(Jan. 10, 2020) On October 26, 2019, China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) issued a decision to grant the country’s highest supervisory organ, the National Supervision Commission, the power to make supervision regulations. The four-article decision took effect on October 27, 2019. (Decision art. 4.)
The National Supervision Commission
According to China’s 2018 amended Constitution, supervision commissions at various levels are to function as the state supervisory organs, with the National Supervision Commission acting as the highest supervisory organ in the country. A super-sized anti-corruption body, the Commission is listed with the State Council (administrative organ), the Supreme People’s Court (adjudicatory organ), and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate (procuratorial organ) in the Constitution. (Constitution arts. 3, 123, 125.)
Under the Constitution, supervision commissions exercise “independent supervisory power” in accordance with laws and “shall be free from any interference from any administrative organ, social organization, or individual.” (Art. 127.)
The same 2018 NPC meeting adopted the Supervision Law to govern the operation of supervision commissions. The Supervision Law, however, does not expressly grant the Commission the power to formulate regulations to implement the Law.
According to the decision, the National Supervision Commission is authorized to formulate supervision regulations in accordance with the Constitution and laws for the purposes of (1) implementing provisions of laws and (2) performing its duties of leading the supervision commissions at local levels. (Decision art. 1.)
Supervision regulations must be approved by the plenary meeting of the Commission and promulgated by announcements of the Commission. (Art. 2.)
Supervision regulations must also be recorded with the NPCSC within 30 days after promulgation. If any part of the supervision regulation conflicts with the Constitution or laws, the NPCSC has the power to revoke the regulation. (Art. 3.)
Power to Make Regulations
The supervision regulations to be made by the National Supervision Commission are a new type of regulation under Chinese law. Currently, there are three types of regulations governed by the Law on Legislation: administrative regulations made by the State Council, local regulations made by local people’s congresses, and military regulations made by the Central Military Commission. (Law on Legislation arts. 65, 72, 103.)
Future revisions to the Law on Legislation are expected to include the supervision regulations. According to the NPCSC explanation on the decision, it is “more ideal” to regulate the supervision regulations through the Law on Legislation than issuing a decision. However, more changes to the Law are under contemplation. For now, the revision of the Law on Legislation is not on the legislature’s agenda. Therefore, the NPCSC issued the decision granting the National Supervision Commission the power to make supervision regulations to satisfy in a timely manner the practical needs of the National Supervision Commission.