China Considers New Law to Improve Diplomatic Personnel Management

06/23/2009    Source:

China’s top legislature Monday began to review the first draft law on diplomatic personnel which intended to standardize management of diplomats in foreign countries and international organizations and improve their well-beings.

The draft, submitted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the ninth session of the Standing Committee of the 11th National People’s Congress (NPC) for a first reading, said the government should establish a floating mechanism to raise the diplomats’ wages and other benefits.

China has about 5,000 diplomats serving in more than 250 embassies, consulates general and other overseas organizations who were sent by 32 domestic agencies of the central government.

The draft law will be the first of its kind written to regulate Chinese government agents working in the 171 countries that China so far has diplomatic ties with.

If a diplomat’s spouse works for the government, a public institution, a state-run enterprise or is an active-duty military member and decides to move abroad with the diplomatic staffer, he or she could not be dismissed or face any charges from their employer, it said.

The draft only applies to overseas employees with diplomatic rank, not translators, messengers, chefs, drivers and other non commissioned staff.

It also mandates that diplomats intending to marry must have their prospective spouses vetted, and that divorces must be promptly reported.

If a diplomatic spouse acquires a foreign nationality or permanent residence permit, the diplomat will be called back before the overseas tenure ends, the draft said.

Diplomats’ domestic agencies would also have the power to decide if the spouse could accompany them abroad or whether those who remain in China would have government-paid visits to the diplomats.

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