Special: Two Sessions 2023
The National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s national legislature, on Sunday morning started to deliberate a draft amendment to the Legislation Law.
Wang Chen, vice chairman of the 13th NPC Standing Committee, explained the draft amendment at the opening meeting of the first session of the 14th NPC.
Summarizing the practical experience of legislative work in the new era, the proposed amendment is expected to further improve the legislative system and mechanism, and enhance the quality and efficiency of legislation, according to Wang.
In the general provisions, the draft highlights the guiding role of the Party’s innovative theories, and developing a Chinese system of socialist rule of law and building a modern socialist country in all respects under the rule of law.
During the legislative process, whole-process people’s democracy should be upheld and developed, according to the draft.
It also proposes to codify the requirement of respecting and protecting human rights in legislative work.
On improving the legislative procedures and working mechanisms of the NPC and its Standing Committee, the draft proposes detailed requirements of the constitutionality review and the recording and review system for legislations and normative documents.
In particular, the draft requires a bill’s explanatory document to include opinions on issues of constitutionality, and calls on the NPC Constitution and Law Committee to explain issues of constitutionality involved after reviewing a bill.
It also introduces an emergency lawmaking procedure for the NPC Standing Committee, where a bill may be put to vote after a single deliberation at the Standing Committee.
A legislative bill normally will have to go through three readings before being put to vote.
The draft also stipulates that the working bodies of the Standing Committee should set up local legislative outreach offices in light of actual needs to solicit opinions from the grassroots and people from all walks of life on draft laws and legislative work.
On local legislative work, the draft pledges to expand the legislative power of cities with subsidiary districts to include affairs pertaining to primary-level governance.
It also adds provisions on regional coordination on legislation.
The NPC Standing Committee completed two readings of previous versions of the draft amendment in October and December last year, which were then published online to solicit public opinions.
The Legislation Law was adopted in 2000 by the 9th NPC, and amended in 2015 by the 12th NPC.