Last week, the 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) released its five-year legislative plan (“13th NPCSC Plan”), setting the contours of its legislative agenda through 2023. As a refresher, the Plan consists of three classes of projects, with 69 top-priority ones in Class I, 47 lower-priority ones in Class II, and a few potential subjects to legislate on in Class III. In this and the next post, we will take a deep dive into the new legislative plan, from both qualitative and quantitative angles. Below, we will compare the 13th NPCSC Plan with its predecessor, distill a few themes from the new plan, and highlight some new projects. The Plan is clear evidence that, unsurprisingly, the NPCSC, though the permanent body of China’s constitutionally “highest organ of State power,” does not have any independent policymaking authority but only serves to implement through legislation the Communist Party’s policy directives.
On Friday, the 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) held a Legislative Work Conference and released its five-year legislative plan, which we translated in full below. We will start first with a brief introduction to the NPCSC’s five-year legislative plans in general and an overview of the newest plan.
UPDATE (Sept. 5, 2018): The comments deadline has been extended to October 4, 2018 for all draft laws except the draft Separate Parts of the Civil Code, which will be open for public comments until November 3, 2018.
The NPC Standing Committee is now soliciting public comments on the following draft laws until October 2, 2018 (the deadline is likely not finalized):
- draft Separate Parts of the Civil Code 民法典各分编草案
- second draft amendment to the Criminal Procedure Law 刑事诉讼法修正草案二次审议稿 (English translation & English comparison charts)
- draft Vehicle Acquisition Tax Law 车辆购置税法草案
- draft Farmland Occupancy Tax Law 耕地占用税法草案
- draft Regulations on Fire and Rescue Ranks of Integrated Fire and Rescue Teams 综合性消防救援队伍消防救援衔条例草案
All linked files are PDF documents in Chinese. English translations will be linked to if and when available. The accompanying explanations of these drafts can be read here (PDF).
The 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) concluded its fifth session last Friday and adopted the E-Commerce Law, the Soil Pollution Prevention and Control Law, and an amendment to the Individual Income Tax Law. All three laws will take effect on January 1, 2019. Due to competing offline commitments, we are able to discuss only two laws in relative detail below.
Recording & Review is a series that discusses cases where the Legislative Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee decides on citizen requests to review the legality and/or constitutionality of various types of normative documents, including local regulations and judicial interpretations. Past installments can be found here.
Common sense would answer no. But the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) disagreed—according to its interpretation of a Criminal Law provision that punishes trade in “rare and endangered wild animals.” A Shenzhen man, convicted in 2017 under this provision for buying and selling parrots he himself bred, contested this interpretation before the NPC Standing Committee’s Legislative Affairs Commission (LAC)—the body charged with reviewing judicial interpretations (among other types of documents) at the request of citizens for any inconsistency with statutes. The Commission recently informed the man that the SPC would amend the interpretation. Yet it is far from clear that he won this battle. In this third installment of Recording & Review, we will tell the story of WANG Peng (王鹏) and his parrots.
The Council of Chairmen met on August 17 and decided that the 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) will meet for its fifth session from August 27 to 31. The session will consider at least seven legislative bills, including the much-anticipated draft Separate Parts of China’s first Civil Code, draft E-Commerce Law, and three tax bills. As usual, below we take a look at the legislative bills on the session’s agenda.
UPDATE (Sept. 8, 2018): This post has been updated based on the 13th NPCSC five-year legislative plan.
China currently collects 18 types of taxes. They will generate an estimated total of 8 trillion RMB in revenue for the Central Government in 2018. But only six of them—providing only about a third of the central tax revenue—are imposed by laws (法律) enacted by the legislature, the NPC or its Standing Committee (NPCSC). The rest are governed only by interim regulations (暂行条例) adopted by the State Council—the Central Government itself. The enormous taxing power the State Council now wields was in fact granted by the NPC in 1984. Now, over three decades later, the NPC is reclaiming that power by gradually elevating the interim regulations into laws, with an eye to complete the process by 2020. In this post, we will explain why the NPC made the power grant in the first place and discuss what it has recently been doing to reassert its control over taxation.
August 1 is the tenth anniversary of the entry into force of the Anti-Monopoly Law (反垄断法).
The 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) is expected to convene for its fifth session later this month. The Council of Chairmen is expected to meet in mid-August to decide on the dates and agenda of the session.
The following draft laws have been tentatively scheduled for this upcoming session according to the NPCSC’s 2018 legislative plan:
- draft Soil Pollution Prevention and Control Law (土壤污染防治法);
- draft International Criminal Justice Assistance Law (国际刑事司法协助法);
- draft Separate Parts of the Civil Code (民法典各分编);
- draft amendment to the Land Management Law (土地管理法);
- draft Farmland Occupancy Tax Law (耕地占用税法);
- draft Vehicle Purchase Tax Law (车辆购置税法).
It is possible that the draft amendment to the Criminal Procedure Law (刑事诉讼法) would be submitted for another round of deliberation as well.
In his 2018 Government Work Report, Premier Li Keqiang vowed to “raise the [individual] income tax threshold and create expense deductions for items like children’s education and treatment for serious diseases.” Fulfillment of this promise primarily falls on the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and the State Administration of Taxation (SAT), which managed to draft an amendment to the Individual Income Tax Law and submitted it to the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) in under three months. But the bill did not fare particularly well in the NPCSC. According to reports by Caixin and the Legal Daily, legislators questioned certain main provisions of the draft amendment during group deliberations. Before turning to their opinions, we will first introduce the main content of the draft amendment below.
UPDATE (July 1, 2018): This post has been updated with information from this news release. We will not separately report on the NPCSC’s special session this month unless the resolution contains especially newsworthy content.
The Tobacco Leaf Tax Law (烟叶税法), Vessel Tonnage Tax Law (船舶吨税法), revised Specialized Farmers’ Cooperatives Law (农民专业合作社法), and Decision on the Exercise of Maritime Rights Protection and Law Enforcement Authority by the China Coast Guard (关于中国海警局行使海上维权执法职权的决定; see this post for details) take effect on July 1.
The NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) is currently soliciting public comments on the following bills through July 28, 2018 (see this post for details):
- draft E-Commerce Law (电子商务法);
- draft revision to the People’s Courts Organic Law (人民法院组织法);
- draft revision to the People’s Procuratorates Organic Law (人民检察院组织法);
- draft amendment to the Individual Income Tax Law (个人所得税法).
The NPCSC will convene a special session on July 9–10 to hear a report on inspecting the enforcement of the Atmospheric Pollution Prevention and Control Law (大气污染防治法). In conjunction with hearing the report, the NPCSC will conduct a special inquiry (专题询问) (which senior State Council officials are expected to attend to answer questions) and adopt a resolution related to one of the Communist Party’s three ongoing “tough battles” (攻坚战): preventing and controlling pollution.
The NPCSC’s next regular session will take place in late August.