2020 in Review: A Norm-Breaking Year at the NPC

How best to describe 2020? Challenging. Surreal. Exhausting. And for China’s national legislature, norm-breaking. On this last day of the year, we look back, as usual, at the National People’s Congress’s and our work in 2020. To start, we recount those NPC institutional norms that were burned by the dumpster fire that was 2020.

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NPC Calendar: January 2021

The following laws take effect on January 1:

The NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) is seeking public comments on the following bills through January 29:

Given recent reports that the NPCSC was contemplating Hong Kong-related actions and the fact that it did not hear several routine year-end reports at its recent December session, there is a possibility that the NPCSC would meet for a special session this month.

The NPCSC will convene for its next regularly scheduled session in late February.

NPCSC Seeks Public Comments on Draft Amendments to NPC Organic & Procedural Rules, Maritime Traffic Law Revision, Anti–Organized Crime Law, Anti–Food Waste Law, Two Military Bills & Two Other Bills

The NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) is soliciting public comments on the following nine bills through January 29, 2021:

Draft NameChinese TextExplanatory Document
NPC Organic Law (2nd Draft Amendment)
全国人民代表大会组织法修正案草案二次审议稿
PDFPDF
NPC Rules of Procedure (2nd Draft Amendment)
全国人民代表大会议事规则修正案草案二次审议稿
PDFPDF
Rural Revitalization Promotion Law (2nd Draft)
乡村振兴促进法草案二次审议稿
PDFPDF
Hainan Free Trade Port Law (Draft)
海南自由贸易港法草案
PDFPDF
Anti–Organized Crime Law (Draft)
反有组织犯罪法草案
PDF
(English)
PDF
Anti–Food Waste Law (Draft)
反食品浪费法草案
PDFPDF
Law on the Protection of the Status, Rights, and Interests of Military Personnel (Draft)
军人地位和权益保障法草案
PDFPDF
Maritime Traffic Safety Law (Draft Revision)
海上交通安全法修订草案
PDFPDF
Military Facilities Protection Law (Draft Revision)
军事设施保护法修订草案
PDFPDF

English translations will be provided if and when available. All explanatory documents are in Chinese. The NPCSC also reviewed a second draft of the Coast Guard Law [海警法], a draft Supervisors Law [监察官法], and a draft revision to the Military Service Law [兵役法] at last week’s session, but did not also release them for public comments today.

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NPCSC Passes New Criminal Law Amendment, Revises National Defense Law & Juvenile Delinquency Prevention Law & Establishes Hainan IP Court

The 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) concluded its 24th session on Saturday, December 26, 2020 and adopted six bills. Below, we will summarize them in varying levels of detail. Contrary to previous Hong Kong media reports, the NPCSC did not take any Hong Kong-related action at its session last week.

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NPCSC Legislative Affairs Commission Releases New Responses to Legal Inquiries

The NPC Standing Committee’s Legislative Affairs Commission (Commission) is a professional support body that is indispensable to the lawmaking process. We have previously written a profile of the Commission (now a bit outdated). Among its many functions is the relatively obscure authority to respond to “legal inquiries concerning specific questions” [有关具体问题的法律询问] (Legislation Law [立法法] art. 64). Few of the Commission’s responses to such inquiries have been made public. It has issued thousands of them,1 but had made public only about 200 by 2007. It had altogether stopped the release since then—until September 2020. Late that month, the Commission quietly posted a new batch of responses to legal inquiries online after a thirteen-year hiatus. Below, we first offer a more in-depth look at the Commission’s legal inquiry responses, before turning to the newly released responses themselves.

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