• Many people resign from their jobs at the Great Hall of the People after years of working.

Many people resign from their jobs at the Great Hall of the People after years of working. (Photo : Reuters)

During the month when China's two foremost political organs meet for their third sessions, the course of President Xi Jinping's anti-corruption mission could take a legislative turn if the nation's lawmakers decide to revise Chinese law so that heavier penalties can be applied.

According to a Criminal Law Office representative, the upgrading of the Criminal Law penalties is in accordance with the rapid economic expansion, as well as the corresponding per capita income growth, that the east Asian nation has experienced over the last two decades.

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Wang Aili, director of the Criminal Law Office under the Legislative Affairs Commission of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, spoke with Chinese reporters on Monday, explaining that the primary area of concern is the criteria that is used for the imposition of penalties on Chinese nationals who break the country's embezzlement and bribery laws.

The proposed modification would mean that the benchmark monetary amounts would be abolished and, in their place, three categories that consider the monetary amount involved and the magnitude of the felony would guide sentencing.

The Criminal Law act that is presently in use was first passed nearly 20 years ago and dictates that corrupt officials should be penalized based on the total of the illegal money in question. The benchmarks are as follows: 5,000 yuan (around $817); 50,000 yuan; and 100,000 yuan.

If the law is revised, people who are caught offering bribes will be subject to harsher penalties.

In addition to the replacement of the benchmark system, new provisions in the draft amendment allow for the legal punishment of those parties guilty of bribing state employees as well as their relatives. The NPC is also considering introducing the nation's first press law.