If taking a look at the headlines on the wechat official accounts of many courts in P.R.C these days, you may notice that most courts are broadcasting the issuance of "order for community property declaration".

Why such order becomes hot topic in Chinese courts, and why should we care about relevant topics?

The answers may lie in the "Law on the Protection of Rights and Interests of Women" (Women Protection Law) of which the revision becomes effective since 2023 and drawing our attention to this new revision will be especially meaningful in the coming Women's Day.

Overview of the Women Protection Law

Since its issuance in 1992, the Women Protection Law has been revised for 3 times, among which the interval of the first and the second revision are 13 years, but the interval between the second and the recent revision in 2022 is only 4 years, showing that the authorities value more and more the importance of women protection.

The Women Protection Law aims at providing all-round protection of the rights and interests of women in various aspects, including (1) political aspects, (2) personal aspects, (3) educational aspects, (4) work and social security aspects, (5) property-related aspects and (6) marital or family aspects. Meanwhile, the recent revision focuses more on the women's rights in the workplace and in the marriage relationship, especially on the sexual harassment, discrimination in work, as well as personal safety and property safety in the marriage.

Special measures in the Women Protection Law

Firstly, the "order for community property declaration" as mentioned at the beginning of this article is one of the most-advertised special measures in the Women Protection Law.

In the previous divorce cases in P.R.C, it is not rare that a party tensd to hide the common property in marriage to prevent the other party from claiming their property rights, and such behavior is difficult to be detected, let alone to be punished.

However, with the new "order for community property declaration", both parties in the divorce litigation have the responsibility to declare the community property. Once the party that hides the property is found to have hidden the common property which is not properly declared, he/she shall get punishment such as losing the property rights of the hidden assets, and the interest of women is therefore protected.

Secondly, the Women Protection Law emphasized the measure of "personal safety protection order" to protect the rights of the women in various private relationship. Before the revision of the Women Protection Law, the "personal safety protection order" mainly aims at protecting the family members from domestic violence; this revision has enlarged the protected entity to women in pre- or post-marital relationship, so even if a female has not married or has divorced, she can now apply for the "personal safety protection order" according to the Women Protection Law.

Apart from the above mentioned measures, the Women Protection Law also broadens the measures to protect women in other aspects, such as women can seek the protection against sex harassment not only to the civil court, the public security bureau or the authorities, but also to the employers, and the employers are obliged to provide related protection. Many articles have discussed this point in further details and can be taken as reference.

What to do to better protect the women under the Women Protection Law

  • Entities for protection

According to the revised Women Protection Law, related organizations at all levels shall have the responsibility to protect the rights of the women, no matter they are government authorities or private entities.

For example, if the female get harassment in the school, in the work place or in the hotels, all relevant departments including the schools, the employers, the hotel runner or even the residents' committees have the responsibility to report and take necessary measures to stop the infringement, then the authorities like the public security bureau, the civil affairs bureau, and the health department have the responsibility to intervene.

  • Methods for protection

Apart from reporting the illegal behavior which harms the interest of women to the authorities, the relevant entities also have the responsibility to take further action, including intervene the illegal behavior, establish systematic measures to prevent the illegal behavior such as sexual harassment.

  • Liability if failed to protection

Entities with responsibility to report will at least get administrative punishment if fails to provide necessary protection measures, and the punishments may vary from fine of RMB10,000 to 50,000, suspension of business operation and direct punishment to the responsible staff. If the situation is severe, the relevant entity may get criminal punishment as well.

How women can get support under the Women Protection Law

Due to various reasons, many women struggling to protect their own rights and interests are not aware of the details of the Women Protection Law, let alone seeking relevant help. They always hope to solve the problems all by themself, which is not only creating obstacles for themselves, but also has no benefit for the practice of Women Protection Law.

With the implementation of the revised Women Protection Law, all women should not hesitate to seek the various kinds of supports from the society to protect the legitimate rights and interests. Whenever you feel your rights and interests might be harmed, whether such harm is from private affairs or the public fields, please reach out for more assistance, and the better practice of the Women Protection Law will also lead to a more women-friendly society.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.