on the subway.
Other offenses such as smoking and forcing train doors to open shall be punished. In addition, subway riders are forbidden to lie down, step on the seats, or play music or videos on speakers.
The policy will take effect on April 1, 2020.
7. Vaccine administration law
To give people peace of mind about using vaccines, China adopted a vaccine law that demands the strictest management by requiring a more effective comprehensive supervision system and tougher penalties for producing and selling fake or substandard vaccines.
The law, China's first legislation dedicated to vaccine management, was drafted in December 2018 following a major vaccine scandal involving Changchun Changsheng Bio-tech, a big vaccine producer in Jilin province. China's top legislature passed it on June 29, and it went into effect on Dec 1.
An electronic information system will be set up to make sure all information about vaccines can be tracked. Those producing or selling fake vaccines will face fines of up to 50 times the value of the illicit products, while substandard vaccine makers or sellers will face fines of up to 30 times the value.
8. Intellectual property rights protection
While China puts a greater focus on emerging sectors such as the development of new varieties of plants and chip designs, the country highlighted intellectual property rights protection in fields when it published a guideline on IPR protection on Nov 24 that pledged harsher penalties for IPR violations.
The guideline also called for efforts to explore the establishment of a system to deal with the relationship between the market approval of a generic drug and the patent status of its branded equivalent, and a drug developer's right to a patent extension based upon regulatory review.
Stronger IPR protection will be enforced on the broadcasting of sports events. The formulation of IPR protection rules for cross-border e-commerce will be accelerated, along with management standards for e-commerce platforms.