Law Explainer: China’s State Medals and State Honorary Titles (UPDATED)

UPDATE (Sept. 17, 2019): On Tuesday, the NPCSC unanimously approved a decision conferring State honors on 42 individuals: 8 “Medal of the Republic” recipients, 6 “Medal of Friendship” recipients, and 28 recipients of various State honorary titles. In a presidential order dated the same day, Xi Jinping formally conferred the honors on their recipients.

Notable recipients of the Medal of the Republic include Tu Youyou, 2015 Nobel laureate in physiology or medicine; and Yuan Longping, known in China as the “Father of Hybrid Rice.” The recipients of State honorary titles include individuals who have made great contributions to science, art, and education, among other fields, as well as those who are recognized as “heroes” or “role models” for their personal feats. Of note, Tung Chee-hwa, Hong Kong’s first Chief Executive, was given the State honorary title of “Outstanding Contributor to ‘One Country, Two Systems'” [“一国两制”杰出贡献者]. Among the Medal of Friendship recipients are current Cuban leader Raúl Castro and former French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin.

Finally, some stats. Just over a quarter (11) of the recipients are female. Among the 36 Chinese citizen recipients, only 7 are ethnic minorities and all but 3 are members of the Communist Party. Ten recipients have been awarded the honors posthumously.


In line with our earlier prediction, the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) will convene for a one-day special session on September 17, the Council of Chairpersons decided on Tuesday. The sole item on the special session’s agenda is a draft decision to confer State honors and honorary titles, presumably on this list of 36 nominees, to celebrate the 70th founding anniversary of the People’s Republic. Below we briefly overview the history of China’s State honors system and the current legal scheme. We will update this post once the conferral decision is adopted next week.

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NPCSC Revamps Drug Law, Overhauls Rural Land Expropriation Rules & Passes Resource Tax Law

The 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) concluded its twelfth session on Monday with the adoption of three legislative bills: a revised Drug Administration Law [药品管理法], an amendment to the Land Management Law [土地管理法], and a new Resource Tax Law [资源税法]. Below we take a look at each.

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NPCSC Session Watch: Public Health Laws, Civil Code & Supervision Law Companion Statute

The Council of Chairpersons decided on Thursday (August 15) to convene the 12th session of the 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) from August 22 to 26. Per the Council’s recommendation, the session will consider seven legislative bills. A quick rundown follows.

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NPCSC Grants Amnesty to Convicts to Mark 70th P.R.C. Founding Anniversary

The NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) concluded its bimonthly session on Saturday (June 29) with the adoption of the Vaccine Administration Law [疫苗管理法] and a decision granting special amnesty to nine classes of convicts who are currently serving their sentences (custodial or otherwise). Below we will focus on the special amnesty decision.

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NPCSC Session Watch: Marriage, Vaccine, Community Corrections, Encryption & Solid Waste (UPDATED)

UPDATE (June 27, 2019): The agenda of this month’s NPCSC session shows that the legislature is reviewing a draft decision that would grant special amnesty [特赦] to some prisoners ahead of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic this October. State media has not reported on the details of the amnesty; we thus do not know which prisoners would be eligible or how many prisoners are estimated to be released. We do expect the decision to pass this Saturday and be released on the same day.


The Council of Chairpersons decided on Monday (June 17) to convene the 11th session of the 13th NPC Standing (NPCSC) from June 25 to 29. Per the Council’s recommendation, the session will consider eight legislative bills. A quick rundown follows.

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NPCSC Revises Judicial Personnel Laws, Amends Trademark and Unfair Competition Laws

The 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) concluded its 10th session on Tuesday. It adopted comprehensive changes to the two laws governing judges and procurators and approved relatively minor amendments to eight other laws, three of which aim to enhance intellectual property protections. Below we summarize each in turn.

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NPCSC Session Watch: Securities Law Revision, Civil Code & Foreign Investment Law Implementation

The Council of Chairpersons met last Friday and decided to convene the 10th session of the 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) from April 20 to 23. The Council also approved the NPCSC’s 2019 legislative and oversight plans, which we expect to be released after the session. Per the Council’s decision, the NPCSC this month will review eight legislative bills. Below we take a brief look at each.

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2019 NPC Session: Documents List

The 2nd Session of the 13th NPC concluded on Friday, March 15, after having approved all reports and bills submitted to it for consideration. As usual, here is a list of all official documents from this Session.

Unless otherwise noted, all documents are available in Chinese only.

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2019 NPC Session: Agenda and Daily Schedule

On Monday, the 2019 NPC session released its agenda, daily schedule of meetings, and a tentative schedule of press conferences (Excel). The Session will open on the morning of Tuesday, March 5 and close on the morning of Friday, March 15, lasting a total of 10½ days. All times below are in Beijing Time (UTC +8:00).

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NPCSC Adds Special Session for Second Review of Foreign Investment Law (UPDATED)

UPDATE (Jan. 29, 2019): On the morning of January 29, the NPCSC decided to submit the draft Foreign Investment Law to the 2019 NPC session for deliberation (and most certainly adoption). It is unclear at this point whether it will release the second draft of the Law for public comments, but as we argued below, the chance is slim. We very briefly noted the main new provisions in the newest draft on Twitter:


The NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) conducted an initial review of the draft Foreign Investment Law [外商投资法] last December but took no further action. Readers may recall that we then explained what we saw as the (only) two potential legislative timetables for the Law: It will be adopted by the NPC either this March (after another NPCSC review in late February) or in March 2020 (after a few more readings in 2019). The longer process would not help show China’s willingness to comply with certain demands the United States made during trade negotiations, while the shorter one faces procedural hurdles under Chinese law.

Faced with two imperfect choices, the NPCSC has decided to take an unexpected third approach. It will convene for a special session from January 29 to 30 to conduct a second review of the draft Foreign Investment Law, the Council of Chairmen announced on Wednesday. At the end of the two-day session, the NPCSC will most certainly submit the Law to the NPC, which will then most certainly approve it at its annual session in March.

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