In a recent exclusive interview with the Legal Daily, LIANG Ying (梁鹰), director of the Office for Recording and Reviewing Regulations under the Legislative Affairs Commission (LAC) of the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC), revealed that authorities are now contemplating significant expansion of the scope of constitutional review (合宪性审查), following the Communist Party’s decision to “advance constitutional review” at its 19th Congress. The theoretical and practical feasibility of the reforms that Liang mentioned was still under research. And it is unknown at this point whether, or when, those proposed reforms would be implemented. But the fact that the authorities have chosen to disclose them indicates similar reforms will be eventually implemented. This interview is thus worth paying close attention to. Some unorganized thoughts follow the summary of the interview. All emphases below are ours.
Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (Basic Law), was passed by the National People’s Congress (NPC) in April 1990 and went into force seven years later on July 1, 1997—the day when China resumed exercise of sovereignty over the city. On the eve of the 20th anniversary of the implementation of the Basic Law, the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) on May 27 held a high-profile symposium commemorating the occasion, featuring speeches by seven guests, including NPCSC Chairman Zhang Dejiang, who is also in charge of Hong Kong and Macau affairs as a member of the Communist Party’s powerful Politburo Standing Committee. It is not uncommon for the NPCSC to mark the anniversaries of laws it deems important, though yesterday was the first time that it provided transcript of the entire event. The speeches contained many salient points, and below we note the highlights of each in turn.
The State Council on Monday released its legislative plan for 2017 (2017 Plan). Because of this Blog’s focus, this post will only take a look at those projects in the 2017 Plan that will require the approval of the National People’s Congress (NPC) or its Standing Committee (NPCSC)—that is, proposed new laws or revisions of existing laws. For other projects (which concern administrative regulations), please refer to the linked plan itself.
Nov. 25 Update: As reported by Xinhua, Wang Qishan, who now heads the new Central Leading Group for Pilot Work on Deepening Reform of the State Supervision System, said today that the Party will ask the NPCSC for an authorization before formally proceeding with the pilot projects. He also confirmed that the new supervision commissions will be composed of the soon-to-be-former administrative departments of supervision and corruption prevention, and also of the subdivisions of the procuratorates that investigate official duty crimes. The first step of the pilots, according to Wang, is to transfer those subdivisions from the procuratorates to the supervision commissions. He also hinted that a State Supervision Law will be adopted in the future, and which will most likely replace the current Administrative Supervision Law.
On November 7, as your author observed, the NPCSC removed the head of the Ministry of Supervision but left the position open. News from later that day explained the unusual move: The Communist Party plans to reform the state supervision system (国家监察体制) and has deployed pilot projects in Beijing, Shanxi, and Zhejiang. It seems that the Ministry of Supervision will in a few years become history. Below, this post will introduce the specifics of the reform that have since been made public, and will discuss how the reform will concern the NPC and lower-level people’s congresses.