NPCSC Session Watch: Antitrust, Telecom Fraud, Enforcement of Court Judgments & More

The Council of Chairpersons decided on May 30 to convene the 35th session of the 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) from June 21 to 24. Eight bills are on the tentative agenda, which we briefly preview below.

Seven bills return for further review.

The draft revision to the Sports Law [体育法] and the draft Black Soil Protection Law [黑土地保护法] return for their third and final review. The draft amendments to the Anti-Monopoly Law [反垄断法] and to the NPCSC Rules of Procedure [全国人民代表大会常务委员会议事规则] return for their second review and are also expected to pass next month. We will cover these bills in more depth in our post-session recap.

Three other bills also return for a second reading: the draft Law Against Telecom and Online Fraud [反电信网络诈骗法], draft revision to the Agricultural Products Quality and Safety Law [农产品质量安全法], and draft Yellow River Protection Law [黄河保护法]. We expect a third and final review for each of them later this year.

The Law Against Telecom and Online Fraud, in particular, received considerable public attention when its first draft was open for comments in late 2021. During the month-long consultation period, over 13,000 people provided input, compared to a few hundred participants for most bills. According to a spokesperson for the legislature, the public urged increasing criminal and civil liabilities for those who commit or contribute to telecom or online fraud, boosting efforts to educate those susceptible to such fraud, and offering greater relief to victims.

The Supreme People’s Court (SPC) submitted the only new bill up for review: a draft Civil Compulsory Enforcement Law [民事强制执行法]. Chinese courts have for decades faced “difficulty in enforcing judgments” in civil cases, colloquially referred to as zhixing nan (“执行难”). In 2014, the Communist Party in its Fourth Plenum decision vowed to “truly resolve” the issue. This task then fell on the SPC. In a 2018 report to the NPCSC on the courts’ progress in tackling the zhixing nan issue, the SPC identified a variety of obstacles to enforcement of judgments: defendants keep coming up with ways to hide their assets and whereabouts, while courts often lack adequate resources track them down. Local protectionism often stands in the way of enforcement, as does a defendant’s insolvency. The SPC also cited the Civil Procedure Law’s scant provisions on enforcement (totaling 35 articles), which provide courts with insufficient legal tools to enforce their judgments. The proposed Civil Compulsory Enforcement Law—a leaked 2019 draft ran to 235 articles—is therefore intended to set forth comprehensive rules on court enforcement of civil judgments, replacing the Civil Procedure Law’s relevant provisions (per the 2019 draft) and acting as a key “long-term mechanism” for combatting zhixing nan.

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