Recording & Review Pt. 2: The Demise of “Conditional Arrest”

Supreme People’s Procuratorate building. Photo by SPP, via Sohu.

In the first installment of the Recording & Review series, we presented a comprehensive introduction to the recording and review (R&R) [备案审查] process in the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC). Beginning with this installment, we will examine cases where citizens and organizations successfully challenged the legality of normative documents using the R&R procedure. While these cases might not be new, a close examination of them will still offer us important insight into the R&R system—on how it actually operates and what its limitations are.

In July 2017, the Southern Metropolis reported that the Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP) had recently discontinued a controversial type of arrest after the NPCSC—more specifically its Legislative Affairs Commission (LAC)—reviewed its constitutionality and legality at the request of Mr. Miao Yongjun, an Inner Mongolian lawyer. Before recounting Mr. Miao’s encounter with the R&R system, we will first briefly introduce the now-abolished type of arrest invented by the SPP.

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NPC Calendar: April 2018

The 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) is expected to convene its second session[*] in late April. The Council of Chairmen is expected to meet in mid-April to decide on the dates and agenda of the session. The Council is also expected to approve the NPCSC’s 2018 legislative and oversight plans at this meeting. These plans will then likely be released in late April or early May.

The following draft laws may be included in the upcoming session’s agenda (the months when they were last reviewed by the NPCSC are given in parentheses):

  1. People’s Courts Organic Law (Revision) (August 2017) 人民法院组织法(修订)
  2. People’s Procuratorate Organic Law (Revision) (August 2017) 人民检察院组织法(修订)
  3. Rural Land Contracting Law (Amendment) (October 2017) 农村土地承包法(修正)
  4. Securities Law (Revision) (April 2017) 证券法(修订)
  5. Soil Pollution Prevention and Control Law (December 2017) 土壤污染防治法
  6. E-Commerce Law (October 2017) 电子商务法
  7. Heroes and Martyrs Protection Law (December 2017) 英雄烈士保护法

[*] It convened its first session on March 21, the day after the 1st Session of the 13th NPC ended. At that session, the 13th NPCSC appointed several deputy Secretaries General, the director of its Budgetary Affairs Commission, the chairman of its Hong Kong and Macau Basic Law Committees, as well as the Vice Chairmen and members of the State Supervision Commission.

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2018 NPC Session: Documents List

The following is a list of all official documents presented to, adopted by, or otherwise related to the 1st Session of the 13th NPC, which concluded last Tuesday (March 20). Xinhua only finished publishing these documents today. Currently, only Chinese versions of these documents are available. Official English translations of four reports (noted below) will become available soon. This post will then be updated accordingly.

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A Guide to 2018 State Council Institutional Reforms

Editor’s Note: On December 13, 2022, we updated this page with an embedded PDF version of our summary of the 2018 State Council reorganization plan, approved on March 17, 2018. We have made no substantive change to our original summary. We also removed introductions to the various types of State Council bodies, which are now available on this page, along with the State Council’s current organizational chart. This page before the update was archived here.

Details of the eighth round of State Council reorganization in the “Reform and Opening up” era were revealed to the delegates attending the ongoing 1st Session of the 13th NPC on Tuesday. Previous rounds took place in 1982, 1988, 1993, 1998, 2003, 2008, and 2013. In this post, we present our own summary of the 2018 State Council Institutional Reform Plan (国务院机构改革方案). The Communist Party on March 21 released the Plan to Deepen Reform of Party and State Institutions, the section of which concerning the State Council is summarized below. While some other parts of the plan also made changes to the State Council’s organizational structure, these changes are NOT reflected in the summary.

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Annotated Translation: 2018 Amendment to the PRC Constitution (Version 2.0)

On March 11, 2018, the 1st Session of the 13th National People’s Congress adopted the following Amendment to the PRC Constitution with 2,958 votes in favor, two against, and three abstentions. Sixteen delegates were absent and one vote cast was declared invalid.

We published the original annotated English translation of this Constitutional Amendment on the day it was adopted. Given the public’s unabated interest in this important document ever since, on February 7, 2019, we comprehensively updated our annotations of the Amendment—in particular those of the changes to the Preamble. We also updated the translation in accordance with our recent translation of the entire Constitution as amended.

The original text of the Amendment and our translation are placed in block quotes below, followed by our annotation of each article. Parts of the text are formatted to enhance readability.

Recommended Citation: Changhao Wei & Taige Hu, Annotated Translation: 2018 Amendment to the PRC Constitution (Version 2.0), NPC Observer (Feb. 7, 2019),

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Demographics of the 13th NPC (Updated)

Editor’s Note: The 13th NPC’s term ended in March 2023. For the demographics of the 14th NPC (2023–), please see this post.

Editor’s Note: This post does not reflect the subsequent changes in the 13th NPC’s membership.

UPDATE (Mar. 11, 2018): We have decided to make the data underlying this post available to the public. You can download the Excel file at this link. The first spreadsheet contains all the raw data automatically downloaded by a web crawler we designed; only the “年龄” (Age) column was added by us. Please also see below for a note on the discrepancies between these data and those provided by the Democratic Parties. The second spreadsheet contains data derived from the raw data. While we do not claim copyright to these data, we would appreciate if we are credited with making them available.

The 1st Session of the 13th NPC, the most consequential NPC session in recent memory, has entered its seventh day. The 2,980 delegates—roughly three-quarters of whom have never held such a position—are set to vote on the draft constitutional amendment in just a few hours. The amendment is widely expected to pass, of course. And all eyes are on the number of “no” votes and abstentions, if any. But who exactly are these delegates, allegedly “hand-picked” by President Xi Jinping and poised to reward him with indefinite tenure? We think now is as good a time as any to dissect the composition of this new NPC.

With the help of an old friend, we downloaded the publicly available information of all 2,980 delegates from the NPC’s website, including their gender, ethnicity, month of birth, jiguan [籍贯] (defined below), and political affiliation. (Unfortunately, information that used to be available, including educational background, is missing for the 13th NPC delegates.) We then analyzed the data and made some interesting findings that we present below.

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2018 NPC Session: Schedule of Press Conferences (UPDATED)

UPDATED (Mar. 9, 2018): This post has been updated to reflect changes to the topic of the Ministry of Commerce’s press conference and the time of the Ministry of Environmental Protection’s press conference.

The Press Conference of the 1st Session of the 13th NPC released a preliminary schedule of press conferences on Wednesday. The schedule is partially translated below; for the names and titles of the officials in attendance, please refer to the Chinese text.

This schedule is subject to change. All updates will be reflected in this post and announced on Twitter. Links to transcripts and videos of the press conferences will be added when available. All times in this post are in Beijing Time (UTC +8:00).

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2018 NPC Session: Agenda and Daily Schedule (with Explanations)

The 2018 NPC session released its agenda and daily schedule on Sunday, after they were approved by the Session’s preparatory meeting and Presidium, respectively. This year’s NPC session will open on the morning of March 5 and close on the morning of March 20, lasting a total of 15½ days (consistent with our earlier prediction). All times in this post are in Beijing Time (UTC +8:00).

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