Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (Basic Law), was passed by the National People’s Congress (NPC) in April 1990 and went into force seven years later on July 1, 1997—the day when China resumed exercise of sovereignty over the city. On the eve of the 20th anniversary of the implementation of the Basic Law, the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) on May 27 held a high-profile symposium commemorating the occasion, featuring speeches by seven guests, including NPCSC Chairman Zhang Dejiang, who is also in charge of Hong Kong and Macau affairs as a member of the Communist Party’s powerful Politburo Standing Committee. It is not uncommon for the NPCSC to mark the anniversaries of laws it deems important, though yesterday was the first time that it provided transcript of the entire event. The speeches contained many salient points, and below we note the highlights of each in turn.
Editor’s Note: This article was published in May 2017, and the information it contains may be outdated.
The agenda of the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) session last month included an inconspicuous item: reviewing the State Council’s response to the report on the law enforcement inspection of the Environmental Protection Law; this report was previously discussed by the NPCSC last November.
What is an law enforcement inspection (执法检查)? Here, taking the opportunity of the first edition of our new, non-regular series, Scholarship Highlight, we present an overview of this supervisory measure of the NPCSC that is sometimes overlooked. We will also take a closer look at a recent example mentioned above: the law enforcement inspection of the Environmental Protection Law last year. Through this post, we wish to explore whether the NPCSC’s law enforcement inspections can act to further “law-based administration” (依法行政) by the State Council.
Closely examine the packaging of any Chinese consumer product and you will most certainly find in the fine print the letters “GB”—the symbol for compulsory national standards. Sitting at the top of China’s standards hierarchy, the “GB” standards are formulated by the State Council and compliance with them is mandatory. Local governments and private entities may also adopt standards, and in many cases compliance is merely voluntary. Together, these standards prescribe uniform technical requirements for diverse fields ranging from purified water bottling to pharmaceutical manufacturing.
Yet, as the Chinese Government itself has recognized, the current standardization system—established in the late 1980s with the enactment of the Standardization Law (1989 Law)—no longer meets actual needs and has even slowed development. In an effort to modernize the system, earlier this year the State Council submitted to the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) a draft revision to the Law (Draft), which the NPCSC reviewed last month. The Draft essentially aims at restructuring the existing standardization system, and below we provide a summary of its core content.
Update/Correction (May 26, 2017): The comments period for the draft National Intelligence Law now ends on June 4, 2017, NOT June 14. This post originally stated that the Law underwent a second reading at the NPCSC’s April session. This did not happen and we apologize for the mistake.
Update (May 18, 2017): China Law Translate has also translated the draft National Intelligence Law here.
Update (May 17, 2017): The China Copyright and Media blog has posted an English translation of the draft National Intelligence Law here.
The NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) is now soliciting public opinions on the following three draft legislations. The comments period currently runs through June 14, but since the NPCSC has yet to officially announce this round of solicitation of public comments on the frontpage of its website, the deadline might be extended. We will announce any change to the comments period here and on Twitter.
- Standardization Law (Draft Revision) (标准化法修订草案)
- Nuclear Safety Law (2nd Deliberation Draft) (核安全法草案二次审议稿)
- National Intelligence Law (Draft) (国家情报法草案)
The hyperlinks above direct to PDF versions of the draft laws, which are currently in Chinese only. We will update this post and make announcements on Twitter if and when the bills become available in other formats or languages.
We have summarized the draft revision to the Standardization Law here. Also, it now seems unlikely that the NPCSC will release the draft revision to the Securities Law for public comments. (But maybe the delay is purely for technical reasons as the bill contains more than 300 articles—who knows).
Click here to submit comments online. Please refer to our guide if you have trouble navigating the online comments system. The individual pages for the bills also contain notes (in Chinese) on their content.
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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The 12th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) today finally released its much-anticipated legislative and supervisory plans for 2017. Here we will focus on the legislative plan, leaving the supervisory plan for another blog post. According to the 2017 legislative plan, a total of 23 legislative projects are tentatively scheduled (as the plan is subject to change) for the remaining four NPCSC sessions this year, with dozens more listed as preparatory projects. Among them, there is certainly no lack of blockbuster legislation, whether relating to China’s judicial reform, anti-corruption drive, environmental protection, or economic and social development in general.