The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC; simplified Chinese: 全国人民代表大会常务委员会; traditional Chinese: 全國人民代表大會常務委員會; pinyin: Quánguó Rénmín Dàibiǎo Dàhuì Chángwù Wěiyuánhuì) is a committee of about 150 members of the National People's Congress (NPC) of the People's Republic of China (PRC), which is convened between plenary sessions of the NPC. It has the constitutional authority to modify legislation within limits set by the NPC, and thus acts as a de facto legislative body. It is led by a Chairman, China's top legislator, who is conventionally ranked third in China's political ranking system, after the General Secretary and President, which is usually one person and the Premier of the State Council of PRC. The current Chairman is Zhang Dejiang.
The NPCSC also has the power to interpret the laws of the PRC, including its constitution. In contrast to other countries in which stare decisis gives the power of both final interpretation and adjudication to a supreme court, within the People's Republic of China constitutional and legal interpretation is considered to be a legislative activity rather than a judicial one, and the functions are split so that the NPCSC provides legal interpretations while the Supreme People's Court and the Courts of Final Appeal of Hong Kong and Macau actually decide cases. Because an interpretation of the NPCSC is legislative in nature and not judicial, it does not affect cases which have already been decided.
A notable use of the latter power occurred in 1999 during the dispute of the Right of Abode issue in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. In the case, the NPCSC interpreted the Basic Law of Hong Kong in accordance with the position taken by the Hong Kong government with respect to the eligibility of permanent residency in Hong Kong.
Chairman and Vice chairpersons of the 12th NPC Standing Committee (elected March 14, 2013)
- Vice Chairpersons (13):
- Li Jianguo (b. April 1946): member of the Political Bureau of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC); member of the 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th CPC Central Committees; chairman of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions.
- Wang Shengjun (b. October 1946): member of the 18th CPC Central Committee; former President of the Supreme People's Court (2008-2013).
- Chen Changzhi (b. July 1945): chairman of the Central Committee of the China Democratic National Construction Association.
- Yan Junqi (b. August 1946): chairwoman of the Central Committee of the China Association for Promoting Democracy.
- Wang Chen (b. December 1950): secretary-general of the current NPC Standing Committee; member of the 16th, 17th, and 18th CPC Central Committees, and deputy head of CPC Central Committee Publicity Department.
- Shen Yueyue (female, b. January 1957): member of the 18th CPC Central Committee; executive deputy head of the CPC Central Committee Organization Department.
- Ji Bingxuan (b. November 1951): member of the 18th CPC Central Committee; secretary of the CPC Heilongjiang Provincial Committee; chairman of the Standing Committee of the Heilongjiang Provincial People's Congress.
- Zhang Ping (b. January 1946): head of the National Development and Reform Commission (since 2008).
- Qiangba Puncog (Tibetan, b. May 1947): vice secretary of the CPC Tibet Autonomous Regional Committee.
- Arken Imirbaki (Uygur, b. September 1953): chairman of the Standing Committee of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Regional People's Congress.
- Wan Exiang (b. May 1956): Vice President of the Supreme People's Court (since 2002); chairman of the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Committee of the Chinese Kuomintang (since 2012).
- Zhang Baowen (b. November 1946): member of the Standing Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (since 1998); chairman of the Central Committee of the China Democratic League (since 2012).
- Chen Zhu (b. August 1953): hematologist; academician, National Academy of Sciences, PRC; Central Committee chairman, Chinese Peasants and Workers Democratic Party (since 2012).