Law Explainer: China’s State Medals and State Honorary Titles (UPDATED)

UPDATE (Sept. 17, 2019): On Tuesday, the NPCSC unanimously approved a decision conferring State honors on 42 individuals: 8 “Medal of the Republic” recipients, 6 “Medal of Friendship” recipients, and 28 recipients of various State honorary titles. In a presidential order dated the same day, Xi Jinping formally conferred the honors on their recipients.

Notable recipients of the Medal of the Republic include Tu Youyou, 2015 Nobel laureate in physiology or medicine; and Yuan Longping, known in China as the “Father of Hybrid Rice.” The recipients of State honorary titles include individuals who have made great contributions to science, art, and education, among other fields, as well as those who are recognized as “heroes” or “role models” for their personal feats. Of note, Tung Chee-hwa, Hong Kong’s first Chief Executive, was given the State honorary title of “Outstanding Contributor to ‘One Country, Two Systems'” [“一国两制”杰出贡献者]. Among the Medal of Friendship recipients are current Cuban leader Raúl Castro and former French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin.

Finally, some stats. Just over a quarter (11) of the recipients are female. Among the 36 Chinese citizen recipients, only 7 are ethnic minorities and all but 3 are members of the Communist Party. Ten recipients have been awarded the honors posthumously.


In line with our earlier prediction, the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) will convene for a one-day special session on September 17, the Council of Chairpersons decided on Tuesday. The sole item on the special session’s agenda is a draft decision to confer State honors and honorary titles, presumably on this list of 36 nominees, to celebrate the 70th founding anniversary of the People’s Republic. Below we briefly overview the history of China’s State honors system and the current legal scheme. We will update this post once the conferral decision is adopted next week.

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NPC Calendar: September 2019

The Farmland Occupancy Tax Law [耕地占用税法] takes effect on September 1.

The NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) is soliciting public comments on the draft Encryption Law [密码法] through September 2, 2019, and on the following bills through September 26, 2019:

We expect the NPCSC to hold a special session sometime this month to decide to confer China’s highest State honors on (tentatively) 33 individuals endorsed by the Communist Party. The Party will recommend to the NPCSC that 8 of them be awarded the Medal of the Republic [共和国勋章] and that the other 25 be given (as-yet unspecified) State honorary titles [国家荣誉称号]. You can read about those individuals here (in Chinese).

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


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NPCSC Seeks Public Comments on Draft Healthcare Law & Civil Code Parts on Personality Rights & Tort Liability

The NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) is soliciting public comments on the following three bills through September 26, 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 Law on Governmental Sanctions for Public Employees [公职人员政务处分法] 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 these instructions. 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 Revamps Drug Law, Overhauls Rural Land Expropriation Rules & Passes Resource Tax Law

The 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) concluded its twelfth session on Monday with the adoption of three legislative bills: a revised Drug Administration Law [药品管理法], an amendment to the Land Management Law [土地管理法], and a new Resource Tax Law [资源税法]. Below we take a look at each.

Continue reading “NPCSC Revamps Drug Law, Overhauls Rural Land Expropriation Rules & Passes Resource Tax Law”

At First Press Conference, NPCSC Legislative Commission Reports on Public Comments, Addresses Same-Sex Marriage & Hong Kong

The Legislative Affairs Commission [法制工作委员会] of the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC)—a body that provides essential legislative and research support to China’s national legislature—held its first ever press conference today (August 21). The Commission has designated two spokespersons—the directors of its Research Office [研究室] and Legislative Planning Office [立法规划室]—and indicated that it will hold regular press conferences from now on.

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NPCSC Session Watch: Public Health Laws, Civil Code & Supervision Law Companion Statute

The Council of Chairpersons decided on Thursday (August 15) to convene the 12th session of the 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) from August 22 to 26. Per the Council’s recommendation, the session will consider seven legislative bills. A quick rundown follows.

Continue reading “NPCSC Session Watch: Public Health Laws, Civil Code & Supervision Law Companion Statute”

NPC Calendar: August 2019

The NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) is soliciting public comments on the following draft laws through August 3, 2019 (except for the draft Encryption Law, whose comments period ends on September 2, 2019):

The 13th NPCSC is expected to convene for its 12th session in late August. The Council of Chairpersons is expected to meet in mid-August to decide on the agenda and dates of the session.

The following legislative bills are likely to return for further review:


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NPCSC Solicits Public Comments on Draft Community Corrections Law, Encryption Law, Two Civil Code Parts & Three Other Bills (UPDATED)

UPDATE (July 5, 2019): The NPC Standing Committee today officially started the public consultation. We have updated the deadlines for comments.

UPDATE (July 4, 2019): The comments period has not officially started. We will update the deadline below once the NPC Standing Committee makes an official announcement to solicit public comments on the following bills. In the interim, the drafts will not be accessible on the NPC’s website.


The NPC Standing Committee is soliciting public comments on the following seven bills through August 3, 2019 (except that the comments period for the draft Encryption Law ends on September 2, 2019):

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).

Continue reading “NPCSC Solicits Public Comments on Draft Community Corrections Law, Encryption Law, Two Civil Code Parts & Three Other Bills (UPDATED)”

NPC Observer Seeks Research Assistant

The application for the Research Assistant position has closed.

The National People’s Congress Observer is seeking an undergraduate student or a recent college graduate to join our team as a Research Assistant (RA) starting in fall 2019. The RA will work closely with the Blog’s Manager and will participate in all aspects of the Blog’s coverage of China’s national legislature: the National People’s Congress (NPC) and its Standing Committee (NPCSC).

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NPC Calendar: July 2019

The Vehicle Acquisition Tax Law [车辆购置税法] takes effect on July 1.

The NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) is expected to solicit public comments on the following draft laws this week:

The NPCSC will convene for its next regularly scheduled session in late August.

July 1 marks the 40th anniversary of the enactment of the Criminal Law [刑法] and the Criminal Procedure Law [刑事诉讼法] (among five other important laws). They were the first batch of laws enacted by the full NPC in the aftermath of the decade-long Cultural Revolution.


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