According to the Constitution and the statutes of the National People's Congress, the NPC Standing Committee has powers and functions as follows:
In accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, though the most fundemental legislation is reserved for the NPC alone, its Standing Committee may enact much of the regular routine business. This includes the enactment and amendment of statutes other than those reserved for the NPC. When the NPC is not in session, the Standing Committee enacts supplements and amendments to NPC statutes as long as these do not run counter to the basic principles embodied in the statutes. Consequently, except for revisions to the Constitution and basic laws, which are beyond its scope, the NPC Standing Committee undertakes a large amount of legislative work.
Interpreting the Constitution and laws
Interpretation of the Constitution means providing a legislative explanation of those articles and provisions that require further definition or supplementary explanation. This is necessary to ensure that any problems that might arise during the execution of the Constitution and laws are dealt with in way that will ensure proper implementation.
Supervising the enforcement of the Constitution
The Constitution places responsibilities for supervising the enforcement of the constitution not only on the NPC but also on its Standing Committee. Conferring this power on a permanent body like the Standing Committee ensures the continuing and regular supervision of the enforcement of the Constitution between the annual sessions of the NPC itself.
Supervising the work of other state organs
The NPC Standing Committee supervises the work of the State Council, Central Military Commission, Supreme People's Court and Supreme People's Procuratorate. It has powers to annul any administrative rules and regulations, decisions or orders of the State Council that contravene the Constitution or the statutes of the state.
It also has powers to annul any local regulations or decisions of the organs of state power at the level of the provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government if they should contravene the Constitution, statutes or administrative rules and regulations of the state.
Powers of appointment and removal
When the National People's Congress is not in session, the NPC Standing Committee has powers to decide many of the nation's senior official appointments.
The NPC Standing Committee is empowered to appoint:
Ministers in charge of ministries and commissions;
the Secretary-General of the State Council (following nomination by the Premier of the State Council);
Vice Chairs of the Central Military Commission and members of the commission (following nomination by the Chair of the Central Military Commission).
The NPC Standing Committee is empowered to both appoint and dismiss:
Vice Presidents and Judges of the Supreme People's Court (SPC);
Members of SPC Judicial Committee;
the President of the Military Court (requires a motion to be put by the SPC President);
Deputy Procurators-General and Procurators of the Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP);
Members of the SPP Procuratorial Committee;
the Chief Procurator of the Military Procuratorate (requires a motion by the SPP President).
The NPC Standing Committee is empowered to approve the appointment and dismissal of:
Chief Procurators of the people's procuratorates of provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government.
The NPC Standing Committee is empowered to approve the appointment and recall of:
Ambassadors and representatives abroad.
Decisions concerning major issues of state
The NPC Standing Committee has major decision-making responsibilities including:
deciding on the ratification and abrogation of treaties and agreements concluded with foreign countries;
establishing various systems of title and rank especially those for military and diplomatic personnel;
establishing classes of state medals and honorary titles and deciding on their conferment;
deciding on the granting of special pardons;
declaring a state of war when the state faces invasion or is bound by international treaty to respond to aggression (only when the NPC itself is not in session);
ordering general or partial mobilization;
announcing a state of martial law either nationwide or in particular provinces, autonomous regions or municipalities directly under the central government;
considering and approving such adjustments to the Plan for National Economic and Social Development and to the State Budget as may prove necessary in the course of their implementation (when the NPC is not in session).
Other duties and powers assigned by the NPC
In addition the Standing Committee is charged by the NPC to carry out a range of other duties when the NPC itself is not in session. It is the Standing Committee which runs the elections of the NPC deputies, convenes the sessions of the NPC, maintains contact with NPC deputies and organizes their activities relating to the NPC's monitoring role and within its special committees.