Updated on June 21, 2021 by Changhao Wei & Taige Hu.
Originally published on June 25, 2018. Written by Shuhao Fan. Edited by Changhao Wei & Xiaoyuan Zhang.
The Legislative Affairs Commission (LAC) [法制工作委员会] under the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) is such a unique institution that one can hardly find an equivalent in another legislature. Consisting primarily of unelected and unidentified members, the LAC works mostly behind closed doors, although recently it has become much more visible in the public eye. The LAC’s employees outnumber NPCSC members, and unlike the latter cohort, they all work full-time and include more legal experts than the staff of any other NPC body. Their decisions play significant roles throughout the legislative process, from the agenda-setting stage to deliberations—and even after laws are enacted. One Chinese scholar thus aptly dubs the LAC staff “invisible legislators” [隐形立法者]. Some worry that they may have usurped the powers of elected NPCSC members, thus becoming de facto legislators. Below, we provide an overview of the LAC—an essential yet peculiar institution under the NPCSC—and its roles in the legislative process.Continue reading “The NPCSC Legislative Affairs Commission and Its “Invisible Legislators””