UPDATE (Aug. 28, 2023): The NPCSC is expected to approve the draft revision to the Administrative Reconsideration Law, draft Foreign State Immunity Law, and draft amendment to the Civil Procedure Law on Friday, September 1. The draft revision to the Company Law will be subject to a fourth (and mostly likely final) review.
China’s top legislature, the 14th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC), will convene for its fifth session from August 28 to September 1, the Council of Chairpersons decided on Monday, August 21. In addition to proposing an agenda that includes nine legislative bills, the Council also discussed a few other interesting matters at Monday’s meeting. We briefly discuss all those developments below.
The NPCSC is likely to extend a pilot program allowing eligible lawyers licensed in Hong Kong or Macao to practice mainland law in nine Guangdong cities after passing a special bar exam. It is also expected to review one or more additional bills at its upcoming session.
The NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) is seeking public comments on a draft Criminal Law Amendment (XII) [刑法修正案（十二）] through August 24, 2023. The draft is available in PDF here (with a comparison chart included) and an explanatory document (in Chinese) here. An English translation of the draft and comparison chart is available here.
To submit comments online, please refer to this guide. Comments can also be mailed to the NPCSC Legislative Affairs Commission [全国人大常委会法制工作委员会] at the following address:
UPDATE: On Tuesday, the NPCSC decided to remove Qin Gang as minister of foreign affairs and instead reappointed his predecessor and China’s current top-ranked diplomat, Wang Yi, to that post. Qin remains a state councilor. His removal [免职], unlike a dismissal [撤职], is not inherently considered a disciplinary action. In addition, the NPCSC has the statutory authority (under the 2021 amendments to the NPC Organic Law) to remove Qin as a state councilor, but did not exercise that power today. We won’t speculate as to why.
Senior leaders of China’s national legislature, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC), decided on Monday, July 24 to convene the NPCSC for an emergency session just a day later, on Tuesday, July 25. According to the official readout of their meeting, the sole items on the session’s agenda are a draft Criminal Law Amendment (XII) [刑法修正案（十二）], which is not expected to pass on Tuesday, and unspecified personnel matters—or, in legal-speak, “bills of appointments and removals” [任免案]—which will pass and appear to be the source of the emergency.
On June 28, China’s national legislature, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, adopted the Foreign Relations Law [对外关系法]. It went into force on July 1, 2023.
The Law underlines two important trends: China’s increasing global outreach and its willingness to embed this global outreach within a legal framework.
As a framework law, it restates China’s long-standing foreign policy positions and codifies its foreign policy praxis. It also highlights new priorities such as the recently launched Global Security Initiative [全球安全倡议], Global Development Initiative [全球发展倡议], and Global Civilization Initiative [全球文明倡议]. While it clarifies many aspects of the function and vision of China’s foreign policy apparatus, it also creates significant legal uncertainty, especially with regards to the application and implementation of international treaties. This is particularly relevant given the deterioration of U.S.-China relations and the renewed prioritization of “struggle” [斗争] in the PRC’s foreign policy vocabulary and as a new key element of Xi Jinping Thought.
The Law outlines China’s foreign policy framework and goals in 45 articles spanning six chapters, which I discuss in turn below.
English translations will be provided if and when available. All explanatory documents are in Chinese and compiled in a single PDF; the links above will take you to the corresponding pages in the PDF only if you use a desktop browser—this does not work on a phone or a tablet.
UPDATE (June 26, 2023): The NPCSC is expected to approve the Barrier-Free Environments Development Law and the Foreign Relations Law on Wednesday, June 28.
The 14th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) will convene for its third session from June 26 to 28, the Council of Chairpersons decided on Friday, June 16. Eight bills, including six draft laws, are on the session’s tentative agenda, which we preview below.
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).