Circumventing the Constitution? Establishing the grounds of review in China’s constitutional review

In the 2020 annual report of the National People’s Congress Legal Affairs Committee (LAC), a provincial regulation’s inconsistency with a constitutional provision was publicized. Although the review proceedings were terminated upon the local legislature’s promise to repeal the said law, thus preventing a formal declaration of unconstitutionality, it’s the first time that the Constitution is grounded upon in a review of regional regulation in China. Noteworthy, though, is the LAC also relied upon other criteria in its review, such as reform agendas adopted by the CCP. To what extent should the CCP’s high policy be absorbed into the NPC’s constitutional doctrines? Will there be a parallel ground of review via the constitutional review procedure, which offers Party policy a direct status for reviewing local government acts? There’s no clear answer from the NPC. Against this context, this paper analyses how the grounds of constitutional review should be established in China.