Currently, the NPC Standing Committee promulgates the overwhelming majority of the statutory legislation issued by the NPC and the rest is promulgated by the plenary session. The bases for all proposed legislation are the one- and five-year legislative plans, which, until recently, were compiled by the CCP but are now compiled by the NPC Chairmen's Group. The Standing Committee's General Office Research Department compiles both plans, which are then passed to the Standing Committee Chairmen's Group for amendment and approval.
In addition to listing pieces of legislation to be drafted, each legislative plan designates which particular governmental organ will serve as the "lead drafter` for each piece of proposed legislation. Lead drafters frequently engage other governmental organs to work with them in the drafting process, but co-drafters are not specified in the legislative plan-they participate at the discretion of the lead drafter. Generally, the lead drafter will be either the NPC Standing Committee, an NPC special standing committee (similar in function to US congressional committees), or the State Council or one of its subsidiary organs. The Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People's Procuratorate, the Central Military Commission, and individual NPC delegates also have the legal capacity to sponsor new legislation, although in practice they never do so. The CCP, though, cannot sponsor legislation, and on one occasion in 1993 the NPC refused to accept a draft constitutional amendment tendered directly by the CCP.
Currently, either the NPC Standing Committee or an NPC special committee serves as the lead drafter for most major pieces of proposed legislation. Legislation sponsored by the Standing Committee is drafted by the NPC's Commission for Legislative Affairs (CLA), often working with other co-drafting government organs from the State Council. When assigned responsibility for drafting legislation, CLA sets up a small "drafting group" consisting of selected CLA staff members, noted academics, and/or selected staff from other codrafting governmental organs. The drafting group, which can consist of as few as 3-4 persons or might include whole institutions, first conducts research and, in the case of controversial pieces of legislation, may float proposals in scholarly journals or newspaper articles in an effort to garner support, before drawing up a rough draft.
CLA then circulates the draft for comment among other relevant government and Party organs, relevant semi-private interest groups, and numerous consultants drawn from related professional and academic circles. For example, a bill with specific implications for women might be given to the All-China Women's Federation for comment. CLA also convenes a series of meetings to discuss the draft with relevant special committees and governmental organs, and selected academics and professionals.
Based on input from these sources, CLA then produces the first official draft of the proposed legislation. This draft, together with a drafting report from CLA highlighting the major issues that arose …