Legislation Summary: New Statute Governing Public Employees’ Conduct

On June 20, the NPC Standing Committee approved the Law on Governmental Sanctions for Public Employees [公职人员政务处分法] (Law or Governmental Sanctions Law). An unofficial English translation of the Law is available here. This Law is a companion statute of the 2018 Supervision Law [监察法], which established the supervision commissions [监察委员会] and empowers them to “give . . . decisions on governmental sanctions to public employees who have broken the law in accordance with legally prescribed procedures” (art. 45, para. 1, item 2). The Law, with 68 articles in seven chapters, implements this provision by laying down a set of both substantive and procedural disciplinary rules tailor-made for all public employees. Its core provisions start by setting forth the types of governmental sanctions and the general rules on their use, then provide for a long list of unlawful conduct and the corresponding sanctions, and end with the procedures for giving and reviewing sanctions decisions. The following summary will proceed in the same manner.

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NPCSC Seeks Public Comments on Draft Veterans Support Law & Rural Revitalization Promotion Law

The NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) is soliciting public comments on the following two bills through July 21, 2020:

All linked files are PDF documents in Chinese. English translations will be provided if and when available. The accompanying explanations of these drafts can be read here (PDF).

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] was reviewed together with those two bills last week, but were not released today. Since the NPCSC will meet again on Sunday and will likely adopt that Law, it seems all but certain that the NPCSC will not release a draft of the Law for public comments. We have summarized and analyzed an excerpted explanation of the bill here.

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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.

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

NPC Standing Committee Releases 2020 Legislative Plan

After having kept its 2019 legislative plan a secret, on Saturday, June 20, the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) released its legislative plan for 2020. This plan is divided into four parts. The first part, as usual, lists bills that are scheduled for review this year, while the other three lay down some all-encompassing guiding principles for the NPCSC’s legislative work in 2020. We will discuss only the first part below.

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NPCSC Releases Some Details of Draft Hong Kong National Security Law, But Withholds Information on Criminal Provisions

On Saturday, June 20, the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) disclosed some details of the highly anticipated 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]. It did not release the draft that it reviewed this week. Rather, the state-run Xinhua News Agency published an excerpt from the explanation of the draft; an unofficial translation of part of the excerpt is available here. As of this writing, the NPCSC has not officially solicited public comments on the draft. Below, we will introduce the main contents of the draft Law (as summarized by the explanation), with brief analysis of certain provisions.

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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.

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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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NPC Calendar: June 2020

The Basic Healthcare and Health Promotion Law [基本医疗卫生与健康促进法] takes effect on June 1.

The 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) is expected to convene for its 19th session in late June. The Council of Chairpersons is expected to meet in mid-June to decide on the agenda and dates of the session. The NPCSC’s annual legislative and oversight plans for 2020 may be released after the session.

The session may review a draft of the national security law that would be implemented in Hong Kong under the NPC’s recent, May 28 decision.

The following legislative bills may return for further review:

The NPCSC is soliciting public comments on the following bills through June 13:


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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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