NPC Standing Committee Releases 2022 Legislative Plan

On Friday, May 6, the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) released its legislative plan for 2022 (Plan). The Plan was preliminarily approved in November 2021 and finalized by the Council of Chairpersons on April 11. It lists bills that are scheduled for review or research this year, and also sets forth priorities for all aspects of the NPCSC’s legislative work in 2022. As usual, we will focus on the legislative projects listed in the Plan below.

The Plan schedules 39 projects for review in 2022, the second largest batch ever included in a publicly available annual legislative plan. The main themes this year continue to include government institutional reforms, economic reforms, public health, environmental protection, education, and national and public security. Like its previous two iterations, the Plan does not assign bills to be submitted for an initial review to particular NPCSC sessions to allow for greater flexibility.

As the Plan was first adopted in late 2021, it includes three bills that have since been enacted:

The following three bills have also submitted for deliberation as planned and are still pending:

The remaining nine bills that were pending as of the end of 2021 will return for further review according to the following schedule:

The NPCSC is scheduled to consider another 24 bills this year:

All of these projects have appeared in the 13th NPCSC’s prior legislative plans, with four exceptions. First, the Legislation Law may be amended to incorporate newer forms of legislation, in particular the State Supervision Commission’s supervision regulations [监察法规], into China’s legislative system, and to codify recent reforms of the recording-and-review process. Second, the proposal to formulate a Qinghai-Tibet Plateau Ecological Conservation Law was green-lit by the Communist Party leadership last December to implement a 2021 central policy document on conservation and sustainable development of the Tibetan Plateau. Third, the next round of amendments to the Civil Procedure Law (which was last amended last December) is expected focus on updating the procedures for foreign-related cases and for retrials. Finally, the proposed Financial Stability Law is aimed at providing “lasting mechanisms to ensure financial stability,” in support of the Party’s “tough battle” to prevent and defuse major financial risks; the People’s Bank of China recently solicited public comments on a draft of the Law.

Aside from the projects listed above, the Plan also leaves open the possibility that unenumerated bills may be considered to implement the Party’s decisions or to improve legislation on public health, foreign-related issues, or military affairs. In particular, the Plan includes detailed goals for foreign-related legislation, vowing to advance “special” legislation in this area, “improve foreign-related clauses and provisions, make up for the institutional shortcomings of foreign-related laws, and speed up the building of a system of foreign-related legal norms.”

Finally, the Plan concludes the NPCSC’s 2022 legislative agenda with a list of “preparatory projects”: bills that will eventually be enacted, but for now are lower priority, so unlikely to come before the NPCSC in 2022. Bills page are not always available for these projects.

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