After having kept its 2019 legislative plan a secret, on Saturday, June 20, the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) released its legislative plan for 2020. This plan is divided into four parts. The first part, as usual, lists bills that are scheduled for review this year, while the other three lay down some all-encompassing guiding principles for the NPCSC’s legislative work in 2020. We will discuss only the first part below.
This year’s legislative plan schedules 41 legislative projects for review in 2020, the largest batch ever included in a publicly available annual legislative plan. This year’s plan differs from its previous iterations in two notable aspects. First, it starts with a lengthy paragraph—not seen in prior plans—that puts the bills in several groups and sets forth the larger policy goals behind each group. Second, it does not assign bills to be submitted for an initial in review this year to particular sessions of the NPCSC. Because many of such bills are still being drafted, this year’s plan does away with a rigid schedule presumably to avoid the appearance of constant delay, as oftentimes drafting cannot be completed on time.
The plan was finalized by the Council of Chairpersons on June 1, so it includes bills that had already been enacted or have since been enacted. They are:
- the Decision on Comprehensively Prohibiting Illegal Trade in Wild Animals, Uprooting the Pernicious Habit of Indiscriminately Eating Wild Animals, and Earnestly Safeguarding the People’s Lives, Health & Safety [关于全面禁止非法野生动物交易、革除滥食野生动物陋习、切实保障人民群众生命健康安全的决定];
- the revision to the Law on the Prevention and Control of Environmental Pollution by Solid Waste [固体废物污染环境防治法];
- the Civil Code [民法典];
- the 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];
- Law on Governmental Sanctions for Public Employees [公职人员政务处分法];
- the revision to the Archives Law [档案法]; and
- the revision to the People’s Armed Police Law [人民武装警察法].
Nine other bills have also been submitted for deliberation as planned and are still pending:
- draft amendment to the Patent Law [专利法];
- draft Export Control Law [出口管制法];
- draft revision to the Minors Protection Law [未成年人保护法];
- draft revision to the Animal Epidemic Prevention Law [动物防疫法];
- draft amendment to the Copyright Law [著作权法];
- draft revision to the Administrative Penalties Law [行政处罚法];
- draft Criminal Law Amendment (XI) [刑法修正案（十一）];
- draft Data Security Law [数据安全法];
- draft Rural Revitalization Promotion Law [乡村振兴促进法]; and
- draft Veterans Support Law [退役军人保障法].
The remaining four bills that were reviewed in 2019 will return for further review in 2020 according to the following schedule:
- August: draft Urban Maintenance and Construction Tax Law [城市维护建设税法], draft Deed Tax Law [契税法], and draft revision to the Juvenile Delinquency Prevention Law [预防未成年人犯罪法].
- October: draft Yangtze River Protection Law [长江保护法].
The NPCSC is scheduled to consider another nineteen bills later this year:
- Amendments or revisions (changes to several pairs of laws apparently will be each considered together)
- NPC Organic Law [全国人民代表大会组织法] and NPC Rules of Procedure [全国人民代表大会议事规则]
- Election Law for the NPC and Local People’s Congresses at All Levels [全国人民代表大会和地方各级人民代表大会选举法]
- National Flag Law [国旗法] and National Emblem Law [国徽法]
- Maritime Traffic Safety Law [海上交通安全法]
- Wild Animals Protection Law [野生动物保护法]
- Frontier Health and Quarantine Law [国境卫生检疫法]
- Law on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases [传染病防治法] and Emergency Response Law [突发事件应对法]
- Military Service Law [兵役法]
- Workplace Safety Law [安全生产法]
- New laws
- Supervisors Law [监察官法]
- Land Borders Law [陆地国界法]
- Personal Information Protection Law [个人信息保护法]
- Futures Law [期货法]
- Hainan Free Trade Port Law [海南自由贸易港法]
- Social Assistance Law [社会救助法]
- Legal Aid Law [法律援助法]
- Anti–Organized Crime Law [反有组织犯罪法]
All these laws can be found in the 13th NPCSC’s five-year legislative plan or its recent special public health legislative plan, with four exceptions. First, the Election Law will likely be amended to implement the the 19th Party Central Committee’s Fourth Plenum decision to “appropriately increase the number of grassroots-level delegates to people’s congress.” Second, the National Flag Law and the National Emblem Law are scheduled for changes likely as a result of the Party’s May 2018 plan to embody the “core socialist values” in legislation. Specifically, the two laws will be updated to “strengthen the oversight of the manufacture, sale, and recycling” of national flags and emblems and to foster “respect” for and the “correct use” of national flags and emblems. Third, the Hainan Free Trade Port Law is needed to provide legal support for the Party and the State Council’s plan to turn the Hainan Island into a free trade port. Finally, the Anti–Organized Crime Law will likely codify the measures taken during the ongoing campaign to unroot “underworld forces” [扫黑除恶], which started in early 2018.
Aside from the enumerated legislative projects listed above, the NPCSC’s 2020 legislative plan also includes three more general projects: to accelerate the formulation of legislation to safeguard national security in Hong Kong; to finish the elevation of tax regulations to statutes; and to implement the Party’s other policies and decisions.
The first part of the legislative plan concludes with a list of so-called “preparatory projects”: bills that will eventually be enacted at some point, but are of lower priority right now. They include (bill pages are not available for all preparatory projects):
- Amendments or revisions
- NPCSC Rules of Procedure [全国人民代表大会常务委员会议事规则]
- Organic Law of Local People’s Congresses at All Levels and Local People’s Governments at All Levels [地方各级人民代表大会和地方各级人民政府组织法]
- Prisons Law [监狱法]
- Vocational Education Law [职业教育法]
- Licensed Physicians Law [执业医师法]
- Railway Law [铁路法]
- Agricultural Products Safety Law [农产品质量安全法]
- Audit Law [审计法]
- Anti–Money Laundering Law [反洗钱法]
- People’s Bank of China Law [中国人民银行法]
- Commercial Banks Law [商业银行法]
- Insurance Law [保险法]
- New laws
- Preschool Education Law [学前教育法]
- Family Education Law [家庭教育法]
- Wetland Environmental Protection Law [湿地环境保护法]
- Telecommunications Law [电信法]
- Lotteries Law [彩票法]
- Hazardous Chemicals Safety Law [危险化学品安全法]
- Civil Compulsory Enforcement Law [民事强制执行法]
With contribution by Haoran Zhang
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Comments & Pingbacks
Many thanks, Changhao. Still no word about a formal public consultation? Should we infer that this is unlikely to come at this point, since a next session has been announced without a link to the NSL draft or even announcement of its consideration? Best. Jerry
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I believe you are right: the possibility of a public consultation is close to zero. The best-case scenario is that we get a seven-day comments period next week, but again, this is highly unlikely in my view.