NPC Calendar: June 2020

The Basic Healthcare and Health Promotion Law [基本医疗卫生与健康促进法] takes effect on June 1.

The 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) is expected to convene for its 19th session in late June. The Council of Chairpersons is expected to meet in mid-June to decide on the agenda and dates of the session. The NPCSC’s annual legislative and oversight plans for 2020 may be released after the session.

The session may review a draft of the national security law that would be implemented in Hong Kong under the NPC’s recent, May 28 decision.

The following legislative bills may return for further review:

The NPCSC is soliciting public comments on the following bills through June 13:


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2020 NPC Session: NPC’s Decision on National Security in Hong Kong Explained (Updated)

UPDATE (May 28, 2020): The NPC adopted this Decision on Thursday with 2878 votes in favor, one against, and six abstentions. Its explanation is available here, and an unofficial English translation is available here. We have updated this explainer in accordance with the Decision’s final text. There are two main changes to the draft: (1) the preamble is longer; and (2) and the scope of authorization under article 6 has been extended to “activities” [活动]—in addition to “conduct” [行为]—that endanger national security. Without further evidence, we do not believe the latter change is significant, however.


Readers would probably know by now that the ongoing NPC session’s agenda includes a new draft Decision on Establishing and Improving the Legal Systems and Implementation Mechanisms for Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region [关于建立健全香港特别行政区维护国家安全的法律制度和执行机制的决定]. This new bill was reviewed once by the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) on May 18 and had been kept a secret until Thursday night. We have studied the draft Decision and its accompanying explanation, and now offer the following explainer in Q&A format, focusing on the Decision’s contents and the legal questions it raises. We may add new Q&As in the coming days.

Continue reading “2020 NPC Session: NPC’s Decision on National Security in Hong Kong Explained (Updated)”

2020 NPC Session: Agenda and Daily Schedule

On Friday, May 22, the 2020 NPC session released its agenda and daily schedule of meetings. The Session will open on the morning of Friday, May 22 and close on the afternoon of Thursday, May 28, lasting a total of seven days, the shortest since 1978. The session has not released a full schedule of press conferences; we will update this post when new press conferences are announced. All times below are in Beijing Time (UTC +8:00).

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2020 NPC Session: A Guide to China’s Civil Code (Updated)

UPDATE (July 5, 2020): The NPC adopted the Civil Code on May 28 with 2879 votes in favor, 2 against, and 5 abstentions. We have updated this guide (including all citations and quotations) in accordance with the Code’s final text. We also discussed some of the final substantive changes to the prior draft: additions made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic are listed under the heading “COVID-19 Update,” while other new provisions are incorporated into the summary itself and are indicated in red.


As the NPC comes into session today to review a draft of the People’s Republic’s first Civil Code [民法典], a legislative marathon will soon come to an end. The Code is a massive piece of legislation. Its latest draft includes 1260 articles, teeming with arcane legal terminology. Thus, if you want to read it for yourself, you might find the task daunting. In this post, we hope to make the Code just a bit more accessible. But our task here is a moderate one: we will not (and cannot) do a deep dive into the Code. Instead, we will give a brief overview of the Code’s drafting history, explain its significance, and provide a quick introduction to each of the Code’s subdivisions. We will focus on the new rules in the Code that have caught our attention, as well as issues that have engendered the most heated (sometimes quite public) debates.

All citations to the Code below are to its final version; other sources are not always cited. You can find all relevant legislative documents and prior drafts on this page.

Continue reading “2020 NPC Session: A Guide to China’s Civil Code (Updated)”

A Survey of Legislative Responses to COVID-19 by Chinese Provinces

Five months after China first reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) cases of pneumonia of an unknown cause on December 31, 2019, that disease, now known as COVID-19, continues to ravage the world, causing public health emergencies of a scale unseen in recent history. In response, governments worldwide have resorted to extraordinary measures in an attempt to stop the virus from spreading: from shutting borders to locking down cities, from closing businesses to mandating social distancing.

In China, local (especially provincial) legislatures, like other governmental bodies, have played a part in epidemic response. Acting in an almost concerted fashion, over twenty provincial legislatures[1] adopted decisions dealing with COVID-19—which we will call “COVID Decisions”—in a twelve-day period in early February. These Decisions address the responsibilities of a range of parties: government entities, businesses, medical institutions, social groups, communities, individuals, etc. (All but Shaanxi’s require individuals to wear masks in public, for example). Equally important, the Decisions also grant emergency powers to local governments.

Continue reading “A Survey of Legislative Responses to COVID-19 by Chinese Provinces”