Translations: New Legislation on Chengdu-Chongqing Financial Court & Military Ranks for PLA Soldiers

The 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) concluded its 33rd session on Monday, February 28 adopted two short decisions that, respectively, established a Chengdu-Chongqing Financial Court and codified a system of ranks for the active-duty soldiers of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Below we translated the decisions and offered some brief explanations.

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NPCSC Session Watch: NPC Preparations, Military Ranks, Chengdu-Chongqing Financial Court & Report on SPC Intellectual Property Tribunal

Skyline of Yuzhong District, Chongqing. By arthurw王.

The Council of Chairpersons decided on Friday, February 18 to convene the 33rd session of the 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) from February 27 to 28. The main purpose of this two-day meeting is to prepare for the upcoming NPC session, which is scheduled to open on March 5. The meeting will, for instance, propose an agenda for the NPC session and discuss the NPCSC’s annual work report to the NPC. The meeting will therefore review only two simple bills and one report. A brief rundown follows.

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The Chinese Legislature’s Hidden Agenda

On February 9, I published in The Diplomat an article titled The Chinese Legislature’s Hidden Agenda. It begins this way:

For about a decade, China’s national legislature, the National People’s Congress (NPC), made real improvements to its transparency. In 2008, it started soliciting public comments once on almost every major bill. Since 2013, it has been asking for comments multiple times for the same bill. In 2015, it codified “legislative openness” as a guiding principle for lawmaking. Most recently, in the summer of 2019, the NPC established a spokesperson’s office to offer greater and more regular disclosure of its legislative activities, including brief summaries of public input on draft legislation.

In the past two years, however, the legislature has appeared increasingly tempted to embrace the secrecy afforded by the Great Hall of the People. It has been withholding legislative drafts at a greater frequency—five in 2020–2021 alone versus five total during 2015–2019. It has also started to hide certain bills on its legislative agenda from the public until shortly before or, worse, until after their adoption. This practice not only departs from the legislature’s transparency norm, but is also at odds with the party-state’s legal reform agenda and recent official rhetoric on China’s political system. Yet the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) is now poised to write this practice into law, in effect guaranteeing its continued use, and once again highlighting the party-state’s competing desires for legal predictability and flexibility.

In this post, I will share the data underlying this article and discuss more arcana of the NPCSC’s agenda-disclosure practice. I thus highly recommend that you read the above article first before continuing.

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NPC Calendar: February 2022

The 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) will convene for its 33rd session late this month. The Council of Chairpersons is expected to meet soon after the Lunar New Year holiday (which ends on February 7) to decide on the agenda and dates of the session. The NPCSC will mainly make preparations for the 2022 NPC session at its upcoming meeting, but is still likely to review one or two legislative bills. Possible candidates include:

Year in Review: The NPC and the Observer in 2021

As we bid farewell to 2021, we look back at the National People’s Congress’s and our work in the past year.

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NPC Calendar: January 2022

The following laws take effect on January 1:

The NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) is seeking public comments on the following bills through January 22:

The NPCSC will convene for its next regularly scheduled session in late February.

NPCSC Enacts Legislation to Improve Plant Variety Protections, Curb Noise Pollution, Protect Wetlands & Strengthen Legislative Oversight of the Economy

Last Friday, December 24, the 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) concluded its 32nd session and adopted eight bills. To give the new Anti–Organized Crime Law [反有组织犯罪法] the attention it deserves and to limit the length of this post, we will publish a separate summary of that Law, likely in January. The other seven bills are discussed below.

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NPCSC Seeks Public Comments on Bills on Women’s Rights, Emergency Management, Companies, NPCSC Rules of Procedure & More

The NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) is soliciting public comments on the following eight bills through January 22, 2022:

Draft NameChinese TextExplanatory Document
Organic Law of Local People’s Congresses at All Levels and Local People’s Governments at All Levels (2nd Draft Amendment)
地方各级人民代表大会和地方各级人民政府组织法修正草案二次审议稿
PDFΔPDF
Vocational Education Law (2nd Draft Revision)
职业教育法修订草案二次审议稿
PDFPDF
Company Law (Draft Revision)
公司法修订草案
PDFΔPDF
NPCSC Rules of Procedure (Draft Amendment)
全国人民代表大会常务委员会议事规则修正草案
PDFΔ
($ English)
PDF
Black Soil Protection Law (Draft)
黑土地保护法草案
PDFPDF
Women’s Rights and Interests Protection Law (Draft Revision)
妇女权益保障法修订草案
PDF
($ English)
PDF
Yellow River Protection Law (Draft)
黄河保护法草案
PDFPDF
Emergency Response and Management Law (Draft)
(i.e., revision to the Emergency Response Law)
突发事件应对管理法草案
PDFΔPDF

English translations will be provided if and when available. All explanatory documents are in Chinese. The symbol “Δ” means that a file includes a chart comparing the latest draft amendment or revision with the current law or a prior draft.

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.

Recording & Review: Invalidating Compulsory Parentage Testing as a Tool to Enforce Birth Quotas

From 1980 to 2021, China imposed some form of enforceable birth quota on most of its population. A one-child policy had been implemented until late 2013, when it was partially relaxed so that couples may have two children if one parent was an only child. Then in 2016, the modified one-child policy was replaced by a two-child policy, which was in turn superseded by a three-child policy in May 2021. Although a formal birth quota remains after the latest policy change, a statutory amendment in August eliminated all the penalties that once attached to violations of the quota, such as hefty fines and terminations of employment. In effect, couples who exceed the three-child limit will not be penalized, though they will be ineligible for benefits such as extended maternity leave.

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Translation: Readout of October 2021 Central Conference on Work Related to the People’s Congresses

Two months ago, on October 13–14, the Communist Party held the first-ever “Central Conference on Work Related to the People’s Congresses” [中央人大工作会议]. In the lead-up to the Conference and in the months since, the concept of “whole-process people’s democracy” [全过程人民民主] has permeated official discourse and was recently further expounded on in a government white paper titled China: Democracy That Works (the Chinese title, “中国的民主” (China’s Democracy), is blander). That concept requires further study and assessment, and the Conference could prove significant in additional ways, especially for the people’s congress system. We thus translated the readout of the Conference (via Xinhua) below, while we await, hopefully, the release of the full text of Xi Jinping’s speech at the Conference on which the readout is largely based.

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