English translations will be provided if and when available. All explanatory documents are in Chinese. The NPCSC also reviewed a draft Land Borders Law [陆地国界法], but did not also release it for public comments today.
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:
On Wednesday, April 21, the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) released its legislative plan for 2021 (Plan). The Plan was preliminarily approved in November 2020 and finalized by the Council of Chairpersons on April 16. The NPCSC’s annual legislative plans serve two primary purposes: listing bills that are scheduled for review or research each year, and laying down guiding principles for all facets of the NPCSC’s annual legislative work. As usual, we will focus on the NPCSC’s 2021 legislative agenda below.
UPDATE (Apr. 28, 2021): According the readout of a Council of Chairpersons meeting on Wednesday morning, the NPCSC is scheduled to also approve the draft amendment to the Measures for Electing Delegates from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army to the NPC and Local People’s Congresses at or Above the County Level and the draft revision to the Decision on Strengthening the Review and Oversight of the Central Budget on Thursday.
UPDATE (Apr. 26, 2021): According to the readout of the session’s first plenary meeting on Monday morning, the NPC Constitution and Law Committee recommended that the NPCSC approve the following bills at this session: the draft Rural Revitalization Promotion Law, the draft Anti–Food Waste Law, the draft amendment to the Education Law, and the draft revision to the Maritime Traffic Safety Law. The readout also disclosed that the NPC Foreign Affairs Committee had submitted a draft Land Borders Law [陆地国界法] for review.
On Friday, April 16, the Council of Chairpersons decided to convene the 28th session of the 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) from April 26 to 29. The NPCSC will review at least fourteen bills at its upcoming four-day session. A quick rundown follows.
On April 1, the NPC Standing Committee’s Legislative Affairs Commission (Commission) made public six of its “responses to legal inquiries” [法律询问答复] from 2020. It last released a batch of such responses from 2018 and 2019 in September 2020, after a thirteen-year hiatus. As we wrote then, these responses to legal inquiries can be considered a form of “soft law”: they answer other governmental bodies’ requests to clarify the applicable law in real-world scenarios and can function like the NPC Standing Committee’s legislative interpretations. The inquiring governmental bodies tend to follow the responses, but they do not bind anyone else. Still, they are considered highly persuasive because of the Commission’s pivotal role in lawmaking. The responses released on Thursday touched on a few different subjects: postponing local legislative sessions due to Covid-19, governance of for-profit private schools, ethnic autonomous regions’ legislative authority, terms of supervision commissions, and rescheduling elections for local people’s congresses. We will summarize and explain these Q&As below.
Just shy of twenty days after the National People’s Congress (NPC) had authorized and outlined a drastic overhaul of Hong Kong’s electoral system, the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) on Tuesday, March 30 finalized details of the overhaul. The NPCSC unanimously approved revisions to Annexes I and II to the Hong Kong Basic Law, which respectively govern the selection of the Chief Executive and formation of the Legislative Council. The revisions took effect on March 31. Below we will take an in-depth look at the electoral overhaul. More detailed discussion of the previous election rules can be found in our explainer of the NPC’s March 11 decision.
The 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) is expected to convene for its 28th session in late April. The Council of Chairpersons is expected to meet in mid-April to decide on the agenda and dates of the session. The session will likely consider a draft resolution on carrying out the 8th five-year popularization of basic legal knowledge. The session may also review one or more of the following bills:
Editor’s Note: The NPCSC unanimously approved revisions to Annexes I and II to the Hong Kong Basic Law on March 30. Our comprehensive explanation and analysis of Hong Kong’s new election rules is available here.
The Council of Chairpersons decided on Monday, March 22 to convene the 27th session of the 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) from March 29 to 30. The NPCSC will consider two bills to revise Annexes I and II to the Hong Kong Basic Law, which govern, respectively, the selection of Hong Kong’s Chief Executive and the formation of the city’s Legislative Council. The revisions are undertaken to implement the “basic principles” and “core elements” of the NPC’s March 11 decision to overhaul Hong Kong’s electoral system. We have explained the NPC decision’s contents and implications in this post. In short, it introduces mechanisms to ensure candidates for elected offices are “patriots” and to give the pro-establishment camp a decided edge in future elections.
The 4th Session of the 13th NPC concluded on Thursday, March 11, after having approved all reports and bills submitted to it for consideration. As usual, we provide below a list of all official documents from this Session. Unless otherwise noted, all documents are available in Chinese only.
Another year, another NPC decision on Hong Kong. On Thursday, March 11, the National People’s Congress, with 2895 votes in favor and 1 abstention, approved the Decision on Improving the Electoral System of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (Decision) [关于完善香港特别行政区选举制度的决定], which takes immediate effect. The Decision comes on the heels of a series of events in the past two years: mass protests against the Hong Kong government’s extradition bill (since withdrawn), opposition lawmakers’ use of filibusters to delay proceedings, and pro-democracy primaries for the now-postponed 2020 Legislative Council election. (Almost fifty activists involved in the primaries have been charged with violating the Hong Kong National Security Law.) The Decision’s explanatory document cites all those events as evidence of the “clear loopholes and deficiencies” in Hong Kong’s current electoral system—which it says have been exploited by “anti-China, destabilizing elements” to attempt to seize the “power to administer [Hong Kong].” It is therefore “important,” the explanation continues, “to take necessary steps to improve the electoral system and remove existing institutional deficiencies and risks to ensure the administration of Hong Kong by Hong Kong people with patriots as the main body.” The Decision marks the first of those steps. Below, we will first provide an overview of the Decision, before discussing in detail the changes it will make to Hong Kong’s electoral system.