The NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) released its 2017 oversight plan (Plan) in early May, and this post presents an overdue analysis of it. Here, we will not list each and every project in the Plan (unlike our previous analysis of the NPCSC’s 2017 legislative plan), but will instead offer a few observations about the Plan. A partial translation of the Plan, including more detailed descriptions of the projects, can be found at the end of this post.
The 5th Session of the 12th National People’s Congress (NPC) held its first press conference earlier on Saturday. The spokeswoman for the Session, Fu Ying, who is also Chairwoman of the NPC Foreign Affairs Committee, answered a total of 15 questions from both Chinese and foreign journalists. While her answers on China’s 2017 national defense budget made headlines elsewhere, here we’ll focus instead on what she revealed about the top legislature’s tasks planned for 2017.
As was revealed late last Monday, the tentative agenda of the current NPCSC session (which we discussed in the last post) had undergone several changes. The most notable was a new draft law named National Intelligence Law. The press release of the first meeting of the 25th Session contained the following short paragraph on this draft law:
In order to strengthen and safeguard national intelligence efforts, and to defend national security and interests, the State Council submitted a draft National Intelligence Law for deliberation. Entrusted by the State Council, CHEN Wenqing, the Minister of State Security, made an explanation.
What was unusual, however, was the complete lack of media coverage of this law in the four days since. State media did not report on the content of the law, nor on the NPCSC members’ discussion of the law yesterday. While national security legislations are “sensitive” in nature, and their media coverage is normally tightly controlled, the absence of any report is still a deviation from the usual course of action.
Update 2: Per a reader’s suggestion, this Blog has located English translations of both the Interpretation itself and the accompanying Explanations. Both were published by Xinhua. In addition, China Law Translate has posted full translations of the new Cybersecurity Law and Film Industry Promotion Law.
The 12th NPCSC has just concluded its 24th Session and passed the Cybersecurity Law, the Film Industry Promotion Law, and amendments to the Marine Environmental Protection Law and to the Private Education Promotion Law. We expect the full texts of these laws to be released later today (Beijing Time).
According to Xinhua, it has also unanimously approved an interpretation of Article 104 of the Hong Kong SAR Basic Law, which will also be released later.
Finally, also according to Xinhua, the NPCSC removed the heads of four State Council ministries: The Ministry of State Security, the Ministry of Civil Affairs, the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Supervision. Interestingly, it apparently appointed only three new ministers; the position of the Minister of Supervision remains vacant. The significance, if any, of the vacancy awaits to be seen.
The NPCSC is now holding a press conference on the bills approved, which you can follow at this link (in Chinese only).
This Blog will cover the press conference and the aforementioned bills in later posts.
Update: China Law Translate has posted the full text of the 3rd Draft with English translation.
Confirming your author’s prior suspicion, the character “等” in the press release mentioned in Part I did signify an additional item on the agenda of this NPCSC session. According to the official agenda of the 24th Session released on Monday and related news reports, the draft Cybersecurity Law has also been submitted to this Session for its third reading, and the NPC Law Committee has recommended that this Session pass the law. Therefore, it’s almost certain that, by the end of the 8-day session, the Cybersecurity Law will be a new addition to the Chinese legal system.