NPC Calendar: March 2022

The following legislation takes effect on March 1:

The Decision on the System of Ranks for the Active-Duty Soldiers of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army [关于中国人民解放军现役士兵衔级制度的决定] (adopted Feb. 28, 2022) takes effect on March 31.

China’s 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) will convene for its fifth and final annual session on Saturday, March 5. The session’s tentative agenda includes the following items:

  • Deliberate the Government Work Report;
  • Deliberate work reports by the NPC Standing Committee, the Supreme People’s Court, and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate;
  • Review a report on the execution of the 2021 National Economic and Social Development Plan and on the draft 2022 National Economic and Social Development Plan; and review the draft 2022 National Economic and Social Development Plan;
  • Review a report on the execution of the 2021 Central and Local Budgets and on the draft 2022 Central and Local Budgets; and review the draft 2022 Central and Local Budgets;
  • Deliberate a draft amendment to the 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];
  • Deliberate a draft Decision on Issues Concerning the Quotas and Elections of Delegates to the 14th NPC [关于第十四届全国人民代表大会代表名额和选举问题的决定]; and
  • Deliberate two draft measures for electing delegates to the 14th NPC from Hong Kong and Macao, respectively.

On March 4, the NPC session will convene for a preparatory meeting to select members of the Presidium (an ad hoc body of around 170 members that will preside over the session) and to finalize the session’s agenda. The Presidium will then immediately meet to decide on the session’s daily schedule and designate a spokesperson. Shortly thereafter the session is expected to hold its first press conference.

Like its last two annual meetings, the NPC’s 2022 session will likely last seven days, to close on March 11. All reports and bills submitted for review are expected to be approved on the last day.

Translations: New Legislation on Chengdu-Chongqing Financial Court & Military Ranks for PLA Soldiers

The 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) concluded its 33rd session on Monday, February 28 adopted two short decisions that, respectively, established a Chengdu-Chongqing Financial Court and codified a system of ranks for the active-duty soldiers of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Below we translated the decisions and offered some brief explanations.

Continue reading “Translations: New Legislation on Chengdu-Chongqing Financial Court & Military Ranks for PLA Soldiers”

NPCSC Session Watch: NPC Preparations, Military Ranks, Chengdu-Chongqing Financial Court & Report on SPC Intellectual Property Tribunal

Skyline of Yuzhong District, Chongqing. By arthurw王.

The Council of Chairpersons decided on Friday, February 18 to convene the 33rd session of the 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) from February 27 to 28. The main purpose of this two-day meeting is to prepare for the upcoming NPC session, which is scheduled to open on March 5. The meeting will, for instance, propose an agenda for the NPC session and discuss the NPCSC’s annual work report to the NPC. The meeting will therefore review only two simple bills and one report. A brief rundown follows.

Continue reading “NPCSC Session Watch: NPC Preparations, Military Ranks, Chengdu-Chongqing Financial Court & Report on SPC Intellectual Property Tribunal”

The Chinese Legislature’s Hidden Agenda

On February 9, I published in The Diplomat an article titled The Chinese Legislature’s Hidden Agenda. It begins this way:

For about a decade, China’s national legislature, the National People’s Congress (NPC), made real improvements to its transparency. In 2008, it started soliciting public comments once on almost every major bill. Since 2013, it has been asking for comments multiple times for the same bill. In 2015, it codified “legislative openness” as a guiding principle for lawmaking. Most recently, in the summer of 2019, the NPC established a spokesperson’s office to offer greater and more regular disclosure of its legislative activities, including brief summaries of public input on draft legislation.

In the past two years, however, the legislature has appeared increasingly tempted to embrace the secrecy afforded by the Great Hall of the People. It has been withholding legislative drafts at a greater frequency—five in 2020–2021 alone versus five total during 2015–2019. It has also started to hide certain bills on its legislative agenda from the public until shortly before or, worse, until after their adoption. This practice not only departs from the legislature’s transparency norm, but is also at odds with the party-state’s legal reform agenda and recent official rhetoric on China’s political system. Yet the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) is now poised to write this practice into law, in effect guaranteeing its continued use, and once again highlighting the party-state’s competing desires for legal predictability and flexibility.

In this post, I will share the data underlying this article and discuss more arcana of the NPCSC’s agenda-disclosure practice. I thus highly recommend that you read the above article first before continuing.

Continue reading “The Chinese Legislature’s Hidden Agenda”