The NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) held a one-day session on Monday, February 24 and adopted two decisions that we will discuss below. It is worth mentioning that 57 legislators “attended” the session via videoconferencing (113 others showed up in person), and they voted by a show of hands in lieu of the usual electronic voting system.
To start, the NPCSC decided to postpone the NPC’s 2020 annual session “as appropriate” and to announce a new date separately. Since the NPCSC is unlikely to reconvene by the end of the month, it thus seems that it will have to break one of the NPC’s procedural rules. As we previously concluded, those rules would require that the NPCSC decide on a new date on Monday (assuming it wouldn’t meet again in February) and that the new date fall between March 24 and March 31 inclusive. The upshot of the NPCSC’s indecision today is either that the NPCSC wouldn’t meet by the end of March, or that the delegates wouldn’t have one month’s notice of the new start date.
We expect the NPCSC to convene a special session in early to mid-March to set a new date for this year’s NPC session.
Second, the NPCSC adopted a Decision on Comprehensively Prohibiting Illegal Trade in Wild Animals, Uprooting the Pernicious Habit of Eating Wild Animals, and Earnestly Safeguarding the People’s Lives, Health & Safety [关于全面禁止非法野生动物交易、革除滥食野生动物陋习、切实保障人民群众生命健康安全的决定]. According to an NPCSC spokesperson, this Decision was intended to be a temporary measure until more comprehensive revisions to existing wildlife laws could be considered.
The Decision has two core operative provisions.***