China now has its first-ever cooperative law. The “Peasants' [literally ?rural people'] Specialized Cooperative Law of the People's Republic of China” was voted by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on 31 October 2006.
China now has its first-ever cooperative law. The “Peasants’ [literally ‘rural people’] Specialized Cooperative Law of the People’s Republic of China” was voted by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on 31 October 2006. Although, as its name implies, it is focused on rural area, it is also very important for our sector for the following reasons:
Although the law is sectoral, it enshrines for the first time in Chinese legislation the key characteristics of a cooperative, such as the freedom of membership, the “one person one vote” principle, the concept of collective interest, the distribution of dividends, etc. This is particularly important for worker cooperatives in China which have so far been faced with a total lack of national standards, while a number of provincial decrees on so called “shareholding cooperatives” are in direct contradiction with the cooperative principles (in particular with the basic “one person one vote” principle).
The law can apply to rural service cooperatives which can take the worker cooperative form. Indeed, the law defines the “Peasants’ Specialised Cooperative” as “a joint economic organisation, based on voluntary union and democratic management, of producers of agricultural products of the same category, or of providers and users of services to agricultural production of the same category” (art 2) (our underlining).
The minimum number of members to establish such a cooperative is five, which is reasonably low and allows its application to the service / worker cooperative category.
Chinese CICOPA member ICCIC-Gung Ho cooperates closely with ICA member All China Federation of Supply and Marketing Cooperatives (ACFSMC), the national cooperative organisation directly linked with the scope of the new law. This is a further guarantee that the law will have a positive impact on our sector as well.
International Organisation of Industrial, Artisanal and
Service Producers' Cooperatives
Secretariat: C/O European Cooperative House - avenue Milcamps 105
1030 Brussels, Belgium
Tel: +32 2 543 1033, fax: +32 2 543 1037