Monday, June 5, 2017

Quick look at China's new regulations on military legislation (Part 1)

As this blog highlighted several weeks ago, on May 8, China's Central Military Commission (CMC) issued new regulations on military legislation, Regulations on Military Legislative Work (军事立法工作条例) and the full text was publicly released. This observer has not seen an English translation   These regulations have commonalities with civilian regulation of legislation but also have their own characteristics. Article 77 provides that they apply to the People's Armed Police as well as the People's Liberation Army (PLA).  According to Article 76, these regulations apply also to military-related treaties (in relevant part) so it would be well worth the modest cost for a foreign institution to commission a translation, given the increasing importance for international peace and security of understanding the rules by which the PLA operates.

Chapter I: General Provisions
  1. The regulations apply to the drafting, amendment, abolition, and interpretation of military legislation (Article 2).
  2. Military legislative work must be guided by Marxism-Leninism, Mao Tsetung Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Three Represents, and the important speeches of Secretary Xi (深入贯彻习主席系列重要讲话精神特别是国防和军队建设重要论述) (Article 3) and must uphold the supreme leadership of the Party over the military;
  3. Military legislation includes military regulations (军事法规)--at the same level as State Council administrative regulations (行政法规). sometimes the CMC and State Council issue regulations together, on matters involving both the military and civilian systems.(these regulations, on the export of military goods, are one example) and military rules (军事规章). Other types of titles ((具体规定) specific regulations,、(办法) measures (细则) implementing regulations (等军事规范性文件) other military normative documents should be used only if conditions are not right to issue military regulations and military rules. [The terminology is consistent with and coordinates with the Legislation Law. The language on normative documents is analogous to efforts in the civilian system to control the issuance of normative documents.]
  4. Among the aims of military legislation is completeness, relevance, and practability.. Party committees are to exercise unified leadership and legislative affairs offices are to plan, coordinate, and review legislation.
So the objective is to have better drafted, more detailed, systematic, and more useful military legislation that implements Communist Party policy.  As previous blogposts have detailed, while implementation of Party policy has never been in question, senior Chinese military lawyers have for some time criticized the sad state of military legislation.  One or more follow up posts will look at some of the details.

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