This week, China entered the local “two sessions” season, as the annual conferences of legislators and political advisers are being held at the provincial level.
After the local “two sessions,” the national “two sessions” — the annual plenary sessions of the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) — will be held in Beijing starting March 3.
Since Chinese Communist Party (CCP) reshuffled its leadership during the 19th Party Congress last October, the top priority of the local legislative bodies is to assign personnel into various posts accordingly.
What’s extraordinary this year is that the appointment of the director of local supervisory commissions has also been added to the political agenda for the provincial legislatures.
As The Diplomat has been closely following, the CCP is determined to establish an all-powerful National Supervision System – a new anti-corruption mechanism – across the country. Under the system, supervision commissions will be set up at both national and local level.
According to China.com (a website run by China’s State Council Information Office), directors for every provincial-level supervision commission were appointed during the local “two sessions.”
Meanwhile, multiple provinces and municipalities — including Anhui, Zhejiang, Shanxi, Jiangxi, Shanghai, Beijing, and Tianjin — have already established supervision commissions at their provincial, city, and county levels.
All this in spite of the fact that the draft law on establishing the National Supervision System has not been passed yet.
As The Diplomat noted, on November 6, 2017, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee – China’s top legislative body – released a draft of the National Supervision Law. The draft law proposes to establish the National Supervision Commision (NSC), which will be the highest body supervising all “public personnel” who exercise public authority.
At present, China’s government is composed of the legislative branch (the National People’s Congress), the executive branch (the State Council or the head of government), and the judicial branch (the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate).
According to the draft law, the NSC will be placed above the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate. Not even the State Council will be able to supervise the NSC.
If the draft is approved, China’s current government structure will be fundamentally changed, which will directly contradict the constitution.
Thus, China’s legal experts argue that if the draft law has to be passed, China should amend its constitution first. That’s why the CCP has announced recently that the National Supervision System, together with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s political thought, will be added into the Chinese Constitution.
However, the latest development showed that the supervision commissions have already been put in place at thelocal level, without either a constitutional amendment or the passage of the draft law.
Just as the draft law proposed that the NSC will be placed above the judicial branch, the supervision commissions at the local level have been also placed above local courts and procuratorates. This can been seen clearly from the rankings of the newly appointed local leaders: the director of the local supervisory commission is listed prior to the chief justice of the local senior court and the procurator general of the local procuratorate.