UPDATE (June 19, 2020): The NPCSC most certainly will not approve the Hong Kong National Security Law (HKNSL) on Saturday, the last day of its ongoing session, according to the latest information. The Council of Chairpersons met on Friday and approved the voting versions of several bills, which did not include the HKNSL. Similarly, multiple sources told the South China Morning Post that the Law “was unlikely to be passed during this meeting or come into effect on Saturday even if it was endorsed on the same day.”
UPDATE (June 18, 2020): Xinhua reports on Thursday that a draft Law on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region [香港特别行政区维护国家安全法] has been submitted to the NPCSC for review. Follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our blog posts for future updates.
Our assessment as of June 18 is that the NPCSC will not pass the Hong Kong National Security Law at this session. Recall that for the Law to be enforced in Hong Kong, it is not enough that the NPCSC adopts it—it must also be listed in Annex III of the Hong Kong Basic Law. Were both actions—NPCSC approval and Annex III listing—to occur during a single session, by convention, the NPCSC would have to pass the Law first, and wait until the next day at least to list the Law in Annex III. This sequence of events theoretically could happen during this three-day session, but only if the NPCSC passes the Law on Friday (so that the listing can occur on Saturday). It does not appear that a plenary meeting (where voting occurs) is scheduled for Friday, however. The Law is thus unlikely to pass on Saturday, because the NPCSC would then have to wait till the next session (whether in July or August) to add it to Annex III—which would unnecessarily delay the process. The more likely scenario is that the NPCSC will consider the draft Law again in the near future, before approving it and listing it in Annex III during that meeting. This assessment is subject to change, however, as more information (such as the ongoing session’s daily schedule) becomes available. (Of course, that the Legislation Law essentially bars the NPCSC from adopting a new law after only a single review would be another reason why this Law won’t pass on Saturday, assuming the NPCSC follows the Legislation Law.)
The Council of Chairpersons decided on Tuesday, June 9 to convene the 19th session of the 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) from June 18 to 20. According to the official readout of the Council’s meeting, the upcoming session will consider five legislative bills. The readout does not mention the closely watched Hong Kong national security law that was authorized by the NPC’s May 28 decision, but this bill may still appear on the finalized agenda next week. A quick rundown follows.
Continue reading “NPCSC Session Watch: Public Employee Sanctions, Veterans Support, Rural Revitalization & (Temporary?) Absence of Hong Kong National Security Law (Updated)”