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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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. We do not believe the latter change is significant.

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.

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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 (Updated)

UPDATE (July 5, 2020): The NPC adopted the Civil Code on May 28 with 2879 votes in favor, 2 against, and 5 abstentions. We have updated this guide (including all citations and quotations) in accordance with the Code’s final text. We also discussed some of the final substantive changes to the prior draft: additions made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic are listed under the heading “COVID-19 Update,” while other new provisions are incorporated into the summary itself and are indicated in red.

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 final version; other sources are not always cited. You can find all relevant legislative documents and prior drafts on this page.

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NPC Calendar: May 2020

On May 1, a decision of the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) authorizing the suspension of certain statutory provisions as part of a pilot program in the Hainan Free Trade Zone takes effect.

The 13th NPCSC is expected to convene for its 18th session by mid-May to discuss a draft of its annual work report and other documents to prepare for the NPC’s 2020 annual session. The Council of Chairmen is expected to meet soon after the Labor Day holiday (May 1–5) to decide on the dates and agenda of the session.

The 13th NPC will convene for its third annual session on Friday, May 22. The session’s agenda has not yet been finalized, but we expect it to include the following:

  • Hear and deliberate the Government Work Report;
  • Hear and deliberate work reports by the NPCSC, the Supreme People’s Court, and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate;
  • Review and approve a report on the execution of the 2019 National Economic and Social Development Plan and on the draft 2020 National Economic and Social Development Plan;
  • Approve the 2020 National Economic and Social Development Plan;
  • Review and approve a report on the execution of the 2019 Central and Local Budgets and on the draft 2020 Central and Local Budgets;
  • Approve the 2020 Central Budget; and
  • Deliberate the draft Civil Code [民法典].

We also expect the session to retroactively approve the resignation of Feng Zhonghua [冯忠华] as an NPCSC member in June 2019. He has since been appointed a Vice Governor of Hainan. Under Chinese law, an NPCSC member must resign if he is to serve in an administrative organ.

On May 21, the NPC session will convene for a preparatory meeting to select members of the Presidium (which will preside over the session) and to finalize the session’s agenda. The Presidium will then immediately meet to decide on (among other matters) the session’s daily schedule. Shortly thereafter the session is expected to hold its first press conference.

Though the NPC’s annual session ordinarily lasts around ten days, several outlets have reported that this year’s would be shortened to only seven days. On the last day of the session, we expect the NPC to approve the Civil Code.

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