UPDATE (June 7, 2021): Xinhua reported on June 7 that the NPCSC is also reviewing a draft Anti–Foreign Sanctions Law [反外国制裁法], which underwent a secret first review at the NPCSC’s April session, as well as a draft decision granting the Shanghai legislature authority to enact “Pudong New Area regulations” for the city’s Pudong New Area, an authority that appears comparable to that of cities encompassing special economic zones. Both bills are expected to pass on Thursday, June 10.
On Wednesday, May 26, the Council of Chairpersons decided to convene the 29th session of the 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) from June 7 to 10. This session is earlier than a regular NPCSC session, which typically takes place near the end of a month. This could mean either that the NPCSC is holding another session later this month, consistent with a recent Communist Party directive to add legislative sessions to speed up the pace of legislation; or that the NPCSC is making way for the Party’s centenary celebrations around July 1. Some urgent matter could also have required the NPCSC to meet earlier, but we have yet to see any such indication. The NPCSC will review at least ten bills at its upcoming session. A quick rundown follows.
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.
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.
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.
The NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) is seeking public comments on a draft Stamp Tax Law [印花税法] through March 29, 2021. The draft is available in PDF here and an explanatory document (in Chinese) here. An English translation will be provided if and when available.
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:
The National People’s Congress (NPC) on Wednesday, February 24 formally launched a database of Chinese legal authorities: the National Database of Laws and Regulations [国家法律法规数据库]. The Database has been years in the making. According to the Legal Daily, work on it started in November 2017 and was scheduled to complete by end of 2018. Yet it ended up taking a lot longer—and as we will discuss below, the Database still has had a bumpy start. In this post, we will introduce the types of legal authorities currently available in the Database. We will then discuss its three main functions: browsing, search, and download. And we will end with some concluding thoughts on the Database and look ahead to its future versions. The bottom line: the Database in its current form will not be our go-to platform for looking up Chinese legal documents.
UPDATE (Feb. 26, 2021): Various media outlets have recently reported that the NPC would deliberate a bill to overhaul Hong Kong’s electoral system at its upcoming March plenary session. We expect the NPCSC to conduct an initial review of this bill during its meeting on February 26–27, although it is likely that such activity would not be publicly disclosed.
The Council of Chairpersons decided on Tuesday, February 9 convene the 26th 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 one legislative bill and a few reports. We will briefly discuss the bill and highlight one report below.