Legislation Summary: Hong Kong National Security Law

The NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) unanimously approved the Law on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region [香港特别行政区维护国家安全法] (Law) on the morning of Tuesday, June 30. That afternoon, the NPCSC separately listed the Law in Annex III to the Hong Kong Basic Law so that it can be enforced in the city. The Law took effect in Hong Kong later that day, at 11 p.m., when it was made public for the first time. The NPCSC previously released (via Xinhua) an excerpted explanation of the Law, which we have summarized here. For now, we will not restate what we already covered in that prior summary, in the interest of time. Instead, here, we will focus on the criminal provisions of the Law (which have heretofore been withheld) and other significant provisions that were not previously disclosed.

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Legislation Summary: New Statute Governing Public Employees’ Conduct

On June 20, the NPC Standing Committee approved the Law on Governmental Sanctions for Public Employees [公职人员政务处分法] (Law or Governmental Sanctions Law). An unofficial English translation of the Law is available here. This Law is a companion statute of the 2018 Supervision Law [监察法], which established the supervision commissions [监察委员会] and empowers them to “give . . . decisions on governmental sanctions to public employees who have broken the law in accordance with legally prescribed procedures” (art. 45, para. 1, item 2). The Law, with 68 articles in seven chapters, implements this provision by laying down a set of both substantive and procedural disciplinary rules tailor-made for all public employees. Its core provisions start by setting forth the types of governmental sanctions and the general rules on their use, then provide for a long list of unlawful conduct and the corresponding sanctions, and end with the procedures for giving and reviewing sanctions decisions. The following summary will proceed in the same manner.

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NPCSC Releases Some Details of Draft Hong Kong National Security Law, But Withholds Information on Criminal Provisions

On Saturday, June 20, the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) disclosed some details of the highly anticipated draft Law on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region [香港特别行政区维护国家安全法]. It did not release the draft that it reviewed this week. Rather, the state-run Xinhua News Agency published an excerpt from the explanation of the draft; an unofficial translation of part of the excerpt is available here. As of this writing, the NPCSC has not officially solicited public comments on the draft. Below, we will introduce the main contents of the draft Law (as summarized by the explanation), with brief analysis of certain provisions.

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2020 NPC Session: A Guide to China’s Civil Code (Updated)

UPDATE (July 5, 2020): The NPC adopted the Civil Code on May 28 with 2879 votes in favor, 2 against, and 5 abstentions. We have updated this guide (including all citations and quotations) in accordance with the Code’s final text. We also discussed some of the final substantive changes to the prior draft: additions made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic are listed under the heading “COVID-19 Update,” while other new provisions are incorporated into the summary itself and are indicated in red.

As the NPC comes into session today to review a draft of the People’s Republic’s first Civil Code [民法典], a legislative marathon will soon come to an end. The Code is a massive piece of legislation. Its latest draft includes 1260 articles, teeming with arcane legal terminology. Thus, if you want to read it for yourself, you might find the task daunting. In this post, we hope to make the Code just a bit more accessible. But our task here is a moderate one: we will not (and cannot) do a deep dive into the Code. Instead, we will give a brief overview of the Code’s drafting history, explain its significance, and provide a quick introduction to each of the Code’s subdivisions. We will focus on the new rules in the Code that have caught our attention, as well as issues that have engendered the most heated (sometimes quite public) debates.

All citations to the Code below are to its final version; other sources are not always cited. You can find all relevant legislative documents and prior drafts on this page.

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Summary of China’s New Foreign Investment Law

On Friday, March 15, 2019, the National People’s Congress adopted the Foreign Investment Law [外商投资法] by a 2929–8 vote, with 8 abstentions and 3 delegates not voting. Upon taking effect on January 1, 2020, the Law will replace China’s currently fragmented foreign investment regime: three separate foreign investment laws enacted in the early years of China’s economic reform. Our English translation of the new Law is available here.

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Second Draft of Foreign Investment Law: A Summary of Main Changes (UPDATED)

UPDATE (Feb. 18, 2019): The NPCSC apparently did quietly release the full text of the second draft of the Foreign Investment Law on January 29. (So quietly that we could not find the webpage unless we use the website’s search function.) We thank the reader who sent us the link.

We shall start by saying that, no, the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) has not released the official second draft of the Foreign Investment Law [外商投资法] that it reviewed in late January. We instead found an unofficial version of the second draft on WeChat—specifically this post by a public account focusing on fiscal and tax issues.[*] After checking this document against state media reports on the second draft, we have every reason to believe that it is authentic.

An English translation of the second draft of the Foreign Investment Law (along with the Chinese original) is now available on China Law Translate.

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NPCSC Solicits Public Comments on Draft Foreign Investment Law (FURTHER UPDATED)

UPDATE 4 (Jan. 2, 2019): For our latest thoughts on the next steps for the Foreign Investment Law, please see this post.

UPDATE 3 (Dec. 27, 2018): We have translated the draft in full on China Law Translate.

UPDATE 2 (Dec. 27, 2018): We revised our prediction about the legislative timetable for the Foreign Investment Law in light of recent state media reports. [superseded by UPDATE 4]

UPDATE 1 (Dec. 27, 2018): We have updated this post with a summary of the latest draft Foreign Investment Law.

The NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) unexpectedly released the draft Foreign Investment Law [外商投资法] on Wednesday for public comments for an unexpectedly long period—61 days—until February 24, 2019.

The original Chinese PDF of the draft can be accessed here. Our English translation is available here. The accompanying explanation of the draft (in Chinese) can be read here.

To submit comments online, please refer to these instructions. 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:

Chinese: 北京市西城区前门西大街1号 邮编:100805
English: No. 1 West Qianmen Avenue, Xicheng District, Beijing 100805

Please clearly write “外商投资法草案征求意见” on the envelope.

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Draft Amendment to Individual Income Tax Law Facing Resistance in NPCSC

In his 2018 Government Work Report, Premier Li Keqiang vowed to “raise the [individual] income tax threshold and create expense deductions for items like children’s education and treatment for serious diseases.” Fulfillment of this promise primarily falls on the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and the State Administration of Taxation (SAT), which managed to draft an amendment to the Individual Income Tax Law and submitted it to the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) in under three months. But the bill did not fare particularly well in the NPCSC. According to reports by Caixin and the Legal Daily, legislators questioned certain main provisions of the draft amendment during group deliberations. Before turning to their opinions, we will first introduce the main content of the draft amendment below.

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NPCSC Solicits Public Comments on Three Draft Laws (with Brief Content Summary): September 7, 2017 (UPDATED)

Update (September 13, 2017): China Law Translate has translated the draft revisions to the Law Against Unfair Competition (linked below).

After releasing the draft revisions to the People’s Court Organic Law and the People’s Procuratorates Organic Law for public comments on Monday, the NPCSC is now soliciting public opinions on three additional laws.

The comments period for the following two laws will end on September 24—i.e., it lasts only 20 days, which signals the NPCSC will almost certainly consider and pass the two bills at its next session in late October.

  1. Law Against Unfair Competition (Draft Revision) (English translation) 反不正当竞争法修订草案二次审议稿
  2. Standardization Law (Draft Revision) 标准化法修订草案二次审议稿

The comments period for the third draft law, Tobacco Leaf Tax Law (烟叶税法草案), will run till October 6. The tax rate is 20%.

Only PDF Chinese versions are available at this time. Officials explanations are included in the PDFs.

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Draft Revision of Procuratorates Organic Law Leaked

On Saturday, the WeChat public account “刑法库” published what it claims to be the draft revision (“Draft”) of the People’s Procuratorate Organic Law (“Law”)—along with an accompanying explanation prepared by the NPC Internal and Judicial Affairs Committee (“Committee”)—that is due to be reviewed by the NPCSC this week. For various reasons not elaborated here, we believe the Draft is authentic.

The Draft is dated August 18, 2017, when the Council of Chairmen convened to set the dates and agenda for the NPCSC session this week. Because draft laws aren’t subject to revision between a Council of Chairmen meeting and the ensuing NPCSC session, the version of the draft revision we expect the NPCSC to release after this week’s session should be identical to the Draft.

Here is the Draft in PDF, with the explanation attached. An English translation is not yet available, but we’ll summarize the changes made by the Draft—which are not necessarily new in practice—in bullet points below. Please refer to this post for background information on the ongoing process to revise the Law.

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