NPC 2023: Documents and Votes

The first session of China’s 14th National People’s Congress (NPC) concluded on Monday, March 13. Below we have compiled a list of all official documents from this session. Unless otherwise noted, all documents are available in Chinese only.

Where available, the vote results for each bill, resolution, and personnel matter are also listed below in brackets, in the order of yea – nay – abstention, followed by the number of delegates not voting (NV), if any. Some results are presented in a spreadsheet embedded at the bottom of this page. Thank you to Twitter user @MelanievonBraun for recording the votes received by each candidate for NPC Standing Committee member based on a livestream of the proceedings and for sharing the dataset with us.

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A Guide to China’s 2023 State Council Restructuring

UPDATE #2 (Mar. 23, 2023): Chinese authorities released the full Party and State Institutional Reform Plan on March 16, and the new State Council announced its organizational structure on March 20. We have accordingly updated our bilingual State Council organizational chart and this guide. Click here to jump to the update.

UPDATE #1 (Mar. 10, 2023): The NPC approved the State Council Institutional Reform Plan on March 10 and has released its full text, which is identical to the version discussed in this post.

On Tuesday, March 7, China unveiled details of its 2023 State Council Institutional Reform Plan (Plan) [国务院机构改革方案]. The National People’s Congress (NPC) is set to approve the Plan on March 9, ahead of its votes to appoint a new slate of State Council officials on March 10–11. This would be the ninth round of State Council reorganization since the Reform Era began. Previous rounds took place in 1982, 1988, and every five years thereafter.

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NPC 2023: Agenda and Daily Schedule

China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) has released its 2023 session’s agenda and daily schedule of meetings. This year’s session will open on the morning of March 5 and close on the morning of March 13. Lasting only eight and a half days, it is the shortest inaugural session of an NPC in at least forty years. NPC sessions in the last three years were each shortened to seven days (from typically ten) due to Covid-control measures. This year’s session is the first one held since the zero-Covid policy ended last December, but it appears the compressed meeting schedule is here to stay. All times below are in China Standard Time (UTC +8:00). For a primer on the NPC and its annual sessions, check out this FAQ.

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NPC 2023: How China Selects Its State Leaders for the Next Five Years

NPC delegates reading election ballots during the 2013 NPC session. Photo by Tencent.

The 14th National People’s Congress (NPC) will convene for its inaugural session on Sunday. One closely watched task for the session this year is to fill an array of positions in core state institutions whose five-year terms are about to expire, from the nation’s head of state to hundreds of new members on various legislative committees. In this post, we will explain what those positions are, introduce the two methods of selection (election and appointment), discuss the Communist Party-controlled nomination process, and lastly take a look at how the NPC will deliberate and vote on the nominations in the next several days.

There are few standing legal rules on China’s quinquennial state leadership changes. Instead, they follow the ad hoc procedural rules adopted by the NPC every five years, as well as the Party’s internal practices on the selection of candidates. This post is based on those past rules and practices. While the details have changed from cycle to cycle, the fundamentals have remained the same. We will update this post once the NPC approves the ad hoc rules that will govern this year’s elections and appointments.

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NPC 2023: Amendments to China’s “Statutory Constitution” of Lawmaking

Editor’s Note (Mar. 16, 2023): We have updated this post in accordance with the final text of the amendments adopted on March 13. The original version of this post is archived here.

For the ninth year in a row, China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) considered and adopted legislation at its annual session earlier this month. This year’s bill was amendments to the Legislation Law [立法法] (Bill), previously reviewed in October and December 2022. The Legislation Law is an important statute with semi-constitutional status. It serves three principal purposes: it demarcates the legislative authority of various state institutions; regulates (to varying extent) their legislative procedures; and prescribes a hierarchy of legal norms, along with the attendant mechanism to enforce that hierarchy, called “recording and review” [备案审查].

The Bill has made an array of amendments to provisions in all three areas. In this post, we will offer a relatively thorough discussion of the Bill, proceeding in the order of legislative authority, procedure, and hierarchy. In each section below, we will discuss more important amendments in the order they appear in the Bill, and briefly summarize minor ones at the end of the section. We will not mention amendments that simply repeat the provisions of other laws. All in-line citations are to the Legislation Law as amended by the Bill.

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NPC Calendar: March 2023

This post was updated on April 18, 2023. The original version is archived here.

The revised Animal Husbandry Law [畜牧法] (adopted on Oct. 30, 2022) and the Reservists Law [预备役人员法] (adopted on Dec. 30, 2022) took effect on March 1.

The 14th National People’s Congress (NPC) held its inaugural session from March 5 to 13. It approved the State Council Institutional Reform Plan [国务院机构改革方案] on March 10, and the following documents on March 13:

  • an amendment to the Legislation Law [立法法];
  • annual work reports of the State Council, the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC), the Supreme People’s Court (SPC), and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP);
  • the 2023 National Economic and Social Development Plan and accompanying Ministry of Finance report; and
  • the 2023 Central Budget and accompanying National Reform and Development Commission report.

In addition, the NPC adopted a decision to establish the 14th NPC’s special committees on March 5, and voted to fill the following state positions throughout the session:

  • March 5: chairpersons, vice-chairpersons, and members of the 14th NPC Constitution and Law Committee and the 14th NPC Financial and Economic Affairs Committee.
  • March 10: PRC president and vice-president; chairperson of the Central Military Commission (CMC); and chairperson, vice-chairpersons, and secretary-general of the 14th NPCSC.
  • March 11: premier of the State Council; vice-chairpersons and members of the CMC; chairperson of the State Supervision Commission; president of the SPC; procurator-general of the SPP; and rank-and-file members of the 14th NPCSC.
  • March 12: vice-premiers, state councilors, departmental heads, and secretary-general of the State Council; and chairpersons, vice-chairpersons, and members of the other NPC special committees.

For the full texts of aforementioned documents (including any English translation), outcomes of the votes (if available), and our related coverage, please see this page.

On March 14, the 14th NPCSC held its first session, at which it appointed five deputy secretaries-general.

The amendment to the Legislation Law (adopted on Mar. 13) took effect on March 15.

(Still) Mostly Han Men: Demographics of the 14th NPC

Delegates clapping at the 2022 NPC session. Photo by CGTN.

On Friday, February 24, the 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) concluded its final session, thus effectively bringing the 13th NPC’s five-year term to a close. As one of its last official acts, the outgoing NPCSC certified the elections of 2,977 delegates to the 14th NPC, which will first convene on March 5. In a rare move, the NPCSC Delegate Credentials Committee disqualified three delegates-elect (from Hebei, Guangdong, and Chongqing, respectively)[*] because they “lack the basic statutory requirements” for being a delegate, without further elaborating.

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2022 Legal Inquiry Response: Localities Lack Legislative Authority over Personal Bankruptcy—Except Shenzhen?

On January 28, 2023, the Legislative Affairs Commission (LAC) of the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) released one of the “legal inquiry responses” [法律询问答复] it had issued during the past year. As discussed in depth here, such responses clarify the applicable law in real-world scenarios at the request of central governmental bodies or provincial legislatures. They are not universally binding, but are considered highly persuasive—hence a form of “soft law”—because of the LAC’s pivotal role in lawmaking.

The sole response released on Saturday concerns the division of legislative powers between central and local authorities. In May 2022, an unnamed provincial legislature[1] wrote to the LAC that the minors protection legislation it was reviewing would touch on (1) guardianship of minors, and that it was also mulling legislation on (2) intellectual property protections for porcelain and (3) personal bankruptcy. May it legislate on those matters, it asked, or are they within the national legislature’s exclusive purview?

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NPC Calendar: February 2023

The 20th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China will convene for its Second Plenum late this month. The Plenum is expected to propose nominees for senior leadership positions within key state institutions and to refer them to the 1st session of the 14th NPC (due to convene on March 5, 2023). The Plenum will also likely adopt a reorganization plan for the State Council, which would be submitted to the 1st session of the 14th NPC for review.

The 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) will convene for its 39th—and final—regularly scheduled session late this month. The Council of Chairpersons is expected to meet in mid-February to decide on the agenda and dates of the session.

The NPCSC will mostly make preparations for the 2023 NPC session at its upcoming meeting, including by certifying the results of the recently concluded elections of delegates to the 14th NPC, but it is still likely to review one or two legislative bills. Possible candidates include the draft revision to the Counterespionage Law [反间谍法] and the draft Qinghai–Tibet Plateau Ecological Conservation Law [青藏高原生态保护法].

Year in Review: The NPC and the Observer in 2022

As we bid farewell to 2022, we look back at the National People’s Congress’s and our work in the past year.

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