2020 NPC Session: NPC’s Imminent Decision on National Security in Hong Kong Explained

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. This explainer is subject to the usual caveat that there could be further changes to the bill before it is approved next Thursday. 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

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 latest public draft (released in December 2019); other sources are not always cited. You can find all relevant legislative documents and prior drafts on this page.

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NPCSC Session Watch: COVID-19 Responses, Copyright, Armed Police Reform & Silence on 2020 NPC (Updated)

UPDATE (Apr. 28, 2020): The NPCSC decided on April 29 that the NPC’s 2020 session will start on May 22. We do not know how long the session will be at this point. They ordinarily last around ten days, but several outlets reported that this year’s would be shortened to only a week. The official schedule is expected to be released the day before the session starts, on May 21.

The NPCSC also approved the revision to the Law on the Prevention and Control of Environmental Pollution by Solid Waste, effective September 1, 2020, and the decision to authorize the suspension of certain statutory provisions in the Hainan Free Trade Zone, to expire on December 31, 2024.

UPDATE (Apr. 26, 2020): According to the official readout of the first plenary meeting of the NPCSC’s session this week, the Council of Chairpersons has indeed submitted a draft decision on the new dates for NPC’s 2020 session. We expect the NPCSC to adopt the draft decision and announce the new dates this Wednesday. Bloomberg reported last week that the NPC might meet from May 23 to 30.


The Council of Chairpersons decided on Friday, April 17 to convene the 17th session of the 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) from April 26 to 29. Contrary to what we have expected, this upcoming session seems to be a regular bi-monthly session, where the NPCSC will review seven legislative bills. Below, we will briefly review the session’s agenda before turning to the question on everyone’s mind (well, ours at least): when will the NPC meet this year?

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China Postpones 2020 NPC Session “As Appropriate” & Imposes Near-Total Ban on Consuming Wild Animals

The NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) held a one-day session on Monday, February 24 and adopted two decisions that we will discuss below. It is worth mentioning that 57 legislators “attended” the session via videoconferencing (113 others showed up in person), and they voted by a show of hands in lieu of the usual electronic voting system.

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China to Postpone Annual NPC Session and Restrict Wide Animals Trade & Consumption (Updated)

UPDATE (Feb. 18, 2019): We have updated our earlier analysis of the possible new start date of this year’s NPC session.


Editor’s Note: Some wording in this blogpost has been changed since its original publication.

The Council of Chairpersons decided on Monday, February 17 to convene the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) for a one-day session on February 24. Two main items would be on the session’s agenda and both relate to the still-ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak.

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NPCSC Abolishes “Custody & Education” Detention System, Revises Securities Law & Approves Community Corrections Law, Civil Litigation Reform Pilot

The 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) concluded its fifteenth session on Saturday, December 28. It approved a batch of bills, most prominently a decision abolishing China’s decades-old extrajudicial detention system against prostitution. We will focus on this decision below, while briefly noting other bills it approved. Because the NPCSC (quite unusually) has yet to release the relevant legislative records, we had limited primary sources to rely upon when writing this post. We intend to update the discussion below when more sources become available.

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NPCSC Session Watch: Civil Code, Securities Law, Yangtze River Protection, Taiwanese Investments & Export Control (Updated)

UPDATE (Dec. 17, 2019): It appears that a complete Civil Code has indeed been submitted for review at the NPCSC’s upcoming session. Here is an unofficial but authentic draft (PDF).


The Council of Chairpersons decided on Monday, December 16 to convene the 15th session of the 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) from December 23 to 28. The NPCSC will review at least 11 legislative bills at its upcoming six-day session. A quick rundown follows.

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NPCSC Passes Cryptography Law, Grants State Supervision Commission Rulemaking Power & Approves New Free Trade Zone Pilots

UPDATE (Nov. 2, 2019): An unofficial English translation of the Cryptography Law is now available on China Law Translate.


The 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) concluded its fourteenth session on Saturday, October 26. It adopted a new Cryptography Law [密码法] and three decisions concerning reforms in China’s free trade zones, the State Supervision Commission’s power, and the integration of the Greater Bay Area. Below we will provide a brief summary of each.

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NPCSC Session Watch: Encryption, Civil Code, Biosecurity, Child Protection & State Supervision Commission Rulemaking

The Council of Chairpersons decided on Monday (October 14) to convene the 14th session of the 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) from October 21 to 26. The NPCSC will consider eight legislative bills plus three draft decisions on important legal issues during the upcoming six-day session. A quick rundown follows.

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