China amends Legislation Law to improve legislative system
Whole-process people's democracy to be upheld, developed
Published: Mar 06, 2023 11:30 PM
Two Sessions Photo:Xinhua

Two Sessions Photo:Xinhua

The National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, on Sunday started to deliberate a draft amendment to the Legislation Law, eight years after the law was first amended in 2015. The new changes highlight the implementation and oversight of the Constitution as well as promoting whole-process people's democracy to better protect human rights and social fairness and justice.  

Summarizing the practical experience of legislative work in the new era, the proposed amendment has taken into consideration the new work methods and demand for legislation in recent years, and is expected to further improve the legislative system and mechanism, and enhance the quality and efficiency of legislation, said Wang Chen, vice chairman of the 13th NPC Standing Committee on Sunday.

The 37-article draft amendment covers mainly seven sectors. The highlights include enhancing the implementation and oversight of the Constitution, and specifying the constitutional compliance review requirements in legislation and the record and review system for normative documents.

"In the Report to the 20th National Congress of the CPC, it asked the country's legal system to step up legislation in key, emerging and foreign-related fields, and advance the rule of law in domestic and foreign-related affairs in a coordinated manner. The amendment has made clearer and more specific what our tasks are in light of these requirements outlined in the report," Feng Yujun, a Professor of Law School at the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times. 

"Now we have entered the "deep-water" stage of reform and opening-up, where a variety of challenges and risks have emerged. It is impossible to follow the old rules and logics. It is a reflection of the changes in concept of legal works from subject-oriented approach to problem-solving approach based on actual practices," Feng said.

Another focus of the amendment is the emphasis on whole-process people's democracy, which "should be upheld and developed during the legislative process," according to the Xinhua News Agency. It also proposes to codify the requirement of respecting and protecting human rights in the legislative work.

Ahead of the opening of the session, Wang Chao, spokesperson for the first session of the 14th NPC, noted that efforts have been made during the revision of the law to make sure that every link in the legislative process reflects the people's voices and reality at the grassroots level.

To better hear the voices of the people, the draft 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.

Feng explained that outreach offices have been set up in multiple regions across the country in recent years and have made plenty of achievements. Writing it into the law will legalize and consolidate its practice to ensure its effectiveness. 

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.

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 2022, which were then published online to solicit public opinion. 

The Legislation Law was adopted in 2000 by the 9th NPC, and amended in 2015 by the 12th NPC.