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Law of the People's Republic of China on Protecting Against and Mitigating Earthquake Disasters

(Adopted at the 29th Meeting of the Standing Committee of the Eighth  National People's Congress

 on December 29, 1997)


CHAPTER I GENERAL PROVISIONS 

Article 1 This Law is enacted in order to protect against and mitigate  earthquake disasters, ensure the safety of the people's lives and  property and the smooth progress of the socialist drive.

Article 2 This Law shall be applicable to earthquake monitoring and  prediction, protection against earthquake disasters, measures for  earthquake emergencies, post-earthquake relief and reconstruction, etc. which   are carried out within the territory of the People's Republic of China  (hereinafter referred to as protection against and mitigation of earthquake  disasters for short).

Article 3 In the effort to protect against and mitigate earthquake  disasters the principle of combining protective measures with rescue  efforts while putting stress on the former shall be applied.

Article 4 Protection against and mitigation of earthquake disasters shall   be incorporated into plans for national economic and social  development.

Article 5 The State encourages and supports scientific and technological  research in protection against and mitigation of earthquake disasters and  spreads the use of advanced research results in order to improve the work of  protection against and mitigation of earthquake disasters.

Article 6 People's governments at different levels shall strengthen  leadership over the work of protection against and mitigation of  earthquake disasters and mobilize the relevant departments to take  measures for successful protection against and mitigation of earthquake  disasters.

Article 7 Under the leadership of the State Council, the competent  administrative departments under the State Council that are responsible  respectively for seismic work, comprehensive management of the economy,  construction, civil affairs and the other relevant departments shall join  efforts and closely coorperate with each other, while acting in accordance  with the division of their functions and duties, to make a success of the  work for protection against and mitigation of earthquake disasters.

The administrative departments or institutions for seismic work and the other   departments concerned under the local people's governments at or above the  county level shall, under the leadership of the said people's governments,  join efforts and closely cooperate with each other, while acting in  accordance with the division of their functions and duties, to make a  success of the work for protection against and mitigation of earthquake  disasters within their own administrative areas.

Article 8 All units and individuals are obligated to take part in  protecting against and mitigating earthquake disasters in accordance with  law.

The Chinese People's Liberation Army, the Chinese People's Armed Police  Forces and the People's Militia shall carry out the tasks of protecting  against and mitigating earthquake disasters assigned to them by the  State.

CHAPTER II EARTHQUAKE MONITORING AND PREDICTION

Article 9 The State strengthens the work of earthquake monitoring and  prediction, encourages and gives aid to scientific and technological  research in earthquake monitoring and prediction in order to promote such  monitoring and prediction gradually.

Article 10 The competent administrative department for seismic work under   the State Council shall be responsible for formulating national plans of  earthquake monitoring and prediction and making arrangements for their  implementation.

The administrative departments for seismic work under the people's  governments of provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under  the Central Government shall be responsible for formulating plans of  earthquake monitoring and prediction for their own administrative areas in  accordance with the national plans of earthquake monitoring and prediction  and making arrangements for their implementation respectively.

Article 11 The competent administrative department for seismic work under   the State Council shall, on the basis of the tendency of seismicity,   submit suggestions on delimiting key areas for earthquake surveillance and  protection to the State Council for approval.

The administrative departments or institutions for seismic work under the  people's governments at or above the county level located in the key areas  for earthquake surveillance and protection shall improve their work in  earthquake monitoring, work out plans for short-term and imminent  earthquake prediction, establish the system for the tracking of and  consultation about earthquake situations and enhance their capability  of earthquake monitoring and prediction.

Article 12 The competent administrative department for seismic work under   the State Council and the administrative departments or  institutions for seismic work under the local people's governments at or above   the county level shall improve their work in examining,  transmitting, analysing and processing information about seismicity and  precursors of earthquakes and in forecasting the place, time and  magnitude of a possible earthquake.

Article 13 The State makes unified plans for the building of earthquake  monitoring stations and networks, and divides them into different levels and  types for their administration.

The national earthquake monitoring network is composed of the primary  national earthquake monitoring stations and the earthquake monitoring  stations at the provincial, municipal and county levels, and the  investment needed for its building shall be borne by the central and local   governments according to the principle of unified administrative and  financial powers.

An earthquake monitoring station and network for the use of a particular unit  shall be built with the investment of that unit, administered by it and  brought under the guidance of the administrative department or  institution for seismic work under the local people's government at or above  the county level.

Article 14 The State protects the facilities for earthquake monitoring and  the environment for seismicity observation in accordance with law. No unit or  individual may jeopardize such facilities or environment. The area of the  environment for seismicity observation shall be delimited for protection  in conformity with the requirement that there be no disturbance sources  in the neighborhood that affect the operating efficiency of the  earthquake monitoring facilities.

The facilities for earthquake monitoring mentioned in this Law refers to the  monitoring facilities, equipment, instruments used at the earthquake  monitoring stations and other such facilities, equipment and instruments  provided in accordance with the regulations of the competent  administrative department for seismic work under the State Council.

Article 15 In building, expanding or rebuilding a project, attention shall   be paid to avoiding jeopardizing the facilities for earthquake monitoring  and the environment for seiemicity observation. Where it is truly impossible  to avoid it, the unit concerned shall obtain approval of the competent  administrative department for seismic work under the State Council or the  administrative department or institution for seismic work under the local  people's government at or above the county level authorized by the said  department under the State Council and take the necessary measures as  required by the State Council before it may start building, expanding or  rebuilding the project.

Article 16 The State adopts the practice of unified release of  earthquake prediction.

Short-term and imminent earthquake prediction shall be released by the  people's governments of provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities  directly under the Central Government in accordance with the procedures  prescribed by the State Council.

All units and specialists engaged in seismic work shall submit their  predictions about short-term or imminent earthquakes to the competent  administrative department for seismic work under the State Council or to the  administrative departments or institutions for seismic work under the local  people's governments at or above the county level, which shall deal with  them in accordance with the provisions of the preceding paragraph; they  may not spread their predictions to the public without authorization.

CHAPTER III PROTECTION AGAINST EARTHQUAKE DISASTERS

Article 17 The projects built, expanded or rebuilt shall meet the  requirements for seismic resistance.

Construction projects other than the ones mentioned in paragraph 3 of this  Article shall be fortified against earthquakes in compliance with the  seismic-resistance requirements specified in the seismic intensity zoning  map or the ground motion parameter zoning map issued by the State.

Seismic safety shall be evaluated for major construction projects and the  construction projects which may induce serious secondary disasters. The  requirements for fortification against earthquakes, which shall be drawn up  on the basis of the results of seismic safety evaluation, shall be fulfilled.

The major construction projects mentioned in this Law refer to projects which  are of great value to or have a vital bearing on the society.

The construction projects which may induce serious secondary disasters  mentioned in this Law refer to construction projects which may, as a  result of earthquake damage, lead to flood, fire, explosion, leak of a large   amount of hypertoxic or strong corrosive materials and other serious  secondary disasters, including such projects as large dams, embankments,  petroleum and gas tanks and the facilities storing inflammables or  explosive substances, hypertoxic or strong corrosive materials and other  construction projects which may induce serious secondary disasters.

For the construction projects such as nuclear power plants and nuclear  facilities, which may lead to serious secondary disasters due to  radioactive contamination in the wake of earthquake damage, seismic  safety shall be evaluated carefully and the projects shall be fortified  against earthquakes strictly in accordance with law.

Article 18 The competent administrative department for seismic work under  the State Council shall be responsible for drawing up the seismic intensity  zoning map or the ground motion parameter zoning map and for examining and  granting approval of seismic safety evaluation results.

The competent administrative department for construction under the State  Council shall be responsible for working out the standard aseismatic  design for construction projects of all kinds of houses and buildings and  the facilities attached to them and of the urban utilities, except as  otherwise provided in paragraph 3 of this Article.

The competent administrative departments for railways, communications, civil   aviation, water conservancy and other specialized departments concerned  under the State Council shall be responsible for working out the standard  aseismatic design for construction projects of railways, highways, ports,  wharfs, airports, water conservancy and other special projects respectively.

Article 19 All construction projects shall be designed in compliance with  the requirements for fortification against earthquakes and in conformity  with the standard aseismatic design and shall be constructed in accordance  with the design.

Article 20 The following buildings and structures without the necessary  fortifications against earthquakes shall be appraised for their  earthquake-resistance capability in accordance with relevant State  regulations, and the necessary measures of reinforcement shall be taken:

(1) buildings and structures which come under the category of major  construction projects;

(2) buildings and structures which may induce serious secondary  disasters;

(3) buildings and structures which are of great cultural relic value and are  memorable; and

(4) buildings and structures which are located in the key areas under  surveillance for and protection against earthquakes.

Article 21 The local people's governments concerned shall take  appropriate and effective measures for sources of the secondary  disasters such as fires, floods, landslides, radioactive contaminations and  epidemic diseases that may arise in the wake of earthquakes.

Article 22 The competent administrative department for seismic work under   the State Council and the administrative departments or  institutions for seismic work under the local people's governments at or above  the county level shall, together with the departments concerned at the  corresponding level, work out plans for protecting against and mitigating   earthquake disasters on the basis of the prediction of the possible  earthquake situation and earthquake disasters and put them into effect upon  approval of the people's government at the same level.

Revision of the plans for protecting against and mitigating earthquake  disasters shall be submitted for approval to the authorities that  originally approved them.

Article 23 People's governments at all levels shall mobilize the  departments concerned to disseminate knowledge about the importance of  protecting against and mitigating earthquake disasters, enhancing the  citizens' awareness of such importance and help increasing citizens'  capability of self-and mutual-rescue from earthquake disasters; and  improve the training of specialists in this field so as to enhance their  ability of dealing with emergencies and providing disaster relief.

Article 24 The local people's governments at or above the county level in  the key areas under surveillance for and protection against  earthquakes shall, in the light of actual need and possibility, allocate an  appropriate amount of funds and materials for earthquake relief from their  financial budgets and materials reserve.

Article 25 The State encourages units and individuals to insure against  earthquake disasters.

CHAPTER IV MEASURES FOR EARTHQUAKE EMERGENCIES

Article 26 The competent administrative department for seismic work under   the State Council shall, together with the departments concerned under the  State Council, draw up national emergency preplans for destructive  earthquakes and submit them to the State Council for approval.

The departments concerned under the State Council shall formulate their own  emergency preplans for destructive earthquakes in accordance with the  national emergency preplans for destructive earthquakes and submit them to  the competent administrative department for seismic work under the State  Council for the record.

The competent administrative departments or institutions for seismic work  under the local people's governments at or above the county level in areas  where destructive earthquakes may occur shall, together with the  departments concerned, work out emergency preplans for destructive  earthquakes in their own administrative areas in the light of the  national emergency preplans for destructive earthquakes and submit them to  the said people's governments for approval. All such emergency preplans  for provinces, autonomous regions and cities with a population of over one  million shall, in addition, be submitted to the competent administrative  department for seismic work under the State Council for the record.

The destructive earthquakes mentioned in this Law refer to earthquakes that  cause casualties and property losses.

Article 27 The State encourages and gives aid to research and  development of technology and equipment for earthquake emergency and  rescue.

The local people's governments at or above the county level in areas where   destructive earthquakes may occur shall charge the departments concerned  with the duty of reserving equipment necessary for earthquake emergency and  rescue and training people to use them.

Article 28 An emergency preplan for a destructive earthquake mainly  includes the following:

(1) composition and functions and duties of an emergency institution,

(2) guarantee of emergency telecommunications;

(3) preparation of manpower, funds and materials for rescue and disaster  relief;

(4) preparation of emergency and rescue equipment;

(5) preparation for disaster evaluation; and

(6) a plan for emergency actions.

Article 29 After the release of prediction for an imminent destructive  earthquake, the people's governments of the provinces, autonomous  regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government  concerned may declare that the areas covered in the prediction enter the  emergency period of an imminent earthquake; the local people's  governments concerned shall, in accordance with the emergency preplan for  destructive earthquakes, see to it that the relevant departments mobilize  the community to make good preparations for disaster relief and rescue.

Article 30 After the occurrence of a severely destructive earthquake which   causes tremendous losses, the State Council shall set up a  headquarters for resisting the earthquake and providing disaster relief, which   shall mobilize the departments concerned to implement the emergency  preplan for destructive earthquakes. An office of the said headquarters  shall be set up in the competent administrative department for seismic work  under the State Council.

After the occurrence of a destructive earthquake, the local people's  governments at or above the county level concerned shall set up  headquarters for resisting earthquake and providing disaster relief, which   shall mobilize the departments concerned to implement the emergency  preplan for destructive earthquakes.

A severely destructive earthquake as mentioned in this Law refers to an  earthquake which causes heavy casualties and property losses, rendering  people in the disaster-stricken area unable or partially unable to  rehabilitate themselves and making it necessary for the State to take  appropriate actions.

Article 31 The local people's governments at different levels in  earthquake-stricken areas shall promptly inform the people's governments at  the next higher level of the earthquake situation and the disasters inflicted  and other developments; the people's governments of provinces, autonomous  regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government in  the earthquake-stricken areas shall, in accordance with the relevant  regulations of the State Council, make known to the general public the  earthquake situation and the disasters inflicted.

The competent administrative department for seismic work under the State  Council or the administrative departments for seismic work under the  people's governments of provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities  directly under the Central Government shall, together with the  departments concerned, promptly investigate and assess the losses caused by  the earthquake. The findings shall be reported to the said people's  governments without delay.

Article 32 After the occurrence of a severely destructive earthquake, the  State Council or the people's governments of provinces, autonomous regions  and municipalities directly under the Central Government may take the  following emergency measures in the earthquake-stricken areas in order to   deal with the emergency, provide disaster relief and maintain public  order:

(1) traffic control;

(2) centralized provision and distribution of basic daily necessities such  as foods;

(3) temporary requisition of houses, transportation vehicles and  telecommunications equipment, etc.; and

(4) other necessary emergency measures.

CHAPTER V POST-EARTHQUAKE RELIEF AND RECONSTRUCTION

Article 33 After the occurrence of a destructive earthquake, the local  people's governments at all levels in the earthquake-stricken areas shall   mobilize forces from all quarters to rescue people and mobilize grassroots  units and personnel for self- and mutual-rescue. The local people's  governments at all levels in non-earthquake-stricken areas shall mobilize  people from all sectors of society to provide aid to the earthquake-stricken  areas in the light of the earthquake situation and the disasters inflicted.

After the occurrence of a severely destructive earthquake, the State  Council shall provide aid to the earthquake-stricken areas and charge the  competent department for comprehensive management of the economy with the  duty of coordinating the efforts for disaster relief in an all- round way and,  together with the relevant departments under the State Council, make an  overall plan for the distribution of relief funds and materials.

Article 34 The local people's governments at or above the county level in  earthquake-stricken areas shall mobilize health and medical  institutions and other departments or units concerned to provide medical aid  to the wounded and do a good job of sanitation and epidemic  prevention.

Article 35 The local people's governments at or above the county level in  earthquake-stricken areas shall mobilize the civil affairs  authorities and other departments or units concerned to lose no time in  setting up shelters and stations for the supply of relief goods and  materials, make proper arrangements for the daily life of the victims, and  help them to evacuate and settle down in new places.

Article 36 The local people's governments at or above the county level in  earthquake-stricken areas shall mobilize the traffic, post and  telecommunications and construction authorities and other departments or units   concerned to take measures to quickly restore the disrupted traffic,  communications, water supply, drainage, power, gas and petroleum  supply and other facilities, and take urgent protective measures against  sources of secondary disasters.

Article 37 The local people's governments at or above the county level in  earthquake-stricken areas shall mobilize public security organs and the  other departments concerned to strengthen public security  administration and improve security work in order to prevent and crack down  on various criminal activities and maintain public order.

Article 38 The houses, transportation vehicles and telecommunications  equipment temporarily requisitioned for disaster relief shall be  returned immediately afterwards; proper compensation shall be made or other  measures shall be taken, according to the relevant regulations of the State  Council, for those damaged or unreturnable.

Article 39 All units and individuals shall, during the relief period after   an earthquake, abide by rules of discipline and laws, observe social  ethics, obey orders and help maintain public order  conscientiously.

Article 40 No unit or individual may withhold or embezzle funds and goods  set aside for disaster relief.

The auditing authorities of the people's governments at different levels shall  through auditing exercise strict supervision over the use of funds set aside  for disaster relief.

Article 41 The local people's governments at or above the county level in  earthquake-stricken areas shall, in the light of the earthquake disasters   and the requirements for seismic resistance, make overall plans for the  reconstruction of such areas.

Article 42 The State protects typical earthquake ruins and sites in  accordance with law.

The protection of typical earthquake ruins and sites shall be  incorporated into plans for the reconstruction of the earthquake-  stricken areas.

CHAPTER VI LEGAL LIABILITY 

Article 43 Whoever, in violation of the provisions of this Law, commits one  of the following acts shall be ordered by the competent  administrative department for seismic work under the State Council or the  administrative department or institution for seismic work under the local  people's government at or above the county level to stop violating the Law  and to put the place back to its former state or take other remedial  measures; if the circumstances are serious, the offender may be fined not less  than 5,000 yuan but not more than 100,000 yuan; if losses are caused, the  offender shall bear civil liability in accordance with law; if the offence   constitutes a crime, the offender shall be investigated for criminal  liability in accordance with law:

(1) building, expanding or rebuilding projects which jeopardize the  facilities for earthquake monitoring or the environment for seismicity  observation, and doing it without obtaining approval in advance in  accordance with law or taking the necessary measures; or

(2) destroying typical earthquake ruins or sites.

Article 44 Any construction unit that, in violation of the provisions in  paragraph 3 of Article 17 of this Law, fails to conduct seismic safety  evaluation or provide fortification against earthquakes in compliance with  the requirements for such fortification, which are drawn up on the basis of  the results of seismic safety evaluation, shall be ordered by the competent  administrative department for seismic work under the State Council or the  administrative department or institution for seismic work under the local  people's government at or above the county level to set it right and be  fined not less than 10,000 yuan but not more than 100,000 yuan.

Article 45 Any unit that, in violation of the provisions of this Law,  commits one of the following acts shall be ordered by the administrative  department for construction or a department concerned under the people's  government at or above the county level, within the limits of its powers and  duties, to set it right and be fined not less than 10,000 yuan but not more  than 100,000 yuan:

(1) failing to have construction projects designed in conformity with the  standard aseismatic design; or

(2) failing to carry out construction in accordance with the aseismatic  design.

Article 46 Whoever withholds or embezzles funds or goods set aside for  earthquake disaster relief, if the offence constitutes a crime, shall be  investigated for criminal liability in accordance with law; otherwise, he  shall be given administrative sanctions.

Article 47 Any State functionary who abuses his power, neglects his duty or  commits malpractices for selfish ends, if the offence constitutes a crime,  shall be investigated for criminal liability in accordance with law;  otherwise, he shall be given administrative sanctions.

CHAPTER VII SUPPLEMENTARY PROVISIONS

Article 48 This law shall come into force as of March 1, 1998.  

(This English version is for your reference only.In case any discrepancy exists between the Chinese and English context, the Chinese version shall prevail.)

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