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 (FURTHER UPDATED)

NOTE to readers (July 20, 2018): An organizational chart of the reorganized State Council can be found here.

NOTE to readers (Mar. 21, 2018): 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 in this post. 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.

UPDATE (Mar. 17, 2018): The NPC has approved the State Council Institutional Reform Plan of 2018. We have accordingly updated our summary.


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), along with information that we think would help our readers better understand the Plan. The NPC is scheduled to approve the Plan on Saturday (March 17).

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Annotated Translation: 2018 Amendment to the P.R.C. Constitution (Version 2.0)

On March 11, 2018, the 1st Session of the 13th NPC adopted the following Constitutional Amendment 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 several articles that amended the Preamble. We also updated the translation in accordance with our recent translation of the entire Constitution as amended. Thanks to Taige Hu’s substantial contribution to this project.

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

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