Annotated Translation: 2018 Amendment to the P.R.C. Constitution (Version 2.0)

On March 11, 2018, the 1st Session of the 13th NPC adopted the following Constitutional Amendment with 2,958 votes in favor, two against, and three abstentions. Sixteen delegates were absent and one vote cast was declared invalid.

We published the original annotated English translation of this Constitutional Amendment on the day it was adopted. Given the public’s unabated interest in this important document ever since, on February 7, 2019, we comprehensively updated our annotations of the amendment—in particular those of the several articles that amended the Preamble. We also updated the translation in accordance with our recent translation of the entire Constitution as amended. Thanks to Taige Hu’s substantial contribution to this project.

We formatted some of the texts below to enhance readability. Our annotations are in brackets.

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Translation: Communist Party’s Proposals for Amending the P.R.C. Constitution (2018)

UPDATE (Feb. 26, 2018): This translation now also appears on China Law Translate.


The Communist Party today released full text of its proposals for amending the P.R.C. Constitution, which are translated below. In translating this document, we mostly followed the official English translation of the Constitution that is available on the NPC’s website. Some texts below are formatted to enhance readability. Our comments are in brackets. The translation is subject to further modifications.

As we have said before, the Constitutional Amendment eventually adopted by the NPC in March will most likely be identical to the following proposals, except for the use of maybe one or two characters or punctuations. No governmental or Party entity is publicly soliciting comments on the following proposals.

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NPCSC to Convene Special Session to Consider Draft Constitutional Amendment (UPDATED)

UPDATE (Jan. 30, 2018): The NPCSC decided to convene the 2018 NPC session on March 5, 2018, as expected. The Party’s proposals for amending the Constitution have yet to be released.


The Council of Chairmen decided today to convene the second special session—also the 32nd session—of the 12th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) from January 29 to 30, 2018.[*] This short two-day session will focus on two things: (1) deliberating a constitutional amendment drafted on the basis of the Communist Party’s proposals for amending the Constitution that were approved last week; and (2) considering a decision to convene the 1st Session of the 13th NPC.

To quote our previous explainer on how the constitutional amendment process will unfold at the NPCSC:

On the first day of [the two-day] session, the NPCSC will hear an explanation of the Party’s proposals, which will likely be released on the same day. The NPCSC will then proceed to draft a constitutional amendment based on the proposals. In fact, we expect the draft amendment to use exactly the same words as the proposals would, as the NPCSC has never deviated from the Party’s proposals in any way (except in how it numbers the articles, for a new constitutional amendment continues the numbering of articles in the last one) in drafting constitutional amendments. On the last day of the session, the NPCSC will unanimously decide to submit the draft constitutional amendment to the 1st Session of the 13th NPC for deliberation. There probably won’t be any opportunity for public comments.

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Members of the Communist Party Central Committee voted on the Party’s proposals for amending the P.R.C. Constitution by a show of hands at the Second Plenum on January 19, 2018. Source: Xinhua

The special session will also review, and pass, a decision to convene the 1st Session of the 13th NPC, likely on March 5, 2018. (Such a decision is typically made in the December preceding the session.) Apart from the usual matters that annual NPC sessions consider (such as the various work reports), the 2018 NPC session will also select a new state leadership, which, for the first time ever, will include the Chairman of the soon-to-be-established P.R.C. Supervision Commission (so named under the draft Supervision Law). In addition, the NPC will deliberate, and approve, the Supervision Law and the constitutional amendment.

NOTE: We do not plan to post a separate blog post on the outcome of this upcoming NPCSC session, because there likely won’t be any new development we have not already discussed above. Should there be any newsworthy development, however, we will update this post instead. Thus, follow us on Twitter to receive notifications of the update or remember to check this post again at the end of this month. That said, we do plan to publish a translation and analysis of the Party’s proposals for amending the Constitution once they are released. Stay tuned.


[*] The first special session took place in September 2016 to deal with the unusual situation where the Standing Committee of the Liaoning Provincial People’s Congress lacked a quorum because over half of its members had been disqualified for vote buying.


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NPC Calendar: January 2018

The following legislations and decisions take effect on January 1, 2018:

The 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party will convene for its Second Plenum this month to discuss proposals for amending China’s Constitution. We expect the NPCSC to hold a non-regularly scheduled session shortly thereafter to draft a constitutional amendment based on the Party’s proposals. We also expect this NPCSC session to adopt a decision to convene the 1st Session of the 13th NPC on March 5, 2018.

Pursuant to a March 2017 decision of the NPC (discussed here), the roughly 3,000 delegates to the 13th NPC will be elected by the end of this month. The 12th NPCSC will certify the results of the elections at its next regularly scheduled session in late February.


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Explainer: China to Amend the Constitution for the Fifth Time (UPDATED)

UPDATE (Jan. 25, 2017): This post has been updated to reflect recent developments.


The official Xinhua News Agency reported on December 27 that the Politburo decided to convene the Second Plenum of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party in January 2018. The main agenda of the Plenum is to “discuss and study proposals for amending part of [China’s current] Constitution,” which was adopted in 1982 and later amended four times in 1988, 1993, 1999, and 2004. Under Chinese law (and a key CPC policy document), the constitutional amendment process essentially includes three steps. In this post, we will explain each step in turn and point out the key events to watch during the next several months.

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