Earlier today, we formally launched our new Substack newsletter, NPC Observer Monthly, a monthly recap of goings-on at the National People’s Congress (NPC) and its Standing Committee (NPCSC)—and sometimes more.
This newsletter drops at the start of each month, starting today. Each issue will, at a minimum, recap all major NPC-related events in the previous month, including any new law that took effect, any new documents released by the legislature, and, of course, any legislative meetings as well as their agendas and outcomes. In the course of recounting the events, we will link to and excerpt from any relevant coverage we have published here. And we will briefly discuss any development that we haven’t yet had the time to analyze in-depth here.
If, during the previous month, we have also published contents not tied to any current event, the newsletter will include a round-up of such publications. Finally, depending on the month and our schedule, we may also end an issue with musings on an NPC-related topic that is in some way connected to the previous month—as we did today (see excerpt below).
Today is NPC Observer’s fifth birthday. I formally launched the website in my Los Angeles apartment on October 18, 2016. From the very start, it has been my goal to make China’s national legislature more accessible to English readers around the world and improve their understanding of that important institution. My first post went live at almost 11 p.m. that day, when the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) announced an upcoming eight-day session—still the longest one since. (That was the session when the NPCSC controversially interpreted the Hong Kong Basic Law’s oath-taking provision.) The website had just over 500 views by the end of November, and I was both surprised and thrilled. A year later, the first draft of the Supervision Law—I believe we were the first outlet anywhere to post it—drew almost 20,000 views in November 2017 alone.
Our small team—no bigger than three at any given time—is probably the only constant during the past five years. I ran the website myself for the first fourteen months, including my first semester in law school. Over the years, a few people joined the team, made invaluable contributions, and moved on to greater things. Taige Hu, our capable deputy manager, has been with us for over three years and counting. I can’t speak for others, but it is a genuine passion for what we do, a sense of obligation to our growing readership, and of course lots of caffeine—that have kept me going.
In the interim, almost everything else at NPC Observer has changed. We revamped the website’s appearance in late 2018, adopting a livelier header image, new colors, and better fonts for reading. We have also added many new features and functionalities, including some “under the hood” technical upgrades aimed at improving reader experience. In my mind we are no longer just a “blog,” a simple reverse-chronological feed of posts, even though the homepage layout remains the same.
At the same time, more significant changes and events happened at the NPC, many unimaginable five years ago. A new NPC convened in March 2018 and within days voted to approve a historic constitutional amendment. The NPCSC has subtly strengthened oversight of other governmental bodies, including through the invigoration of a mechanism for policing their rogue legislation. The legislature has also increased the volume and pace of legislation, enacting a raft of important laws that attracted global attention, including a series of controversial legislative actions over Hong Kong.
I am immensely grateful for my present and past teammates for helping build NPC Observer into a trusted source on the NPC in less than five years. Our success also owes a great deal to the countless people who read, support, and promote the website, many since the very beginning.
Last week, the Communist Party held its first-ever conference focusing on the people’s congresses. A historic moment for the NPC could be on the horizon, and we are prepared to continue doing our part in covering that increasingly important institution.
Thanks again, Changhao (in my capacity as the founder of NPC Observer)
P.S. We also posted new “About” pages for the website and the NPC. I hope you will check them out.
How best to describe 2020? Challenging. Surreal. Exhausting. And for China’s national legislature, norm-breaking. On this last day of the year, we look back, as usual, at the National People’s Congress’s and our work in 2020. To start, we recount those NPC institutional norms that were burned by the dumpster fire that was 2020.
On this last day of the eventful 2016—which brought us a Trump Presidency, Brexit, not the most celebrity deaths in a year (per CNN), and of concern to this Blog, a series of significant yet oftentimes controversial actions by the NPCSC—I took some time to review the NPC and this Blog’s 2016 and to preview their 2017 as well.
It’s been a while since your author had the idea of starting a blog dedicated to writing about China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) and its Standing Committee (NPCSC). Here it is, finally.
The first post will be on the upcoming session of the 12th NPCSC. Then in the coming weeks, this Blog will begin posting a series of articles on the 12th NPCSC’s five-year legislative plan, which will also appear on China Law Translate. Other ideas for blog posts currently include an exploration of the impact of the NPCSC’s law enforcement inspections on the laws inspected. In the meantime, your author will try to post some useful resources such as the NPCSC’s legislative plans on the Blog once your author become more familiarized with WordPress’s functionalities.
Also in the coming weeks, your author expects to further adjust the appearances of this Blog, and may even obtain a custom domain name for this Blog. After all, the Blog is still at a very early stage and things are just getting started.