NPC Calendar: February 2018

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)


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NPCSC Now Researching Expansion of Constitutional Review

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.

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NPCSC to Convene Special Session to Consider Draft Constitutional Amendment (UPDATED)

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 yet to be 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.

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Recording & Review: An Introduction to Constitutional Review with Chinese Characteristics

Editor’s Note (Sept. 2, 2020): This post has been superseded by a more recent introduction to the “recording and review” system, which includes discussion of new governing rules.

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” (“R&R”) [备案审查] since at least 1982. For purposes of our discussion,[1] 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 uniformity in the hierarchical legal system.

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