Year in Review: The NPC and the Observer in 2019

As we bid farewell to first decade of the 21st century, we look back today at the National People’s Congress’s and this Observer’s work in 2019.

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NPC Calendar: January 2020

The following laws take effect on January 1:

The NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) is seeking public comments on the following bills through January 26:

The NPCSC will meet for its next regularly scheduled session in late February 2020.


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NPCSC Abolishes “Custody & Education” Detention System, Revises Securities Law & Approves Community Corrections Law, Civil Litigation Reform Pilot

The 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) concluded its fifteenth session on Saturday, December 28. It approved a batch of bills, most prominently a decision abolishing China’s decades-old extrajudicial detention system against prostitution. We will focus on this decision below, while briefly noting other bills it approved. Because the NPCSC (quite unusually) has yet to release the relevant legislative records, we had limited primary sources to rely upon when writing this post. We intend to update the discussion below when more sources become available.

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NPCSC Solicits Public Comments on Draft Civil Code, Export Control Law, Yangtze River Protection Law, Solid Waste Law Revisions & Two Tax Laws

The NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) is soliciting public comments on the following six bills through January 26, 2020:

All linked files are PDF documents in Chinese. English translations will be provided if and when available. The accompanying explanations of these drafts can be read here (PDF).

To submit comments online, please refer to this guide. The “Occupations” [职业] dropdown menu for the draft revision to the Yangtze River Protection Law includes the following options: “state organs and their employees” [国家机关及其工作人员], “public institutions, social groups, and their employees” [事业机关、社会团体及其工作人员], “persons living in the Yangtze River basin” [长江流域所在地人员]; and “other” [其他].

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:

Chinese: 北京市西城区前门西大街1号 邮编: 100805
English: No. 1 West Qianmen Avenue, Xicheng District, Beijing 100805

Please clearly write “[BILL NAME IN CHINESE]征求意见” on the envelope.


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NPCSC Session Watch: Civil Code, Securities Law, Yangtze River Protection, Taiwanese Investments & Export Control (Updated)

UPDATE (Dec. 17, 2019): It appears that a complete Civil Code has indeed been submitted for review at the NPCSC’s upcoming session. Here is an unofficial but authentic draft (PDF).


The Council of Chairpersons decided on Monday, December 16 to convene the 15th session of the 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) from December 23 to 28. The NPCSC will review at least 11 legislative bills at its upcoming six-day session. A quick rundown follows.

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Recording & Review Pt. 6: NPCSC Launches Online Platform for Citizens to Request Legality or Constitutionality Review

If you were looking to read another case in which the Legislative Affairs Commission (LAC) of the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) reviewed the legality or constitutionality of a regulation or a judicial interpretation, you will be disappointed. But in this new installment of our Recording & Review series, we will introduce a new development in the NPCSC’s review of sub-statutory legal documents that is no less important than any substantive action by the NPCSC.

On December 4, the NPCSC officially launched a new online platform for citizens, legal persons, and other organizations to submit requests for review. Previously, they must mail their suggestions to the LAC’s Office for Recording and Reviewing Regulations [法规备案审查室]. We tested the new platform and felt that it is relatively easy to use, though not without several significant limitations. Below we will offer a brief tour of the platform (with screenshots), after a quick introduction of the review process.

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NPC Calendar: December 2019

The Vaccine Administration Law [疫苗管理法], the revised Drug Administration Law [药品管理法], and a decision of the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) approving a three-year pilot program in China’s free trade zones (discussed here) take effect on December 1.

The 13th NPCSC is expected to convene for its 15th session in late December. The Council of Chairpersons is expected to meet in mid-December to decide on the agenda and dates of the session.

We expect the session to review a draft Civil Code [民法典] and a draft Urban Maintenance and Construction Tax Law [城市维护建设税法]. The draft amendment to the Patent Law [专利法] and draft revision to the Law on the Prevention and Control of Environmental Pollution by Solid Waste [固体废物污染环境防治法] are likely to return for further review. The session may additionally consider the following bills:

We also expect the session to review the NPCSC Legislative Affairs Commission’s report on its recording-and-review work in 2019 and to adopt a decision convening the NPC’s annual session in 2020.

December 26 marks the 30th anniversary of the passage and entry into force of the Environmental Protection Law [环境保护法].


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NPCSC Legislative Affairs Commissions Criticizes Hong Kong Court’s Mask Ban Ruling, Signals Possible NPCSC Intervention

To not bury the lede, we start by noting that the Legislative Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) issued a statement (Xinhua’s English report) today (November 19) criticizing a Hong Kong court’s ruling yesterday that partially invalidated a Hong Kong statute for violating the Hong Kong Basic Law, the city’s mini-constitution. The statement suggested that the NPCSC, with the ultimate authority over the interpretation of the Basic Law (see art. 158), might decide to adopt a contrary interpretation. We more fully explain the relevant events and legal arguments below.

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NPCSC Solicits Public Comments on Civil Code Marriage Part, Draft Community Corrections Law, Draft Revisions to Child Protection Laws & Two Other Bills (Updated)

UPDATE (Nov. 5, 2019): This post has been updated with a link to our guide to navigating the NPCSC’s new online public comments system.

UPDATE (Nov. 4, 2019): This post has been updated with links to unofficial English translations of the draft Community Corrections Law and of the draft revisions to the Minors Protection Law and the Juvenile Delinquency Prevention Law.


The NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) is soliciting public comments on the following six bills through November 29, 2019:

All linked files are PDF documents in Chinese. English translations will be provided if and when available. The accompanying explanations of these drafts can be read here (PDF).

The NPCSC also reviewed a draft Biosecurity Law [生物安全法] at its latest session, but did not also release this bill for public comments. It is unclear whether and when it will do so.

To submit comments online, please refer to this guide. The “Occupations” dropdown menus for the draft revisions to the Minors Protection Law and the Juvenile Delinquency Prevention Law include these options: “minors” [未成年人]; “minors’ parents or other guardians” [未成年人的父母或者其他监护人]; “professional social workers” [专业社工]; “teachers” [教师]; “lawyers” [律师]; “employees of villagers’ committees or urban residents’ committees, or community workers” [村委会、居委会或者社区工作人员]; “employees of governmental organs” [政府机关工作人员]; “judges” [法官]; “procurators” [检察官]; and “employees of mass organizations” [群团组织工作人员]. The dropdown menus inexplicably do not include an “other” option.

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:

Chinese: 北京市西城区前门西大街1号 邮编: 100805
English: No. 1 West Qianmen Avenue, Xicheng District, Beijing 100805

Please clearly write “[BILL NAME IN CHINESE]征求意见” on the envelope.


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NPC Calendar: November 2019

The amendment to the Trademark Law [商标法] takes effect on November 1.

The NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) is expected to solicit public comments on the following bills early this month:

The NPCSC will meet for its next regularly scheduled session in late December.


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