Supervision Law of the People’s Republic of China (Mainland China)

Joline Chen

The first meeting of the 13th National People’s Congress on March 20 adopted the Supervision Law of the People’s Republic of China (the “Supervision Law”).  Chairman Xi Jinping signed Chairman’s Order No. 3 to promulgate the Supervision Law, which came into effect on the same day and clarifies a series of major issues in connection with the state’s supervision and stipulates the important functions and positioning of the state supervisory entities, the scope of supervision, the responsibilities, authorities, procedures as well as supervision over the supervisory entities themselves Consisting of a total of 9 chapters and 69 articles, the Supervision Law is highlighted below:

1. The National Supervisory Commission of the People’s Republic of China shall be set up by, and answers to, the National People’s Congress. The National Supervisory Commission is the highest national supervisory entity, and each term of the Commission chairperson shall coincide with each term of the National People’s Congress. The state shall implement a supervisor hierarchy and prescribes measures for the hierarchy structure and the, evaluation and promotion of supervisors.

2. The Supervisory Committee’s responsibilities are to supervise, investigate and render decisions. Public officials shall be inspected for the performance of their duties, alleged legal violations and criminal offenses committed in the discharge of duties shall be investigated, sanctions imposed on public officials who violate the law, and refers the results of its investigation to the people’s procuratorate for examination and prosecution.

3. The supervisory entities shall supervise six categories of personnel, including the public officials of all state agencies and all personnel who are governed by the Civil Service Law of the People’s Republic of China, those that engage in public affairs in organizations that administer public affairs pursuant to law, management personnel of state-owned enterprises, management personnel in public education, scientific research, cultural, medical and health, or sports organizations, management personnel of engaging in management in grassroots autonomous organizations and other personnel who perform public duties pursuant to law.

4. The Supervision Law clarifies the scope of supervisory authority for the supervisory entities. The entities have a right under law to collect and obtain evidence from relevant organizations and individuals; directly or entrust relevant agencies and personnel to conduct interviews or request explanations; interrogate individuals under investigation for any suspected criminal offense committed in the course of their duties; interrogates witnesses and other personnel; explore and freeze the property of suspected organizations and individuals; search the individuals under investigation as well as the bodies, possessions, residences and other relevant premises of individuals that can potentially conceal the individuals under investigation or criminal evidence; obtain, seize and attach information substantiating the suspected criminal offenses; receive authorization to take technical investigation measures against serious suspected criminal offenses committed in the course of duty; take exit restriction measures with the approval of a supervisory entity above the provincial level; assign and hire personnel with proper expertise and qualifications to conduct verifications, inspections and examinations; or, if relevant requirements are met, detain individuals who have committed any serious violation or criminal offense in the course of duty after a part of the facts and evidence concerning such legal violation and criminal offense have been obtained.

5. Supervisory entities shall carry out their work in strict accordance with procedure and establish system for coordination and checks and balances between departments in the handling, investigation and evaluation of clues. If it is necessary to adopt a preliminary verification method to handle problematic clues, the relevant evaluation process shall be performed and an inspection team established; the team shall then take investigative measures such as interrogation, questioning, detention, retrieval, seizure, verification and examination. Such measures shall be conducted by at least two persons at all times, who shall show their papers and submit the written notifications.  In conducting important work such as interrogation and search, seizure or attachment, the entire process shall be recorded for future reference.

6. The Supervision Law stipulates the supervision over supervisory entities and supervisory personnel. All levels of supervisory entities are to be supervised by their respective level of the people’s congress and their standing committees. The supervisory entities shall publicly disclose information about their supervisory work and set up a dedicated internal supervisory organization.  Personnel involved in classified matters who have left their positions shall be required to observe the regulations for declassification periods, strictly perform their confidentiality obligations and shall not disclose the relevant secrets.  For a period of three years after their resignation or retirement, supervisory personnel are prohibited to engage in any occupation that is related to supervision and the judiciary, as well as any occupation which may potentially give rise to any conflict of interest.