Covering China’s National People’s Congress and its Standing Committee
Changhao Wei is the founder, manager, and editor of NPC Observer. He is a Fellow at the Paul Tsai China Center of Yale Law School, where he focuses on China’s legislative process and constitutional enforcement mechanisms. He holds a Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School, and a bachelor’s degree in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology from the University of California, Los Angeles.
In addition, the NPCSC adopted a decision authorizing the State Council to allow local governments to issue bonds within 60% of their annual new bond quotas before the NPC approves their annual debt ceilings for the next five years. It also approved an adjustment to the 2023 central government budget, authorizing the issuance of RMB 1 trillion of special treasury bonds for post-disaster reconstruction and related projects.
Finally, the NPCSC decided to remove Li Shangfu as defense minister, state councilor, and member of the Central Military Commission. It also removed Qin Gang from his state councilor position, after having removed him as foreign minister in July.
Before getting to the news, a note on our new link-archiving policy: After the NPC website’s recent URL change had created an acute link-rot problem for us, we announced a plan to deal with this particular incident and to prevent link rot going forward. One big change you will likely notice is that, with some exceptions, online sources subject to mainland China’s censorship regime (including all government websites) will be archived using perma.cc. Those visiting from mainland China should be aware, however, that perma.cc is blocked by the Great Fire Wall.
China’s top legislature, the 14th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC), will convene for its sixth session from October 20 to 24, the Council of Chairpersons decided on Friday, October 13. The session will tentatively discuss ten legislative bills, in addition to a potential motion to replace China’s current defense minister. We preview these agenda items below.
On September 7, China’s national legislature, the 14th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC), released its five-year legislative plan (Plan or New Plan), setting the contours of its legislation through 2028. As a refresher, the Plan includes 79 top-priority projects in Category I, 51 lower-priority projects in Category II, and about a dozen topics for potential legislation in Category III. Starting with this post, we will take a close look at the Plan in a two-part analysis. Below, we will first discuss the principles of agenda-setting embodied in the Plan (and the relevant legislative tasks), then examine the fate of the uncompleted projects in the 13th NPCSC’s five-year legislative plan (Old Plan), and finally look at the areas of law that are featured prominently in the New Plan. The second part will take a primarily quantitative approach and evaluate the same metrics we used to analyze the Old Plan several years ago.
On September 1, 2023, China’s top legislature, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC), adopted the Foreign State Immunity Law (Law) [外国国家豁免法], which will take effect on January 1, 2024. The Law marks a historic change in China’s stance on foreign state immunity—a doctrine that shields states and their property from the jurisdiction of foreign courts—and brings China’s practice in line with international norms. In short, starting next year, foreign states will be subject to suit in China in certain circumstances as provided in the Law in which they currently enjoy immunity. Below, we for the most part offer only a straightforward summary of the Law, without attempting any critical or comparative analysis. For that, we recommend instead Prof. William Dodge’s two–part analysis of the Law’s December 2022 draft at Transnational Litigation Blog, which we drew on for our summary. Our English translation of the Law is available here and a chart comparing the Law’s two public versions here.
On Thursday, September 7, 2023, China’s national legislature, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC), released the five-year legislative plan for its current term ending in 2028. Since 1993, each NPCSC has adopted such a plan to outline and prioritize the legislative tasks during its five-year term. Those plans are important documents that require the approval of the Communist Party’s central leadership.
UPDATE (Aug. 28, 2023): The NPCSC is expected to approve the draft revision to the Administrative Reconsideration Law, draft Foreign State Immunity Law, and draft amendment to the Civil Procedure Law on Friday, September 1. The draft revision to the Company Law will be subject to a fourth (and mostly likely final) review.
China’s top legislature, the 14th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC), will convene for its fifth session from August 28 to September 1, the Council of Chairpersons decided on Monday, August 21. In addition to proposing an agenda that includes nine legislative bills, the Council also discussed a few other interesting matters at Monday’s meeting. We briefly discuss all those developments below.
The NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) is seeking public comments on a draft Criminal Law Amendment (XII) [刑法修正案（十二）] through August 24, 2023. The draft is available in PDF here (with a comparison chart included) and an explanatory document (in Chinese) here. An English translation of the draft and comparison chart is available here.
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:
UPDATE: On Tuesday, the NPCSC decided to remove Qin Gang as minister of foreign affairs and instead reappointed his predecessor and China’s current top-ranked diplomat, Wang Yi, to that post. Qin remains a state councilor. His removal [免职], unlike a dismissal [撤职], is not inherently considered a disciplinary action. In addition, the NPCSC has the statutory authority (under the 2021 amendments to the NPC Organic Law) to remove Qin as a state councilor, but did not exercise that power today. We won’t speculate as to why.
Senior leaders of China’s national legislature, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC), decided on Monday, July 24 to convene the NPCSC for an emergency session just a day later, on Tuesday, July 25. According to the official readout of their meeting, the sole items on the session’s agenda are a draft Criminal Law Amendment (XII) [刑法修正案（十二）], which is not expected to pass on Tuesday, and unspecified personnel matters—or, in legal-speak, “bills of appointments and removals” [任免案]—which will pass and appear to be the source of the emergency.
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 use a desktop browser—this does not work on a phone or a tablet.
UPDATE (June 26, 2023): The NPCSC is expected to approve the Barrier-Free Environments Development Law and the Foreign Relations Law on Wednesday, June 28.
The 14th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) will convene for its third session from June 26 to 28, the Council of Chairpersons decided on Friday, June 16. Eight bills, including six draft laws, are on the session’s tentative agenda, which we preview below.