On 20 March 2018, the National People’s Congress (NPC) passed the ‘Supervision Law of People’s Republic of China’ with immediate effect. The Supervision Law is a progressive evolvement of the now invalid Administrative Supervision Law of People’s Republic of China. By expanding the supervision subject and supervision scope, as well as drawing references from the China Communist Party’s (CPC’s) disciplinary rules, the Supervision Law has reshaped national Supervision power.

Dissection of the Supervision Law’s empowerment Article

According to Article 3 of the Supervision Law, supervisory commissions will “supervise all functionaries exercising public power, investigate duty-related violations and crimes, conduct the construction of clean governance and anti-corruption work, and uphold the authority of the Constitution and laws”. With the aid of ‘Interpretations of the Supervision Law of People’s Republic of China’ issued by the Regulatory Affairs Office of the National Supervisory Commission, we may dissect this empowerment Article in three aspects.

First, the Supervision Law expands the supervision web to target all public functionaries and “related personnel”. Prior to the enactment of the Supervision Law, the Administrative Supervision Law only targeted certain established functionaries exercising administrative power. For one thing, it overlooks some grassroots functionaries exercising administrative power, such as the head of the neighbourhood committee. For another, it overlooks various functionaries exercising other types of public power, such as civil servants of the judicial branch. Also, it overlooks other “related personnel” who are not public functionaries per se but may still corrupt the public power, such as someone offering bribes or the co-conspirator in duty-related crimes. In hindsight, the Supervision Law closes these loopholes, and clarifies in the Supervision Law Interpretations that it is the possession of public power, not public office, that makes someone a “functionary exercising public power”.

Jan-Mar 2019 Issue

Zhong Lun Law Firm