The Council of Chairpersons decided on Tuesday, November 3 to convene the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) for a non-regularly scheduled session from November 10 to 11. This will be the sixth special session the NPCSC has held in less than two and a half years.
Two bills are on the tentative agenda: the draft amendment to the Copyright Law [著作权法] and the draft Veterans Support Law [退役军人保障法] both return for a third review. The former will most likely pass at the upcoming session, and we will offer a summary in our post-session recap. It is less clear what is happening with the latter bill. The NPCSC, in fact, just reviewed a second draft of the Veterans Support Law at its session last month, but did not release it for public comments along with the other bills it also reviewed. The draft’s absence was unexpected, given that the Law’s first draft was made public and received over 820,000 comments—the most comments a single draft has ever received in the NPCSC’s history. In light of this intense public attention, we thought it unlikely that the NPCSC would deny the public another opportunity to comment on a revised draft. We thus do not anticipate that the Law would be adopted next week, but we would not also completely rule out that possibility, given the two recent reviews are occuring in quick succession.
The character “等” in the readout of the Council’s meeting signals that there will likely be additional, as-yet unannounced bill or bills on the upcoming session’s agenda. A draft Decision on Strengthening the Oversight of the Management of State Assets [关于加强国有资产管理情况监督的决定] (approved on Monday by the Communist Party’s Central Commission for Comprehensively Deepening Reforms) could appear on the agenda. The bill or bills could also relate to some time-sensitive issues that need to be addressed legislatively sooner than later, thereby necessitating a special session. We have no clue as to what those issues might be, however.
The NPCSC could also be holding the special session to spread out its workload during the remainder of 2020. Its year-end session in late December is typically quite “action-packed,” so it may have chosen to avoid a longer-than-usual December session by passing a few bills earlier.