The NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) on Friday released its annual legislative plan for 2018. As usual, the plan is divided into two sections—the first listing specific legislative projects slated for discussion at the NPCSC’s remaining five sessions in 2018, and second setting forth general guiding principles for its legislative work this year. We will discuss only the first part in this post.
The 12th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) will convene for its 33rd—and last—session in late February. The Council of Chairmen is expected to meet to set the dates and agenda for the session before the week-long Chinese New Year holiday begins on February 15.
This session will certify results of the currently ongoing elections of the delegates to the 13th NPC, which will first convene on March 5. An explanation of the guidelines for these elections can be found here.
We also expect the upcoming session to hear the State Council’s mid-term report on a pilot reform of the social insurance system. Authorized by the NPCSC in late 2016, the reform suspends the enforcement of two provisions of the Social Insurance Law in twelve cities so as to combine the maternity insurance funds and the basic health insurance funds, which would have been run separately under the suspended provisions.
We expect only a few (perhaps one or two) legislative bills to be submitted to the session for deliberation. Possible candidates include the draft E-Commerce Law and the draft Soil Pollution Prevention and Control Law.
(Editing by Changhao Wei)
UPDATE (Dec. 23, 2017): The NPCSC has released the finalized agenda and daily schedule of the ongoing session. This agenda, unlike the agendas of past December sessions since the early 1990s, does not include a draft decision to convene the NPC session of the following year (which would be the 1st Session of the 13th NPC). This is highly unusual. But the significance (if any) of the absence of that decision is not clear at this point. Elsewhere, in a report on the draft Supervision Law (as reported by state media), the NPC Law Committee seemed to be deliberately avoiding referring explicitly to the 1st Session of the 13th NPC: It recommended that the NPCSC submit the draft Supervision Law to “a session of the NPC” (全国人民代表大会会议) for deliberation, short of identifying the specific NPC session (unlike what it had done before). Through this update we merely wish to point out these irregularities. It is still premature to speculate whether the 2018 NPC session will convene as usual on March 5 because the Council of Chairmen could always add a convening decision to the agenda (though it doesn’t explain why it hasn’t done so already). In any event, we will find out on December 27 when the ongoing NPCSC session closes.
As predicted, the Council of Chairmen met on Thursday (December 14) to set the dates and propose an agenda for the second last session of the 12th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC). According Xinhua’s report of the Council’s meeting, an astonishing 12 legislative bills (among others) were submitted to the upcoming six-day NPCSC session (December 22–27) for deliberation, the most ever since the start of the 12th NPC. Most of these bills are worth paying close attention to because of their subject matters, as we will discuss below.
Starting in December 2017, we will publish the NPC Calendar as monthly blog posts instead of a widget in the Blog’s sidebar and a series of tweets—however short the Calendar for a particular month may be (in other words, we are going to do this SCOTUSblog-style). This change will make it easier for us to (if necessary) provide a lot more details about NPC-related events each month. The NPC Calendar widget in the sidebar will remain, but will contain a lot less information than the blog post versions so as to provide our readers with a quick overview of NPC-related information each month.
The 12th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) will convene for its 31st—and the second last—session in late December. The Council of Chairmen is expected to meet next week to decide on the date and agenda of the 31st Session.
UPDATE (Nov. 20, 2017): An English translation of the draft amendment to the Rural Land Contracting Law is now available. See link below.
In addition to the draft Supervision Law, the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) is now also soliciting public opinions on the following three draft laws. The comments period for each is noted below.
- E-Commerce Law (Draft for 2nd Deliberation) 电子商务法草案二次审议稿: Nov. 7, 2017 – Nov. 26, 2017
- Rural Land Contracting Law (Draft Amendment) 农村土地承包法修正案草案: Nov. 7, 2017 – Dec. 6, 2017. An English translation of the draft amendment is available here. The NPCSC has released an “authoritative explanation” (权威解读) of the draft amendment here.
- Vessel Tonnage Tax Law (Draft) 船舶吨位税法草案: Nov. 7, 2017 – Dec. 6, 2017
All linked filed are PDF documents in Chinese.
Given the short comments period for the draft E-Commerce Law, we expect the NPCSC to deliberate and pass it at its upcoming December session.
To submit comments online, please refer to these instructions. The “Occupations” dropdown list for the draft amendment to the Rural Land Contract Law includes these items, from top to bottom: (1) agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry, or fishery workers (农、林、牧、渔从业人员); (2) employees of scientific research institutions (科研机构工作人员); (3) employees of state organs (国家机关工作人员); and (4) other (其他).
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:
Chinese: 北京市西城区前门西大街1号 邮编：100805
English: No. 1 West Qianmen Avenue, Xicheng District, Beijing 100805
Please clearly write “[BILL NAME IN CHINESE]征求意见” on the envelope.
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UPDATE (Oct. 30, 2017): The finalized agenda and daily schedule of the session are released. One new item—a draft decision to carry out pilots to reform the state supervision system in an additional 28 provinces*—was added to the agenda just a day after the Communist Party announced that it had made such a decision. We will report on the details of the NPCSC decision either tomorrow when the full NPCSC hears an explanation of it or when the NPCSC passes it on November 4.
*The reform will therefore be carried out in 31 of 32 of China’s provincial-level administrative divisions (excluding Hong Kong and Macau).
Buried in the pre-19th Communist Party Congress propaganda frenzy was a bland official report on the Council of Chairmen’s latest meeting on October 16. The Council decided that the 30th—and third last—session of the 12th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) would take place from October 30 to November 4, consistent with our earlier predictions. This post is a (fairly detailed) rundown of the items on the Session’s agenda.
The 12th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) today finally released its much-anticipated legislative and supervisory plans for 2017. Here we will focus on the legislative plan, leaving the supervisory plan for another blog post. According to the 2017 legislative plan, a total of 23 legislative projects are tentatively scheduled (as the plan is subject to change) for the remaining four NPCSC sessions this year, with dozens more listed as preparatory projects. Among them, there is certainly no lack of blockbuster legislations, whether relating to China’s judicial reform, anti-corruption drive, environmental protection, or economic and social development in general.
Dec. 27, 2016 Update: The deadline has been extended.
The NPCSC has released the following draft laws for public comments until January 26, 2017.
- General Provisions of the Civil Code (Third Deliberation Draft) (民法总则草案三次审议稿)
- Amendment to the Water Pollution Prevention and Control Law (Draft) (水污染防治法修正案草案)
- E-Commerce Law (Draft) (电子商务法草案)
All links are to PDF files, and all files are in Chinese only. Links to other formats will be added if and when they become available.
The NPCSC also reviewed a draft National Intelligence Law at its last session, but we are not optimistic about the prospect of its being released for public comments.
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The 12th NPCSC will convene for its next session, which will be the last one in 2016, from December 19 to 25, the Council of Chairmen decided on Monday. The Council also proposed a preliminary agenda for the 25th Session, which features six legislative bills, three authorizations of reforms, and several items pertaining to next year’s NPC plenary session and the upcoming 13th NPC. As usual, in the first part of this installment of Session Watch, we’ll take a look at the agenda of the upcoming session.