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.

To quote our previous explainer on how the constitutional amendment process will unfold at the NPCSC:

On the first day of [the two-day] session, the NPCSC will hear an explanation of the Party’s proposals, which will likely be released on the same day. The NPCSC will then proceed to draft a constitutional amendment based on the proposals. In fact, we expect the draft amendment to use exactly the same words as the proposals would, as the NPCSC has never deviated from the Party’s proposals in any way (except in how it numbers the articles, for a new constitutional amendment continues the numbering of articles in the last one) in drafting constitutional amendments. On the last day of the session, the NPCSC will unanimously decide to submit the draft constitutional amendment to the 1st Session of the 13th NPC for deliberation. There probably won’t be any opportunity for public comments.

Members of the Communist Party Central Committee voted on the Party’s proposals for amending the P.R.C. Constitution by a show of hands at the Second Plenum on January 19, 2018. Source: Xinhua

The special session will also review, and pass, a decision to convene the 1st Session of the 13th NPC, likely on March 5, 2018. (Such a decision is typically made in the December preceding the session.) Apart from the usual matters that annual NPC sessions consider (such as the various work reports), the 2018 NPC session will also select a new state leadership, which, for the first time ever, will include the Chairman of the soon-to-be-established P.R.C. Supervision Commission (so named under the draft Supervision Law). In addition, the NPC will deliberate, and approve, the Supervision Law and the constitutional amendment.

NOTE: We do not plan to post a separate blog post on the outcome of this upcoming NPCSC session, because there likely won’t be any new development we have not already discussed above. Should there be any newsworthy development, however, we will update this post instead. Thus, follow us on Twitter to receive notifications of the update or remember to check this post again at the end of this month. That said, we do plan to publish a translation and analysis of the Party’s proposals for amending the Constitution once they are released. Stay tuned.

[*] The first special session took place in September 2016 to deal with the unusual situation where the Standing Committee of the Liaoning Provincial People’s Congress lacked a quorum because over half of its members had been disqualified for vote buying.

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