The 12th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) will convene its 33rd—and also the last—session from February 23 to 24, the Council of Chairmen decided on Saturday. Most items on the agenda concern the upcoming 1st Session of the 13th NPC starting on March 5—for example, a list of people invited to observe this NPC session. The 33rd session will also certify results of the elections of delegates to the 13th NPC. The full list of delegates, expected to include around 2,970 names (along with their genders and ethnicities), will be released on February 24. But the delegates’ other information, including political affiliation and educational background, most likely won’t be released until after this year’s NPC session.
The NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) conducted a second reading of the draft Supervision Law (监察法) in late December 2017, but has yet to release the second draft for public comments. With the 2018 NPC session only a month away, we think there is now no realistic possibility that the NPCSC will do so. That said, we do have a copy of the second draft that was released by the China Law Review on its WeChat account. For various reasons, including the fact that this document reflects all the changes made to the first draft as reported by statemedia, we are convinced of its authenticity.
The 12th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) will convene for its 33rd—and last—session in late February. The Council of Chairmen is expected to meet to set the dates and agenda for the session before the week-long Chinese New Year holiday begins on February 15.
This session will certify results of the currently ongoing elections of the delegates to the 13th NPC, which will first convene on March 5. An explanation of the guidelines for these elections can be found here.
We also expect the upcoming session to hear the State Council’s mid-term report on a pilot reform of the social insurance system. Authorized by the NPCSC in late 2016, the reform suspends the enforcement of two provisions of the Social Insurance Law in twelve cities so as to combine the maternity insurance funds and the basic health insurance funds, which would have been run separately under the suspended provisions.
We expect only a few (perhaps one or two) legislative bills to be submitted to the session for deliberation. Possible candidates include the draft E-Commerce Law and the draft Soil Pollution Prevention and Control Law.
(Editing by Changhao Wei)
In a recent exclusive interview with the Legal Daily, LIANG Ying (梁鹰), director of the Office for Recording and Reviewing Regulations under the Legislative Affairs Commission (LAC) of the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC), revealed that authorities are now contemplating significant expansion of the scope of constitutional review (合宪性审查), following the Communist Party’s decision to “advance constitutional review” at its 19th Congress. The theoretical and practical feasibility of the reforms that Liang mentioned was still under research. And it is unknown at this point whether, or when, those proposed reforms would be implemented. But the fact that the authorities have chosen to disclose them indicates similar reforms will be eventually implemented. This interview is thus worth paying close attention to. Some unorganized thoughts follow the summary of the interview. All emphases below are ours.
UPDATE (Jan. 30, 2018): The NPCSC decided to convene the 2018 NPC session on March 5, 2018, as expected. The Party’s proposals for amending the Constitution have not yet been released.
The Council of Chairmen decided today to convene the second special session—also the 32nd session—of the 12th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) from January 29 to 30, 2018.[*] This short two-day session will focus on two things: (1) deliberating a constitutional amendment drafted on the basis of the Communist Party’s proposals for amending the Constitution that were approved last week; and (2) considering a decision to convene the 1st Session of the 13th NPC.
On October 18, 2017, halfway through his mind-numbing three-hour report to the Communist Party’s 19th National Congress, President Xi Jinping called for “advancing the work of constitutional review” (推进合宪性审查工作). We then noted, and Chinese media later confirmed, that it was the first time such expression appeared in Party documents. While the expression might be novel, the concept of constitutional review is not—it has been an inherent part of “recording and review” (备案审查; “R&R”) since at least 1982. For purposes of our discussion, R&R is a process whereby various governmental entities with lawmaking powers record the legislation they enact with the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC), and the NPCSC then, through several established mechanisms, review such legislation for potential violations of the Constitution and national laws and take appropriate actions. The primary goal is to ensure the uniformity in the hierarchical legal system.
As 2017 is about to come to an end, we took some time to review the NPC’s and this Blog’s work in this past year.
The following legislations and decisions take effect on January 1, 2018:
- Environmental Protection Tax Law (环境保护税法; adopted on December 25, 2016)
- Nuclear Safety Law (核安全法; adopted on September 1, 2017)
- Public Libraries Law (公共图书馆法; adopted on November 4, 2017)
- Amendment to the Water Pollution Prevention and Control Law (水污染防治法; adopted on June 26, 2017)
- Amendments to the Judges Law and seven other laws, which replace the unified national judicial exam (国家统一司法考试) with a new unified national legal profession qualification exam (国家统一法律职业资格考试) (adopted on September 1, 2017)
- Revised Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Promotion Law (中小企业促进法; adopted on September 1, 2017)
- Revised Law Against Unfair Competition (反不正当竞争法; adopted on November 4, 2017)
- Revised Standardization Law (标准化法; adopted on November 4, 2017)
The 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party will convene for its Second Plenum this month to discuss proposals for amending China’s Constitution. We expect the NPCSC to hold a non-regularly scheduled session shortly thereafter to draft a constitutional amendment based on the Party’s proposals. We also expect this NPCSC session to adopt a decision to convene the 1st Session of the 13th NPC on March 5, 2018.
Pursuant to a March 2017 decision of the NPC (discussed here), the roughly 3,000 delegates to the 13th NPC will be elected by the end of this month. The 12th NPCSC will certify the results of the elections at its next regularly scheduled session in late February.
UPDATE (Jan. 19, 2018): This post has been updated with links to an English translation of the draft Heroes and Martyrs Protection Law.
UPDATE (Jan. 4, 2018): This post has been updated with links to English translations of the draft revisions to the Procurators Law and Judges Law, and to the draft People’s Assessors Law.
The NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) on December 29 released the following draft laws for public comments until January 27, 2018:
- Procurators Law (Draft Revision) 检察官法修订草案 (ENGLISH)
- Judges Law (Draft Revision) 法官法修订草案 (ENGLISH)
- People’s Assessors Law (Draft) 人民陪审员法草案 (ENGLISH)
- International Criminal Justice Assistance Law (Draft) 国际刑事司法协助法草案
- Basic Healthcare and Health Promotion Law (Draft) 基本医疗卫生与健康促进法草案
- Heroes and Martyrs Protection Law (Draft) 英雄烈士保护法草案 (ENGLISH)
- Soil Pollution Prevention and Control Law (Draft for 2nd Deliberation) 土壤污染防治法草案二次审议稿
All linked files are PDF documents in Chinese. English translations will be posted here when they become available. The NPCSC has also released explanations of these draft laws, which can be viewed at this link.
To submit comments online, please refer to these instructions. The “Occupations” dropdown list for the draft revisions to the Judges Law and the Procurators Law includes a new top item: “Judges, procurators, lawyers, or other legal practitioners” (法官检察官律师等法律从业人员).
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.
The NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) concluded its last session in 2017 on December 27, with the passage of three legislative bills and two decisions. As usual, in this blog post we will summarize and explain the actions taken by the NPCSC yesterday, with a focus on the approved Hong Kong-Mainland Cooperation Agreement regarding the joint checkpoint plan for a cross-border high-speed rail.