A decision of the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) suspending certain statutory provisions in China’s free trade zones as part of a regulatory reform pilot (briefly discussed here) takes effect on July 1. The revised Administrative Penalties Law [行政处罚法] takes effect on July 15.
The NPCSC is soliciting public comments on the following bills through July 9:
The NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) concluded another busy session on Thursday, June 10 with the adoption of eight bills. Two of them—the Anti–Foreign Sanctions Law [反外国制裁法] and the Data Security Law [数据安全法]—have already received worldwide attention and are sure to generate additional commentary in the days and weeks to come. Rather than adding duplicative coverage (beyond our Twitter thread on the sanctions law), we will try something new in this post-session recap. We will steer clear of the two blockbuster bills and will instead focus on two themes found in last week’s other legislation that may have escaped your attention.
China’s former one-child policy was “one of the most draconian examples of government social engineering ever seen.” The policy was formally launched nationwide in 1980. In just a few years, however, central authorities decided to “open small holes” by allowing more couples to have a second child, after encountering difficulties in enforcing a uniform birth-control policy nationwide and a backlash against abusive enforcement measures, such as forced sterilizations.
The provinces were tasked with implementing that partial relaxation of the one-child policy. All provincial legislatures (except those of Xinjiang and Tibet) had adopted provincial birth-control legislation by the early 1990s. (Xinjiang eventually did so in 2002; Tibet still has not acted.) Such legislation translates the policy into concrete terms, specifying, among other things, exceptions to the one-child-per-couple rule and the penalties for above-quota births. Couples who exceed birth limits would face not only hefty fines called “social upbringing fees” [社会抚养费], but also discipline at work—including mandatory termination in a number of provinces.
UPDATE (June 7, 2021): Xinhua reported on June 7 that the NPCSC is also reviewing a draft Anti–Foreign Sanctions Law [反外国制裁法], which underwent a secret first review at the NPCSC’s April session, as well as a draft decision granting the Shanghai legislature authority to enact “Pudong New Area regulations” for the city’s Pudong New Area, an authority that appears comparable to that of cities encompassing special economic zones. Both bills are expected to pass on Thursday, June 10.
On Wednesday, May 26, the Council of Chairpersons decided to convene the 29th session of the 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) from June 7 to 10. This session is earlier than a regular NPCSC session, which typically takes place near the end of a month. This could mean either that the NPCSC is holding another session later this month, consistent with a recent Communist Party directive to add legislative sessions to speed up the pace of legislation; or that the NPCSC is making way for the Party’s centenary celebrations around July 1. Some urgent matter could also have required the NPCSC to meet earlier, but we have yet to see any such indication. The NPCSC will review at least ten bills at its upcoming session. A quick rundown follows.
English translations will be provided if and when available. All explanatory documents are in Chinese. The NPCSC also reviewed a draft Land Borders Law [陆地国界法], but did not also release it for public comments today.
To submit comments online, please refer to this guide. Comments can also be mailed to the NPCSC Legislative Affairs Commission [全国人大常委会法制工作委员会] at the following address:
On Wednesday, April 21, the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) released its legislative plan for 2021 (Plan). The Plan was preliminarily approved in November 2020 and finalized by the Council of Chairpersons on April 16. The NPCSC’s annual legislative plans serve two primary purposes: listing bills that are scheduled for review or research each year, and laying down guiding principles for all facets of the NPCSC’s annual legislative work. As usual, we will focus on the NPCSC’s 2021 legislative agenda below.