China's top court issued a guideline on Monday urging courts to provide stronger legal support to promote rural vitalization and speed up the modernization of agriculture and rural areas.
The guideline, which consists of 26 articles in six parts and was released by the Supreme People's Court, requires courts nationwide to intensify efforts to punish people who commit crimes involving important agricultural products to ensure food safety.
For example, the guideline urges courts at all levels to punish those smuggling rice, corn and grain sugar in a stricter and more timely manner and to increase penalties for people making or selling fake seeds, chemical fertilizers or pesticides.
To promote technological innovation in agriculture, the legal document also demands courts improve their handling of disputes concerning agricultural core technologies to protect intellectual property rights.
The number of IPR case hearings involving new plant varieties and the seed industry should also be increased to improve the quality of seeds and innovation, according to the guideline.
To beautify villages, "every court needs to solve environmental and ecological cases in rural areas efficiently and effectively, with closer attention given to disputes regarding water and garbage pollution, which the public has often complained about," said He Xiaorong, vice-president of the top court.
He ordered courts across the country to provide stronger legal protection on rural environmental and ecological conservation, focusing more on resolving fishing ban cases related to major watercourses, including the Yangtze and Yellow rivers.