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Postal Law of the People's Republic of China
第一章 总 则
CHAPTER I GENERAL PROVISIONS
Article 1. This Law is formulated in accordance with the Constitution of the People's Republic of China, with a view to protecting freedom and privacy of correspondence, ensuring normal progress of postal work, and promoting development of postal services, so as to suit the needs of socialist construction and livelihood of the people.
Article 2. The competent department of postal services under the State Council shall administer postal services throughout the country.
The competent department of postal services under the State Council shall set up regional administrative organs of postal services as required to administer postal services of each region.
Article 3. The postal enterprises attached to the competent department of postal services under the State Council are public enterprises, owned by the whole people, that operate postal businesses.
According to stipulations of the competent department of postal services under the State Council, postal enterprises shall establish branch offices that operate postal businesses.
Article 4. Freedom and privacy of correspondence shall be protected by law. No organization or individual shall infringe upon the freedom and privacy of correspondence of other persons for any reason, except when the inspection of correspondence in accordance with legal procedures by the public security organ, the state security organ or the procuratorial organ is necessary for the state's safety or the investigation of criminal offence.
Article 5. Postal materials handed in or posted, remittances made and savings deposited by users shall be protected by law, and shall not be inspected and withheld by any organization or individual except as otherwise provided by law.
Article 6. Postal enterprises shall provide users with fast, accurate, safe and convenient postal services.
Postal enterprises and postal staff shall not provide information to any organization or individual about users' dealings with postal services except as otherwise provided for by law.
Article 7. Postal materials and remittances shall be owned by senders and remitters before they are delivered to recipients and remittees.
Article 8. Posting and delivering services of mail and other articles with characteristics of mail shall be exclusively operated by postal enterprises, except as otherwise provided by the State Council.
Postal enterprises may, according to needs, entrust other units or individuals as agents to run businesses exclusively operated by postal enterprises. The provisions on postal personnel specified in this Law shall apply to agents when they handle postal businesses.
Article 9. No unit or individual shall produce false copies or make fraudulent use of special postal marks, postal uniforms and special postal articles.
CHAPTER II ESTABLISHMENT OF POSTAL ENTERPRISES AND POSTAL FACILITIES
Article 10. Standards for establishment of postal enterprises and their branch offices shall be formulated by the competent department of postal services under the State Council.
Article 11. Postal enterprises shall establish branch offices, postal kiosks, newspaper and periodical stands, mail boxes, etc., in places convenient to the masses, or provide mobile services.
Residents' mailboxes for receiving letters and newspapers shall be installed in residential buildings in cities.
Places shall be provided for handling postal business in larger railway stations, airports, ports and guest houses.
CHAPTER III CLASSIFICATION OF POSTAL BUSINESSES AND POSTAL RATES
Article 12. Postal enterprises operate the following businesses:
(1) posting and delivering of domestic and international postal materials;
(2) distributing domestic newspapers and periodicals;
(3) postal savings and postal remittances; and
(4) other suitable businesses stipulated by the competent department of postal services under the State Council.
Article 13. Postal enterprises and their branch offices shall not arbitrarily close down those postal businesses that must be handled according to the stipulations made by the competent department of postal services under the State Council and the regional administrative organ of postal services.
Owing to force majeure or special reasons, if postal enterprises and their branch offices need to close down temporarily or restrict the handling of some postal businesses, they must obtain approval of the competent department of postal services under the State Council or of regional postal administrative organs.
Article 14. Postal enterprises shall strengthen distribution work of newspapers and periodicals. If publishing units entrust postal enterprises with distribution of newspapers and periodicals, they must make distribution contracts with postal enterprises.
Article 15. The basic postal rates of postal services shall be set by the competent department in charge of pricing under the State Council and shall be reported to the State Council for approval. Non-basic postal rates shall be formulated by the competent department of postal services under the State Council.
Article 16. The payment of postage on various postal materials shall be indicated by postage certificates or by postmarks showing postage paid.
Article 17. Postage stamps, stamped envelopes, stamped postcards, stamped aerogrammes and other postage certificates shall be issued by the competent department of postal services under the State Council, and no unit or individual shall be allowed to produce false copies.
The administrative measures on making facsimiles of stamp patterns shall be formulated by the competent department of postal services under the State Council.
Article 18. Postage certificates sold shall not be cashed in postal enterprises or their branch offices.
Postage certificates to be withdrawn from circulation shall be announced to the public, and sales will be stopped one month in advance by the competent department of postal services under the State Council. Holders of such postage certificates may exchange them for valid postage certificates at postal enterprises and their branch offices within six months from the date of the announcement.
Article 19. The following postage certificates shall not be used:
(1) those which the competent department of postal services under the State Council has announced as withdrawn from usage;
(2) those that have been postmarked or cancelled;
(3) those that are contaminated, incomplete or illegible due to fading or decolouring; and
(4) stamp patterns cut off from stamped envelopes, stamped postcards and stamped aerogrammes.
CHAPTER IV POSTING AND DELIVERING OF POSTAL MATERIALS
Article 20. In handing in or posting postal materials, users must abide by the provisions formulated by the relevant competent department under the State Council on articles forbidden to post or deliver and articles to be posted or delivered in limited amounts.
Article 21. The contents of postal materials, other than letters, to be handed in or posted by users, shall be checked on the spot by postal enterprises or branch offices, and if such examination is refused, the postal material shall not be accepted and posted.
Mail handed in or posted by users must be in line with the stipulations concerning the content allowed to be posted; postal enterprises and their branch offices have the right to request users to take out the contents for examination, when necessary.
Article 22. Postal enterprises and their branch offices shall deliver postal materials within the time limits laid down by the competent department of postal services under the State Council.
Article 23. Undeliverable postal materials shall be returned to the senders.
Mail that is both undeliverable and unreturnable, and unclaimed within the time limit stipulated by the competent department of postal services under the State Council, shall be destroyed on the authority of regional administrative organs of postal services.
The incoming international postal articles that are undeliverable and unreturnable, and unclaimed within the time limit stipulated by the competent department of postal offices under the State Council, shall be handled by the Customs in accordance with the law.
Disposal measures for other undeliverable and unreturnable postal materials shall be formulated by the competent department of postal services under the State Council.
Article 24. The remittees of postal remittances shall cash the postal remittances with valid documents at postal enterprises or branch offices within two months after receiving the notice of postal remittances. Remittances unclaimed when such time period expires shall be returned to the remitters by postal enterprises or branch offices.
Remittances which are unclaimed when a period of ten months expires, counting from the date of delivering the return-remittance notice to the remitters, shall be turned over to the state treasury.
Article 25. In posting and delivering postal materials, postal codes shall be adopted gradually, and specific pertinent measures shall be formulated by the competent department of postal services under the State Council.
CHAPTER V TRANSPORTATION, CUSTOMS EXAMINATION AND QUARANTINE INSPECTION OF POSTAL MATERIALS
Article 26. Transportation units operating railways, highways, waterways and airlines shall all have the responsibility of carrying and transporting postal materials, and shall ensure priority to transporting postal materials at preferential freight charges.
Article 27. When postal enterprises transfer postal materials in railway stations, airports and ports, transportation units concerned shall make coordinated arrangement of space and in-and-out passageways for loading and unloading postal materials.
Article 28. Ships with special postal marks, postal vans and postal staff shall be given priority in entering and departing ports and crossing on ferries.
Postal vehicles with special postal marks which need to pass through a lane closed to traffic or to stop in no-parking sections of the road shall be verified and approved by the competent department concerned for passing or parking.
Article 29. When transported by sea, postal materials shall not be included in arrangements for sharing common sea losses.
Article 30. Postal enterprises shall not post or deliver international postal articles that are not examined and allowed to pass by the Customs.
The Customs shall supervise the entry and exit, opening, sealing and dispatching of international mail bags. Postal enterprises shall inform the Customs of their business hours in advance, and the Customs shall promptly send officials to supervise on-the-spot checking and examination.
Article 31. Postal materials that are subject to health and quarantine inspections or animal and plant quarantine inspections according to law shall be sorted out and quarantined under the charge of quarantine offices; no transportation and delivery shall be conducted by postal enterprises without a permit from a quarantine office.
CHAPTER VI COMPENSATION FOR LOSSES
Article 32. Users may present receipts and inquire, within one year counting from the date of the posting or remitting, about vouchered postal materials and remittances which they handed in for posting or remitting at the postal enterprises or their branch offices that took in the postal materials or accepted the remittances.
Postal enterprises or branch offices shall inform inquirers of the results of inquiry within the time limit set by the competent department of postal services under the State Council.
If no result is found within the time limit for responding to the inquiry, postal enterprises shall make compensation first or take remedial measures. Within a year counting from the date of making such compensation, if it is ascertained that the circumstance for which the compensation was made conforms with either item 2 or item 3 of Article 34 of this Law, the postal enterprises shall have the right to recall the compensation.
Article 33. For losses, damage, destruction or missing contents of vouchered postal materials, postal enterprises shall make compensation or take remedial measures according to the following stipulations:
(1) For registered mail, compensation shall be made according to standard amounts formulated by the competent department of postal services under the State Council.
(2) For insured postal materials which are lost or totally damaged or destroyed, compensation shall be made according to the insurance coverage. For missing contents or partial damage or destruction of insured postal materials, compensation shall be made according to the actual losses of the postal materials, based on the ratio between the insurance coverage and the whole value of the postal materials.
(3) For uninsured postal parcels, compensation shall be made according to the actual damages due to loss of such postal parcels, but the maximum compensation shall not exceed the amount formulated by the competent department of postal services under the State Council.
(4) For other types of vouchered postal materials, compensation shall be made or remedial measures taken according to the measures provided for by the competent department of postal services under the State Council.
Article 34. Postal enterprises shall not be held liable for compensation, if one of the following situations occurs:
(1) losses of ordinary postal materials;
(2) losses of vouchered postal materials caused by the user or due to some characteristic of the posted articles per se;
(3) losses of vouchered postal materials, other than postal remittances and insured postal materials caused by force majeure; and
(4) users failing to inquire about or demand compensation at the end of one year, counting from the date of handing in or posting the vouchered postal materials or making the remittance.
Article 35. If disputes over compensation for losses occur between users and postal enterprises, users may request the competent department of postal services of higher levels to settle; users who refuse to accept the settlement thereof may file lawsuits with the people's court; users may also file lawsuits with the people's court directly.
第七章 罚 则
CHAPTER VII PENALTY PROVISIONS
Article 36. Persons who infringe upon the citizens' right to freedom of correspondence by concealing, destroying, discarding or illegally opening mail of another person, where circumstances are serious, shall be investigated for criminal liability according to the provisions of Article 149 of the Criminal Law of the People's Republic of China, and those whose acts are not serious enough for criminal punishment shall be punished according to the provisions of Article 22 of Regulations of the People's Republic of China on Administrative Penalties for Public Security.
Article 37. Postal personnel who without permission open or conceal, destroy or discard postal materials shall be investigated for criminal liability in accordance with Paragraph 1 in Article 191 of the Criminal Law of the People's Republic of China.
Those who commit the crime specified in the preceding provision and also steal property therein shall be given a heavier punishment for the crime of embezzlement in accordance with Paragraph 2 in Article 191 of the Criminal Law of the People's Republic of China.
Article 38. Persons who intentionally damage or destroy public postal facilities such as mailboxes, where such acts are not serious enough for criminal punishment, shall be punished in accordance with the provisions of Article 25 of Regulations of the People's Republic of China on Administrative Penalties for Public Security, and where circumstances are serious, such persons shall be investigated for criminal liability in accordance with the provisions of Article 156 of the Criminal Law of the People's Republic of China.
Article 39. Postal personnel who refuse to handle the postal businesses which should be handled according to law or who intentionally delay the delivery of postal materials shall be given administrative disciplinary sanction.
Postal Postal personnel who are derelict in their duties and bring about great loss to public property and the interests of the state and the people shall be investigated for criminal liability in accordance with the provisions of Article 187 of the Criminal Law of the People's Republic of China.
Article 40. Persons who, in violation of provisions of Article 8 of this Law, handle the business of posting and delivering mail or articles with characteristics of mail shall be ordered by industrial and commercial administrative authorities to return the mail and other articles and the postal fees they have obtained from the senders, and a fine shall be imposed on them.
Parties concerned who refuse to obey the decision of punishment may bring suits to the people's court within 15 days of receiving the penalty notice. If parties concerned neither bring suits to the people's court nor implement the decision after such time limit expires, the industrial and commercial administrative authorities shall apply to the people's court for mandatory enforcement.
Article 41. The meanings of the following terms used in this Law are:
(1) postal materials: referring to mail, printed matter, postal parcels, money orders, newspapers, periodicals, etc. posted and delivered by postal enterprises.
(2) mail: referring to letters and postcards.
(3) ordinary postal materials: referring to the postal materials that postal enterprises and their branch offices do not issue receipts for upon acceptance and posting, and do not request recipients to sign for on delivery.
(4) vouchered postal materials: referring to postal materials such as registered mail, postal parcels, insured postal materials, etc. that the postal enterprises and their branch offices issue receipts for upon acceptance and posting, and for which recipients are requested to sign on delivery.
(5) international postal articles: referring to printed matter and postal parcels posted and delivered between users of the People's Republic of China and users of foreign countries or regions.
(6) special postal articles: referring to postal date-marks, postal tongs for lead sealing and postal bags.
Article 42. If provisions of this Law contravene those of the international treaties concerning international postal affairs which the People's Republic of China has concluded or to which China is a party, the provisions of the international treaties concerned shall prevail, with the exception of the treaty clauses on which the People's Republic of China has declared reservations.
Article 43. The competent department of postal services under the State Council shall, in accordance with this Law, formulate rules for its implementation, which shall go into effect after being submitted to and approved by the State Council.
Article 44. This Law shall go into effect on January 1, 1987.