NPCSC Passes Export Control Law & Biosecurity Law, Updates Patent Law, National Flag/Emblem Laws, Election Law & Minors Protection Law

The 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) concluded its 22nd session on Saturday, October 17, 2020 and adopted seven bills. We will summarize five of them in some detail below, while briefly noting the other two. The texts of the bills and relevant legislative documents can be found on the individual bill pages linked below.

Continue reading “NPCSC Passes Export Control Law & Biosecurity Law, Updates Patent Law, National Flag/Emblem Laws, Election Law & Minors Protection Law”

NPCSC Session Watch: Patent, Export Control, Personal Information Protection, Wildlife Protection & National Defense

On Tuesday, September 29, the Council of Chairpersons decided to convene the 22nd session of the 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) from October 13 to 17. The NPCSC’s regular sessions ordinarily take place during the last ten days of a month. This upcoming session is likely moved forward to make way for the Communist Party’s Fifth Plenum, scheduled from October 26 to 29. The NPCSC will review at least fifteen bills at its five-day session next month. A quick rundown follows.

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NPCSC Extends Term of Incumbent Hong Kong Legislature, Authorizes Hong Kong & Macau Lawyers to Practice in Mainland & Approves Two Tax Laws

The 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) concluded its twenty-first session on Tuesday, August 11. It adopted five bills, most notably a decision allowing the incumbent Hong Kong Legislative Council (LegCo) to continue serving for at least another year after its original term expires next month. We will focus on this decision below and briefly summarize the other bills.

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NPCSC (Early) Session Watch: Copyright, NPC Modernization & National Flag/Emblem (Updated)

UPDATE (July 31, 2020): Today, the Hong Kong Chief Executive officially announced the postponement of the Legislative Council elections to next fall. The central government said in a statement that it would seek a decision by the NPCSC on the one-year vacancy of the Legislative Council after its current term expires on September 30.


We did not wake up today expecting to write this blogpost, yet here we are. On Wednesday, July 29, the Council of Chairpersons decided to convene the 21st session of the 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC)—much to our surprise—from August 8 to 11. For the past three terms, the NPCSC’s regular sessions began only during the last ten days of each month in which it was scheduled to meet (with one exception). And this upcoming session bears all the indications of a regular (August) session: its four-day length, a full batch of bills to review, and the State Council’s mid-year reports on budget implementation and economic development (which are heard in August).

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NPCSC Concludes First June Session Before Immediately Scheduling Another, Likely to Adopt Hong Kong National Security Law (Updated)

UPDATE (July 5, 2020): The NPCSC has unanimously approved the Hong Kong National Security Law and added it to Annex III of the Hong Kong Basic Law. The Law took effect in Hong Kong at 11 p.m. on June 30. Our partial summary of it is here.

UPDATE (June 28, 2020): The draft Hong Kong National Security Law has been added to the agenda of the ongoing NPCSC session. We expect the NPCSC to approve the bill and add it to Annex III to the Hong Kong Basic Law by Tuesday.


The 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) concluded its 19th session on Saturday, June 20. It adopted three bills and approved China’s accession to the Arms Trade Treaty. On that same day, the Council of Chairpersons decided to convene the NPCSC again later this month, from June 28 to 30, merely one week after the 19th session. According to the readout of the Council’s meeting, it has placed six bills on the 20th session’s tentative agenda—not including the 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] (Hong Kong National Security Law). But once again the readout concludes the list of bills with the character “等” (or “et cetera”), so the Hong Kong National Security Law could be included in the final agenda at the last minute—again. The NPCSC ordinarily meets once every two months; it has not held two sessions in such close proximity in over at least two decades. It seems to us, then, that the 20th session is scheduled to expedite—and pass—the Hong Kong National Security Law, while ensuring that the NPCSC complies with the Legislation Law’s requirement that new laws be adopted after at least two reviews.

Below, we will briefly review the bills adopted on Saturday and preview the upcoming 20th session, before concluding with the possible next steps for the Hong Kong National Security Law.

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NPCSC Session Watch: Public Employee Sanctions, Veterans Support, Rural Revitalization & (Temporary?) Absence of Hong Kong National Security Law (Updated)

UPDATE (June 19, 2020): The NPCSC most certainly will not approve the Hong Kong National Security Law (HKNSL) on Saturday, the last day of its ongoing session, according to the latest information. The Council of Chairpersons met on Friday and approved the voting versions of several bills, which did not include the HKNSL. Similarly, multiple sources told the South China Morning Post that the Law “was unlikely to be passed during this meeting or come into effect on Saturday even if it was endorsed on the same day.”

UPDATE (June 18, 2020): Xinhua reports on Thursday that a 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] has been submitted to the NPCSC for review. Follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our blog posts for future updates.

Our assessment as of June 18 is that the NPCSC will not pass the Hong Kong National Security Law at this session. Recall that for the Law to be enforced in Hong Kong, it is not enough that the NPCSC adopts it—it must also be listed in Annex III of the Hong Kong Basic Law. Were both actions—NPCSC approval and Annex III listing—to occur during a single session, by convention, the NPCSC would have to pass the Law first, and wait until the next day at least to list the Law in Annex III. This sequence of events theoretically could happen during this three-day session, but only if the NPCSC passes the Law on Friday (so that the listing can occur on Saturday). It does not appear that a plenary meeting (where voting occurs) is scheduled for Friday, however. The Law is thus unlikely to pass on Saturday, because the NPCSC would then have to wait till the next session (whether in July or August) to add it to Annex III—which would unnecessarily delay the process. The more likely scenario is that the NPCSC will consider the draft Law again in the near future, before approving it and listing it in Annex III during that meeting. This assessment is subject to change, however, as more information (such as the ongoing session’s daily schedule) becomes available. (Of course, that the Legislation Law essentially bars the NPCSC from adopting a new law after only a single review would be another reason why this Law won’t pass on Saturday, assuming the NPCSC follows the Legislation Law.)


The Council of Chairpersons decided on Tuesday, June 9 to convene the 19th session of the 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) from June 18 to 20. According to the official readout of the Council’s meeting, the upcoming session will consider five legislative bills. The readout does not mention the closely watched Hong Kong national security law that was authorized by the NPC’s May 28 decision, but this bill may still appear on the finalized agenda next week. A quick rundown follows.

Continue reading “NPCSC Session Watch: Public Employee Sanctions, Veterans Support, Rural Revitalization & (Temporary?) Absence of Hong Kong National Security Law (Updated)”

2020 NPC Session: Documents List

The 3rd Session of the 13th NPC concluded on Thursday, May 28, after having approved all reports and bills submitted to it for consideration. As usual, we provide below a list of all official documents from this Session. (A few documents are still pending; we will update this post when they are released.)

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

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2020 NPC Session: NPC’s Decision on National Security in Hong Kong Explained (Updated)

UPDATE (May 28, 2020): The NPC adopted this Decision on Thursday with 2878 votes in favor, one against, and six abstentions. Its explanation is available here, and an unofficial English translation is available here. We have updated this explainer in accordance with the Decision’s final text. There are two main changes to the draft: (1) the preamble is longer; and (2) and the scope of authorization under article 6 has been extended to “activities” [活动]—in addition to “conduct” [行为]—that endanger national security. Without further evidence, we do not believe the latter change is significant, however.


Readers would probably know by now that the ongoing NPC session’s agenda includes a new draft Decision on Establishing and Improving the Legal Systems and Implementation Mechanisms for Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region [关于建立健全香港特别行政区维护国家安全的法律制度和执行机制的决定]. This new bill was reviewed once by the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) on May 18 and had been kept a secret until Thursday night. We have studied the draft Decision and its accompanying explanation, and now offer the following explainer in Q&A format, focusing on the Decision’s contents and the legal questions it raises. We may add new Q&As in the coming days.

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2020 NPC Session: Agenda and Daily Schedule

On Friday, May 22, the 2020 NPC session released its agenda and daily schedule of meetings. The Session will open on the morning of Friday, May 22 and close on the afternoon of Thursday, May 28, lasting a total of seven days, the shortest since 1978. The session has not released a full schedule of press conferences; we will update this post when new press conferences are announced. All times below are in Beijing Time (UTC +8:00).

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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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