Standing Committee of the National People's Congress


Standing Committee of the National People's Congress
People's Republic of China

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The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC; simplified Chinese: 全国人民代表大会常务委员会; traditional Chinese: 全國人民代表大會常務委員會; pinyin: Quánguó Rénmín Dàibiǎo Dàhuì Chángwù Wěiyuánhuì) is a committee of about 150 members of the National People's Congress (NPC) of the People's Republic of China (PRC), which is convened between plenary sessions of the NPC. It has the constitutional authority to modify legislation within limits set by the NPC, and thus acts as a de facto legislative body. It is led by a Chairman, China's top legislator, who is conventionally ranked third in China's political ranking system, after the General Secretary and President, which is usually one person. The current Chairman is Wu Bangguo.

The NPCSC also has the power to interpret the laws of the PRC, including its constitution. In contrast to other countries in which stare decisis gives the power of both final interpretation and adjudication to a supreme court, within the People's Republic of China constitutional and legal interpretation is considered to be a legislative activity rather than a judicial one, and the functions are split so that the NPCSC provides legal interpretations while the Supreme People's Court and the Court of Final Appeal of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region actually decide cases. Because an interpretation of the NPCSC is legislative in nature and not judicial, it does not affect cases which have already been decided.

A notable use of the latter power occurred in 1999 during the dispute of the Right of Abode issue in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. In the case, the NPCSC interpreted the Basic Law of Hong Kong in accordance with the position taken by the Hong Kong government with respect to the eligibility of permanent residency in Hong Kong.

Leading members

Chairmen of the Standing Committee

The Chairman of the NPC is the presiding officer of the legislative body, a position that is similar but not entirely analogous to that of a speaker of congress.

See also


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