As we bid farewell to 2022, we look back at the National People’s Congress’s and our work in the past year.Continue reading “Year in Review: The NPC and the Observer in 2022”
The following laws take effect on January 1:
- revised Sports Law [体育法] (adopted on June 24, 2022);
- revised Agricultural Products Quality and Safety Law [农产品质量安全法] (adopted on Sept. 2, 2022); and
- revised Women’s Rights and Interests Protection Law [妇女权益保障法] (adopted on Oct. 30, 2022).
The NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) is soliciting public comment on the following bills through January 28:
- draft amendment to the Legislation Law [立法法];
- draft revision to the Company Law [公司法];
- draft revision to the Counterespionage Law [反间谍法];
- draft Qinghai–Tibet Plateau Ecological Conservation Law [青藏高原生态保护法];
- draft Marine Environmental Protection Law [海洋环境保护法]
- draft Rural Collective Economic Organizations Law [农村集体经济组织法];
- draft revision to the Charity Law [慈善法];
- draft Value-Added Tax Law [增值税法];
- draft Financial Stability Law [金融稳定法]
- draft Foreign Sovereign Immunity Law [外国国家豁免法];
- draft amendment to the Civil Procedure Law [民事讼诉法];
- draft amendment to the Administrative Litigation Law [行政诉讼法]; and
- draft Foreign Relations Law [对外关系法].
The 13th NPCSC will convene for its final regularly scheduled session in late February.
On December 30, China’s national legislature, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC), issued its inaugural interpretation (Interpretation) of the Law on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong SAR (HKNSL) [香港特别行政区维护国家安全法]. We have recently explained the events leading up to the Interpretation in detail here. In sum: Jimmy Lai, the Hong Kong pro-democracy activist, is facing criminal charges under Hong Kong’s local sedition law and the HKNSL. He decided to retain Timothy Owen, a renowned British barrister, for his defense. Owen is not admitted to the Hong Kong bar, but the trial court allowed him to represent Lai on an ad hoc basis. After having failed to have the trial court’s decision reversed on appeal, the Hong Kong government turned to the NPCSC, which has the ultimate authority to interpret the HKNSL.
John Lee, Hong Kong’s leader, requested the NPCSC to answer this open-ended question: “Based on the legislative intent and objectives of the [HKNSL], can an overseas solicitor or barrister who is not qualified to practise generally in Hong Kong participate by any means in the handling of work in cases concerning offence endangering national security?” His request, notably, did not identify any specific HKNSL provision that needs clarification.
Contrary to what many had expected, the NPCSC exercised restraint in responding to Lee’s request. It did not directly ban foreign lawyers from participating in national security cases; in fact, it altogether punted on the question presented. The Interpretation instead clarifies that the HKNSL has already given the Hong Kong government adequate tools to resolve the issue. The ball is now back in the latter’s court.
Below, we explain Friday’s Interpretation and offer some preliminary thoughts on its implications in Q&A format.Continue reading “Explainer: NPCSC’s Interpretation of Hong Kong National Security Law over Jimmy Lai’s Foreign Defense Counsel”
The NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) is soliciting public comments on the following 13 bills through January 28, 2023:
|Draft Name||Chinese Text||Explanatory Document|
|Legislation Law (2nd Draft Amendment)|
|PDF · Δ|
|Company Law (2nd Draft Revision)|
|Counterespionage Law (2nd Draft Revision)|
|PDF · Δ|
|Qinghai–Tibet Plateau Ecological Conservation Law (2nd Draft)|
|Marine Environmental Protection Law (Draft Revision)|
|Rural Collective Economic Organizations Law (Draft)|
|Charity Law (Draft Revision)|
|PDF · Δ|
|Value-Added Tax Law (Draft)|
|Financial Stability Law (Draft)|
|Foreign Sovereign Immunity Law (Draft)|
|Civil Procedure Law (Draft Amendment)|
|PDF · Δ|
|Administrative Litigation Law (Draft Amendment)|
|PDF · Δ|
|Foreign Relations Law (Draft)|
English translations will be provided if and when available. All explanatory documents are in Chinese and compiled in a single PDF; the links above will take you to the corresponding pages in the PDF only if you are using a desktop browser (this does not work on a phone or a tablet).Continue reading “NPCSC Seeks Public Comment on 13 Bills: Foreign Sovereign Immunity, Foreign Relations, Counterespionage, Lawmaking Reform, Charity Regulation, Financial Stability, Foreign-Related Litigation & More”
In December 2021, the NPC Standing Committee adopted the Anti–Organized Crime Law (AOCL or Law) [反有组织犯罪法], China’s first statute dedicated to combatting organized crime. The Law has taken effect on May 1, 2022. It came at a time when the Communist Party’s three-year campaign to “clear out the underworld” (or saohei, short for “扫黑除恶,” literally “sweep away darkness and eliminate evil”) that began in 2018 was wrapping up and when central authorities were calling for the “normalization” of the saohei campaign.
China previously launched two similarly named special actions in the 2000s to “crack down on the underworld,” or dahei (short for “打黑除恶”). The difference in one character, however, gave the latest saohei campaign a broader scope. Rather than fight organize crime in a whack-a-mole fashion primarily to ensure public safety, saohei is “inherently political”: it is expressly aimed at solidifying the Party’s rule down to the lowest levels of governance. To that end, China’s national criminal justice authorities issued a series of guidance documents to broadly define “organized crime” and related concepts, call for whole-of-society efforts to prevent organized crime, set forth special criminal procedures and powers, and penalize corrupt officials who enable such criminal activities.
The AOCL is a key tool to “normalize” the saohei campaign. It was enacted in part to “safeguard national security, social order, and economic order,” and incorporated many of the measures contained in the guidance documents. As saohei will remain part of the Party’s social governance program for at least the next five years, below we take a belated look at the AOCL.Continue reading ““Sweep Away Darkness, Eliminate Evil”: A Belated Overview of China’s First Organized Crime Law”
UPDATE (Dec. 27, 2022): The official readout of the session’s first meeting reveals that the NPCSC is also reviewing a draft amendment to the Foreign Trade Law [对外贸易法] to codify a pilot administrative reform that recently expired on December 1. The readout also shows that the State Council has requested an interpretation of “relevant articles” of the Hong Kong National Security Law, without elaborating. We expect both to pass on Friday. Finally, it appears that the draft revision to the Enterprise Bankruptcy Law [企业破产法] has been removed from this session’s agenda.
Last Friday, the Council of Chairpersons decided to convene the 38th and second-to-last session of the 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) from December 27 to 30. The session’s tentative agenda includes fifteen bills. The Hong Kong government’s requested interpretation of the Hong Kong National Security Law, however, is not among them. But as we have explained, the NPCSC may hide the existence of a bill until after its adoption, so it could still consider an interpretation at the upcoming session. Below we briefly preview the bills slated for review.Continue reading “NPCSC Session Watch: Lawmaking Reforms, Corporate Bankruptcy, Charity, Financial Stability, Foreign Sovereign Immunity, Cross-Border Litigation & More”