Building Capacity Through Procedure

On June 24, the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) approved the first set of amendments to its Rules of Procedure (Rules) [全国人民代表大会常务委员会议事规则] in over a decade. The Rules are a national law that governs how the NPCSC conducts business. They regulate the convening and conduct of sessions, the submission and deliberation of bills and reports, debate and voting procedures, and other technical procedural matters.

The latest amendments came at what in retrospect could be a pivotal moment for the NPC. The Communist Party held its first-ever conference on improving the people’s congress system last October, and subsequently issued a policy document on the same subject (so far available only in summary form). Meanwhile, the national legislature has been undertaking a systematic effort to codify or update rules governing its powers and procedures, including the NPC’s organic statute and procedural rules as well as standalone instruments on the NPCSC’s oversight of the central budget, state-owned assets, and economic planning. For the most part, the amendments to the Rules reiterate key provisions in those laws and memorialize some of the NPCSC’s other existing practices.

Viewed in that larger context, the amendments make up part of a conscious effort to subtly enhance the NPCSC’s capacity as a lawmaking and oversight body—one that follows the Party’s commands itself and, acting as the Party’s agent, also ensures other state organs do the same. The amended Rules therefore leave room for both deliberation and efficiency in the legislative process, and institutionalize procedural tools that enable more rigorous NPCSC oversight.

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NPCSC Session Watch: Telecom Fraud, Wildlife Protection, Ecological Conservation of the Tibetan Plateau & Counterespionage

The Council of Chairpersons decided on Friday, July 29 to convene the 36th session of the 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) over a month later, from August 30 to September 2. With only five bills, the legislative agenda is comparatively light for a session held in August and in the last year of an NPCSC’s term. Perhaps the pace of legislation will pick up later in the year. Below we briefly preview the upcoming session.

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2021 Legal Inquiry Responses: Enforcing New Ban on Entertainment Venues Near Kindergartens & Municipal Legislative Authority to Support the Private Sector

On July 11, 2022, the NPC Standing Committee’s Legislative Affairs Commission (Commission) released two of its “legal inquiry responses” [法律询问答复] issued during the past year. As we have discussed in depth in this post, such responses clarify the applicable law in real-world scenarios at the request of central governmental bodies or provincial legislatures. They are not universally binding, but are considered highly persuasive—hence a form of “soft law”—because of the Commission’s pivotal role in lawmaking. The batch released on Monday is smaller than those released in previous years, but most likely only represents a minuscule portion of all legal inquiry responses the Commission issued in 2021. The two selected responses concern, respectively, the enforcement of a new statutory prohibition on entertainment venues near kindergartens and the extent of a municipal legislature’s authority to promote the private sector of the local economy. We explain them in turn below.

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NPCSC Amends Anti-Monopoly Law, Revises Sports Law & Adopts New Law to Protect Black Soil

A student performing a long jump at a Beijing school. Source: Unsplash.

The 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) concluded its 35th session on Friday, June 24, with the approval of four bills: amendments to the Anti-Monopoly Law [反垄断法] and the NPCSC Rules of Procedure [全国人民代表大会常务委员会议事规则], a revised Sports Law [体育法], and a new Black Soil Protection Law [黑土地保护法]. Below, we will first briefly discuss the Anti-Monopoly Law amendment before focusing on the new Sports Law and Black Soil Protection Law. We will leave the NPCSC’s updated procedural rules for a separate post.

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NPCSC Seeks Comments on Bills on Telecom Fraud, Yellow River Protection, Quality and Safety of Agricultural Products & Enforcement of Court Judgments

The NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) is soliciting public comments on the following four bills through July 23, 2022:

Draft NameChinese TextExplanatory Document
Law Against Telecom and Online Fraud (2nd Draft)
反电信网络诈骗法草案二次审议稿
PDFPDF
Agricultural Products Quality and Safety Law (2nd Draft Revision)
农产品质量安全法修订草案二次审议稿
PDFPDF
Yellow River Protection Law (2nd Draft)
黄河保护法草案二次审议稿
PDFPDF
Civil Compulsory Enforcement Law (Draft)
民事强制执行法草案
PDFPDF

English translations will be provided if and when available. All explanatory documents are in Chinese.

To submit comments online, please refer to this guide. Comments can also be mailed to the NPCSC Legislative Affairs Commission [全国人大常委会法制工作委员会] at the following address:

北京市西城区前门西大街1号 邮编: 100805
No. 1 West Qianmen Avenue, Xicheng District, Beijing 100805

Please clearly write “<Draft Name in Chinese>征求意见” on the envelope.

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.

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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.

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Has an NPC Spokesperson Declared Shanghai’s “Hard Isolation” Unlawful?

By @tango2010 on Weibo. Original post since censored. Archived copy courtesy of @NiaoCollective on Twitter.

Shanghai’s lockdown to eradicate a local Covid-19 outbreak continues. Over the past weekend, Shanghai residents in multiple districts discovered that green metal fences were erected outside their residential compounds or buildings. In a widely circulated notice by the Pudong New Area government, that move was termed “hard isolation” [硬隔离]. Exasperated by the latest development, many residents dug up a set of Q&A-style statements issued by the Legislative Affairs Commission (LAC) of the NPC Standing Committee in March 2020 and relied on them to argue that Shanghai’s “hard isolation” measures were unlawful. But do the LAC statements in fact support the residents’ argument?

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NPCSC Makes First Adjustments to Provinces’ NPC Seats in a Decade

The NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) concluded its session this month on April 20, 2022. It adopted the Futures and Derivatives Law [期货和衍生品法], which will introduce “a comprehensive legal framework for the operation of futures and over-the-counter derivatives markets in China.” The NPCSC also comprehensively revised the Vocational Education Law [职业教育法], the statute’s first update since its enactment in 1996, with the policy goal of cultivating “high-quality technical and skilled personnel” and “providing powerful talent and skill support” for socialist modernization. Due to our lack of expertise on these subjects, however, we are unable to offer more in-depth summaries or analyses of these two laws.

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NPCSC Seeks Public Comments on Draft Revisions to Women’s Rights and Interests Protection Law & Sports Law, Draft Black Soil Protection Law

The NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) is soliciting public comments on the following three bills through May 19, 2022:

Draft NameChinese TextExplanatory Document
Sports Law (2nd Draft Revision)
体育法修订草案二次审议稿
PDFPDF
Black Soil Protection Law (2nd Draft)
黑土地保护法草案二次审议稿
PDFPDF
Women’s Rights and Interests Protection Law (2nd Draft Revision)
妇女权益保障法修订草案二次审议稿
PDF (English)
(Comparison Charts: Chinese, English)
PDF

English translations will be provided if and when available. All explanatory documents are in Chinese.

To submit comments online, please refer to this guide. Comments can also be mailed to the NPCSC Legislative Affairs Commission [全国人大常委会法制工作委员会] at the following address:

北京市西城区前门西大街1号 邮编: 100805
No. 1 West Qianmen Avenue, Xicheng District, Beijing 100805

Please clearly write “<Draft Name in Chinese>征求意见” on the envelope.