NPCSC to End 2017 with Blockbuster December Session (UPDATED)

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.

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Reviewing the Supreme People’s Court Report on the People’s Assessor System Reform: Pt. 1

In April 2015, the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) passed a decision authorizing the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) to conduct pilot programs to reform the people’s assessor system in 50 courts—at both basic and intermediate level—in ten listed provinces. The pilots formally began on April 28, 2015 to run for a period of two years, in accordance with the NPCSC’s authorization. In June 2016, months before we started this Blog, the SPC submitted to the NPCSC a midterm report on the status of the pilot programs, as required by the authorization. As the authorization is set to expire later this month, we think it fitting at this moment to review what the SPC has written about the reform efforts in its 2016 report.

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