A new labor law intended to improve the rights of Chinese workers has taken effect.
China's parliament, the National People's Congress, passed the law last June amid complaints of unpaid wages, forced labor and other abuses. The move came after 18 months of deliberation, public debate and allegations that business groups were trying to erode workers rights.
The law, which went into effect Tuesday, aims to improve protection for employees' legal rights, and toughen punishments for government officials who abuse their office.
Some business owners, however, say the new law will raise costs.
Some Chinese companies have been terminating contracts and asking employees to resign ahead of the law's introduction.
The law includes measures that set standards for wages, mandatory contracts and severance pay.
Foreign chambers of commerce and labor activists gave the law's passage a cautious welcome in June, voicing skepticism over its implementation.
The U.S.-based labor rights group, Global Labor Strategies, criticized what it said were efforts by the U.S.-China Business Council and U.S. corporations to weaken the legislation.
The business group denied that it was lobbying against the law, but acknowledged submitting comments to legislators. The council said better enforcement of existing labor laws will solve many of the problems the measure aimed to address.
Some information for this report was provided by AP.