Rules of Procedure of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress

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A full translation of this document was generously contributed by Changhao Wei and Harry Dai of the NPC Observer. Some changes may be made to their work through the normal use of this site. 

(Adopted at the 23rd Session of the Standing Committee of the 6th National People’s Congress on November 24, 1987; amended for the first time in accordance with the Decision on Amending the Rules of Procedure of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China by the 8th Session of the Standing Committee of the 11th National People’s Congress on April 24, 2009; amended for the second time in accordance with the Decision on Amending the Rules of Procedure of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China by the 35th Session of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People’s Congress on June 24, 2022)

Chapter I: General Provisions

Article 1: These Rules are formulated on the basis of the Constitution and the Organic Law of the National People’s Congress and by summing up the practical experience from the work of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, so as to improve the rules of procedure of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress and to ensure and standardize its exercise of functions and powers.

Article 2: The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress upholds the leadership of the Communist Party of China and holds sessions and carries out work in accordance with legally prescribed functions and powers and legally prescribed procedures.

Article 3: The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress is to uphold and develop whole-process people’s democracy, always maintain close contact with the people, listen to the people’s opinions and suggestions, embodies the will of the people, and safeguard the people’s rights and interests.

Article 4: When deliberating bills and deciding on issues, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress is to practice the principle of democratic centralism, give full play to democracy, and discharge its powers as a collective.

Article 5: When holding sessions, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress shall arrange the durations, agendas, and daily schedules of the sessions reasonably to increase the quality and efficiency of the deliberations.

Chapter II: The Convening of Sessions

Article 6: Sessions of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress generally are to be held every two months, and additional sessions may be held when necessary; when there is a special need, sessions may be convened on an emergency basis.

The Council of Chairpersons is to decide the dates on which Standing Committee sessions are held.

The Chairperson is to convene and preside over Standing Committee sessions. The Chairperson may entrust a Vice-Chairperson with presiding over a session.

Article 7: Standing Committee sessions may be held only if more than half of all constituent members of the Standing Committee are present.

Under special circumstances, constituent members of the Standing Committee may attend a session by online videoconferencing as decided by the Council of Chairpersons.

Article 8: The Council of Chairpersons is to draw up draft agendas of Standing Committee sessions and submit them to plenary meetings of the Standing Committee for a decision.

Where the agenda needs to be adjusted during a Standing Committee session, the Council of Chairpersons is to make a proposal for approval by a plenary meeting of the Standing Committee.

The Council of Chairpersons is to decide on the daily schedules of sessions.

Article 9: When the Standing Committee is to hold a session, constituent members of the Standing Committee and non-voting attendees of the session are to be notified of the dates of the session and the main matters proposed for discussion at the session; where a session is convened on an emergency basis, [they] may be notified on shorter notice.

Article 10: When the Standing Committee holds a session, the responsible persons of the State Council, Central Military Commission, State Supervision Commission, Supreme People’s Court, and Supreme People’s Procuratorate are to attend the session as non-voting attendees.

The chairpersons, vice-chairpersons, and members of the special committees of the National People’s Congress who are not constituent members of the Standing Committee; the Deputy Secretaries-General of the Standing Committee; the directors and deputy directors of the working commissions; the chairperson and vice-chairpersons of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Basic Law Committee; the chairperson and vice-chairpersons of the Macao Special Administrative Region Basic Law Committee; and the responsible persons of the relevant departments are to attend the session as non-voting attendees.

Article 11: When the Standing Committee holds a session, the chairperson or one vice-chairperson of each of the standing committees of the various provinces, autonomous regions, directly governed municipalities, and other relevant localities is to attend the session as a non-voting attendee, and the relevant delegates to the National People’s Congress may be invited to attend the session as non-voting attendees.

Under special circumstances, the Council of Chairpersons may decide to adjust the scope of non-voting attendees.

Article 12: When the Standing Committee holds a session, it is to hold plenary meetings and group meetings, and hold joint group meetings as needed.

Article 13: The Council of Chairpersons is to designate several conveners of group meetings of the Standing Committee, who are to take turns to preside over the meetings.

Where there are major differences of opinion or other important situations during deliberations at group meetings, the conveners are to promptly report to the Secretary-General.

The list of groups is to be drawn up by the administrative body of the Standing Committee and reported to the Secretary-General for review and approval, and is to be adjusted at regular intervals.

Article 14: The Chairperson is to preside over joint group meetings of the Standing Committee. The Chairperson may entrust a Vice-Chairperson with presiding over a session.

Joint group meetings may be held by all groups jointly or separately by two or more groups jointly.

Article 15: When the Standing Committee holds a session, constituent members of the Standing Committee shall attend the session; where they are unable to attend due to illness or other special reasons, they shall ask for leave from the Chairperson in writing through the administrative body of the Standing Committee

The administrative body of the Standing Committee shall report to the Chairperson on the attendance of constituent members of the Standing Committee at sessions and the reasons for their absence.

Constituent members of the Standing Committee shall be diligent and responsible, carefully deliberate each bill and report, and strictly observe meeting discipline.

Article 16: Standing Committee sessions are to be held publicly. The durations, agendas, daily schedules, and status of Standing Committee sessions are to be made public. When necessary, the relevant agenda items may be temporarily withheld from the public as decided by the Council of Chairpersons.

Article 17: Standing Committee sessions are to employ modern information technology to promote the digitization of session documents and materials and provide convenience and services to constituent members of the Standing Committee and non-voting attendees in the discharge of their duties through online videoconferencing and other means.

Chapter III: The Submission and Deliberation of Bills

Article 18: The Council of Chairpersons may submit to the Standing Committee bills that are within the functions and powers of the Standing Committee, for deliberation by Standing Committee sessions.

The State Council, Central Military Commission, State Supervision Commission, Supreme People’s Court, Supreme People’s Procuratorate, and various special committees of the National People’s Congress may submit to the Standing Committee bills that are within the functions and powers of the Standing Committee; the Council of Chairpersons is to decide to place them on the agenda of a Standing Committee session, or may first refer them to the relevant special committees for deliberation and the submission of reports, and then decide to place them on the agenda of a Standing Committee session.

Ten or more constituent members of the Standing Committee may jointly submit to the Standing Committee bills that are within the functions and powers of the Standing Committee; the Council of Chairpersons is to decide whether to place them on the agenda of a Standing Committee session, or may first refer them to the relevant special committees for deliberation and the submission of opinions on whether to place them on the agenda of a Standing Committee session and then decide whether to place them on the agenda of a Standing Committee session; where [a bill] is not placed on the agenda of a Standing Committee session, a report shall be made to a Standing Committee session or an explanation given to the sponsor.

Article 19: Bills submitted to a Standing Committee session for deliberation shall be submitted to the Standing Committee 10 days before the session convenes.

The provisions of the previous paragraph do not apply to Standing Committee sessions convened on an emergency basis.

When a bill is submitted to the Standing Committee, its text and explanation shall be submitted at the same time.

Article 20: The Council of Chairpersons may, according to the needs of its work, entrust the working commissions or General Office of the Standing Committee with drafting bills and making explanations to Standing Committee sessions.

Article 21: With respect to bills listed on the agenda of a Standing Committee session, the organs submitting the bills, the relevant special committees, and the relevant working departments of the Standing Committee shall supply the relevant materials.

Bills of appointment or removal and bills of dismissal shall include the basic information of the persons to be appointed, removed, or dismissed and the reasons for their appointments, removals, or dismissals; when necessary, the relevant responsible persons shall attend the sessions to answer inquiries.

Article 22: The Standing Committee hears explanations of bills at plenary meetings. Bills with related contents may be explained together.

After the Standing Committee hears explanations of bills at plenary meetings, [the bills] are to be deliberated at group meetings or joint group meetings, and to be deliberated by the relevant special committees, which are to submit reports.

Article 23: After the Standing Committee hears an explanation of and preliminarily deliberates a legislative bill placed on the agenda of a session, it is to be referred to the Constitution and Law Committee for unified deliberations; the Constitution and Law Committee is to submit a report on the results of deliberations to the next or a later Standing Committee session.

After the Constitution and Law Committee conducts unified deliberations of a bill on a decision concerning legal issues or a bill to amend a law, it may submit a report on the results of deliberations to the current Standing Committee session or may submit a report on the results of deliberations to the next or a later Standing Committee session.

The special committees are to deliberate the relevant legislative bills and submit deliberation opinions, which are to be printed and distributed to a Standing Committee session.

When the National People’s Congress is not in session, a legislative bill submitted to it may first be submitted to the Standing Committee, which, after having deliberated the bill at sessions, is to decide to submit it to the National People’s Congress for deliberation.

Article 24: Bills submitting plans for adjusting [multiyear] outlines or [annual] plans for national economic and social development, budget adjustment plans, or final accounts for approval are to be referred to the Financial and Economic Affairs Committee for review, and may at the same time be referred to other relevant special committees for review; the Financial and Economic Affairs Committee is to submit to a Standing Committee session a report on the results of its review. The review opinions of the relevant special committees are to be printed and distributed to a Standing Committee session.

Plans for adjusting [multiyear] outlines or [annual] plans for national economic and social development shall be submitted to the Financial and Economic Affairs Committee for a preliminary review 45 days before the Standing Committee holds a plenary meeting to conduct review.

Budget adjustment plans and draft final accounts shall be submitted to the Financial and Economic Affairs Committee for a preliminary review 30 days before the Standing Committee

Article 25: A bill submitting a treaty or an important agreement for ratification or accession is to be referred to the Foreign Affairs Committee for deliberation, and may at the same time be referred to other relevant special committees for deliberations; the Foreign Affairs Committee is to submit a report on the results of deliberations to the current Standing Committee session or may submit a report on the results of deliberations to the next or a later Standing Committee session The deliberation opinions of the relevant special committees are to be printed and distributed to a Standing Committee session.

Article 26: Regulations and autonomous regulations or separate regulations, etc., that by law need to be reported to the Standing Committee for approval, are to be reported to the Standing Committee by their enacting organs; are to be placed on the agendas of Standing Committee sessions as decided by the Council of Chairpersons, and are to be deliberated by the relevant special committees, which are to submit reports.

Article 27: Where it is necessary to add to or delete from the lists of [national] laws in Annex III to the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China or in Annex III to the Basic Law of the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, after consulting the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Basic Law Committee and the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, or the Macao Special Administrative Region Basic Law Committee and the government of the Macao Special Administrative Region, the Council of Chairpersons is to draw up a bill and submit it to a Standing Committee session for deliberation.

Article 28: The Standing Committee may, at joint group meetings, hear and deliberate reports by the special committees on their deliberation opinions on bills and discuss the items on the session’s agenda.

Article 29: The responsible persons of the organs submitting the bills may make supplementary explanations of bills at plenary meetings or joint group meetings.

Article 30: Where the sponsor requests withdrawal of a bill that has been put on the agenda of a Standing Committee session before it is put to a vote, deliberation of the bill ends at once.

Article 31: Where, during the deliberation of a bill to be submitted to a plenary meeting of the Standing Committee for a vote, there are major issues that require further study, the vote may be temporarily postponed as proposed by the Council of Chairpersons or by the Chairperson and approved by a joint group meeting or a plenary meeting, and [the bill] is to be referred to relevant special committees for further deliberations and the submission of deliberation reports.

Article 32: When the Standing Committee deems it necessary, it may organize investigative committees on specific questions and make corresponding resolutions based on the investigative committees’ reports.

Chapter IV: Hearing and Deliberating Reports

Article 33: The Standing Committee hears special work reports by the State Council, State Supervision Commission, Supreme People’s Court, and Supreme People’s Procuratorate based on its annual work plans and needs. The Standing Committee is to hold plenary meetings and regularly hear the following reports:

The Standing Committee is to hold plenary meetings and regularly hear the following reports:

(1) reports on the implementation of the plans for national economic and social development and of the budgets, and reports on the mid-term assessments of the implementation of the Outlines of Five-Year Plans for National Economic and Social Development;

(2) reports on final accounts, reports on audit work, and reports on rectifying the issues identified by audits;

(3) annual reports by the State Council on environmental conditions and the achievement of environmental protection targets;

(4) reports by the State Council on the management of state-owned assets;

(5) reports by the State Council on the relevant situations of its financial work;

(6) law enforcement inspection reports submitted by the law enforcement inspection groups of the Standing Committee;

(7) reports by the special committees on the results of their deliberations of the bills submitted by the delegates and referred to them by the Presidium of a session of the National People’s Congress;

(8) reports by the General Office of the Standing Committee and the relevant departments on the handling of the suggestions, criticisms, and opinions submitted by the delegates to a session of the National People’s Congress;

(9) reports by the Legislative Affairs Commission of the Standing Committee on recording and review;

(10) other reports.

Article 34: After the Standing Committee hears reports at plenary meetings, they may be deliberated at group meetings or joint group meetings.

The Council of Chairpersons may decide to refer reports to the relevant special committees for deliberations and the submission of opinions.

Article 35: The Council of Chairpersons may decide to refer reports to the relevant special committees for deliberations and the submission of opinions. The relevant organs shall submit written reports to the Standing Committee on their studying and handling.

When the Standing Committee deems it necessary, it may make resolutions on the relevant reports. The relevant organs shall report to the Standing Committee on the implementation of the resolutions within the periods prescribed by the resolutions.

Based on the recommendations in work reports or the deliberation opinions of constituent members of the Standing Committee, the Council of Chairpersons may draw up bills on decisions concerning legal issues or major issues and submit them to the Standing Committee for deliberation; when necessary, the Standing Committee may submit them to the National People’s Congress for deliberation.

Chapter V: Inquiries and Interpellations

Article 36: When the Standing Committee deliberates bills or the relevant reports at group meetings, it shall notify the relevant departments to send personnel to attend the meetings to listen to opinions and answer inquiries.

When the Standing Committee deliberates bills or the relevant reports at joint group meetings, it shall notify the relevant responsible persons to attend the meetings to listen to opinions and answer inquiries.

Article 37: The Standing Committee may hold joint group meetings or group meetings to conduct special inquiries, with a focus on major issues that concern the overall situation of reform, development, and stability and the vital interests of the people or that are of general public concern.

According to the topics of special inquiries, the responsible persons of the State Council and its various departments as well as the State Supervision Commission, Supreme People’s Court, or Supreme People’s Procuratorate shall attend the meetings to listen to opinions and answer inquiries.

The opinions expressed during special inquiries are to be sent to the relevant organs for studying and handling, and the relevant organs shall promptly submit reports on studying and handling to the Standing Committee. When necessary, the Council of Chairpersons may submit the reports on studying and handling to the Standing Committee for deliberation, and the Standing Committee is to make resolutions.

Article 38: Based on the Standing Committee’s work arrangements or as entrusted by the Council of Chairpersons, the special committees may carry out investigations, research, and inquiries on the relevant issues, and submit reports on their investigations, research, and inquiries.

Article 39:During a Standing Committee session, ten or more constituent members of the Standing Committee may jointly submit to the Standing Committee bills of interpellation against the State Council and its various department as well as the State Supervision Commission, Supreme People’s Court, or Supreme People’s Procuratorate.

Article 40: Bills of interpellation must specify the entities interpellated as well as the questions and contents of the interpellations.

Article 41: The Council of Chairpersons is to decide to refer bills of interpellation to the relevant special committees for deliberations or to submit them to the Standing Committee for deliberations.

Article 42: As decided by the Council of Chairpersons, the responsible persons of the organs interpellated are to give oral responses to bills of interpellation at Standing Committee sessions or meetings of the relevant special committees, or the organs interpellated are to give written responses. Where responses are given at meetings of special committees, the special committees shall submit reports to the Standing Committee or the Council of Chairpersons.

Where written responses are given to bills of interpellation, they shall be signed by the responsible persons of the organs interpellated and shall be printed and distributed to constituent members of the Standing Committee and the relevant special committees.

When the special committees deliberate bills of interpellation, the constituent members of the Standing Committee who submitted the bills of interpellation may attend the meetings and express opinions.

Chapter VI: Speaking and Voting

Article 43: When speaking at plenary meetings, joint group meetings, and group meetings, constituent members of the Standing Committee shall focus on the agenda items of the session.

Where a plenary meeting or a joint group meeting of the Standing Committee arranges for the deliberations of relevant agenda items, and constituent members of the Standing Committee request to speak, they shall personally submit the requests to the administrative body of the Standing Committee before the meeting, and are to speak in turn as arranged by the person presiding over the meeting. Where [members] request to speak at a plenary meeting or a joint group meeting without prior notice, they may speak only with the approval of the person presiding over the meeting. Those who request to speak at a group meeting may do so with the approval of the person presiding over the meeting.

The relevant provisions of this Chapter apply to the remarks given by non-voting attendees of meetings.

Article 44: Remarks given at plenary meetings and joint group meetings are not to exceed 10 minutes each; the first remark given at a group meeting is not to exceed 15 minutes, and the second remark on the same topic is not to exceed 10 minutes. Where it is requested in advance and approved by the person presiding over the meeting, the speaking time may be extended.

Remarks given at Standing Committee sessions are to be recorded by the staff members of the administrative body of the Standing Committee, and after being checked and signed by the speakers, are to be compiled and printed as session briefings and be archived. Session briefings may be in hard copy and may also be in electronic form.

Article 45:Bills put to a vote are to be adopted by a simple majority of all constituent members of the Standing Committee.

The person presiding over the meeting is to announce the result of a vote on the spot.

Constituent members of the Standing Committee who attend the session shall cast a vote. When voting, constituent members of the Standing Committee may vote in the affirmative, vote in the negative, or state an abstention.

Article 46: Where the bills put to a vote include amendments, the amendments are to be voted on first.

Article 47:Bills of appointment or removal and bills of dismissal are to be voted on person-by-person, and may also be voted on together depending on the circumstances.

Article 48:The Standing Committee is to vote on bills by secret ballot using voting devices. Constituent members of the Standing Committee shall use the voting devices to cast a vote. If the voting devices malfunction during use, [votes are to be cast] by a show of hands or other methods.

Constituent members of the Standing Committee who attend a session through online videoconferencing are to cast votes by a show of hands or other methods.

Chapter VII: Promulgation

Article 49: Laws adopted by the Standing Committee are to be promulgated by orders of the President signed by the President of the People’s Republic of China.

Other resolutions or decisions adopted by the Standing Committee are to be promulgated by the Standing Committee.

Legislative interpretations adopted by the Standing Committee, as well as such matters as the elections, by-elections, resignations, and removals of delegates to the National People’s Congress, are to be promulgated by public announcements of the Standing Committee.

Article 50: Decisions of the Standing Committee to appoint or remove the Vice Premiers or State Councilors, as well as the ministers of the various ministries, chairpersons of the various commissions, President of the People’s Bank of China, Chief Auditor, or Secretary-General of the State Council, are to be promulgated by orders of the President signed by the President of the People’s Republic of China in accordance with the decisions of the Standing Committee.

Article 51:Laws, resolutions, and decisions adopted by the Standing Committee, as well as their accompanying explanations, reports on the status of revisions, and reports on the results of deliberations; public announcements issued by the Standing Committee; treaties and important agreements the Standing Committee decides to ratify or accede to; statements by the Standing Committee or special committees; and such other documents, shall be promptly published in the Gazette of the Standing Committee and on the National People’s Congress website.

Chapter VIII: Supplementary Provisions

Article 52: These Rules take effect on the date of promulgation.

 

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