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China: The National People’s Congress Abolishes Eight National Laws

(July 2, 2009) On June 27, 2009, the Ninth Session of the Standing Committee of the 11th National People's Congress (NPC) abolished eight national laws that are “out-dated” or “redundant.” Their abolition took effect immediately.

This is the first time in the past more than 20 years that the top legislative body of China has cleared up a package of laws. Although the NPC Standing Committee made two earlier decisions with implications of clearing up laws, it was only in 1987 that it reviewed the 134 laws in effect at that time, which had been enacted between 1949 and the end of 1978, and announced a package of 111 as being ineffective.

As of March 2008, China had 229 effective laws, nearly 600 administrative regulations, and 7,000 local regulations. As China's social and economic reform goes further, some of the laws are “not applicable to the current economic and social development any more,” according to Li Shishi, head of the Commission for Legislative Affairs of the NPC Standing Committee. Thus, beginning in July 2008, the NPC started to review all 229 effective laws. In addition to the decision passed on abolishing the eight laws, there was another proposal under discussion in this session that aimed to amend 141 provisions in 59 other statutes. The State Council, on the other hand, has been more active in clearing up regulations, rules, and other normative documents; it has done so 11 times in its history. (Focusing on the Top Legislature's Overall ClearingUp of Currently Effective Laws [in Chinese], XINHUANET, June 23, 2009, available at

It was decided that four of the eight abolished laws, enacted in the 1950s. were outdated; the other four had been replaced by or had their substance contained in later laws. The eight abolished laws and their original promulgation dates are as follows:

1. The Organic Regulations on Police Stations (NPC Standing Committee, Dec. 31, 1954);

2. The Organic Regulations on Urban Neighborhood Offices (NPC Standing Committee, Dec. 31, 1954);

3. Regulations on the Use of State-Owned Wasteland and Barren Hills by Overseas Chinese (NPC Standing Committee, Aug. 6, 1955);

4. The State Council Decision on the Measures Establishing Schools with Donations by Overseas Chinese (approved by the NPC Standing Committee on Aug. 1, 1957);

5. Decision on Authorizing the State Council to Reform the System of Industrial and Commercial Taxes and Issue Relevant Draft Tax Regulations for Trial Application (NPC Standing Committee, Sept. 18, 1984);

6. Supplementary Provisions Concerning theIimposition of Punishments in Respect of Offenses of Tax Evasion and Refusal to Pay Tax (NPC Standing Committee, Sept. 4, 1992);

7. Provisions on Strengthening Inspection and Supervision of Law Enforcement (NPC Standing Committee, Sept. 2, 1993); and

8. Supplementary Provisions on the Severe Punishment of the Crimes of Organizing or Transporting Other Person(s) to Illegally Cross the National Border (Frontier) (NPC Standing Committee, Mar. 5, 1994).

(Decision of the National People's Congress Standing Committee on Abolishing Some Laws [in Chinese], XINHUANET, June 27, 2009, available at