Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

Constitutions and Values in Three Chinese Societies

55 Pages Posted: 18 Sep 2009  

Albert H. Y. Chen

The University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law

Date Written: September 17, 2009


In the collection of essays by various scholars in which this essay will be published, the “lens” of constitutions and constitutional jurisprudence is used to inquire into the values of different societies and the possible existence of universal values. Conversely and at the same time, the “lens” of “values” is also being used to view constitutional texts and constitutional jurisprudence. This essay focuses on the constitutional texts of three Chinese societies – mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. The constitutional texts concerned are the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, the Constitution of the Republic of China that is in force in Taiwan today, and the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. This essay consists of the following parts. In Part I, we examine the historical and ideological contexts in which the three constitutional texts were enacted. The political system of the three societies concerned will be then be described, with particular reference to the roles of legislative and judicial institutions in the implementation of the constitution in each respective society. In Part II, we explore how each of the relevant values covered in this book project is expressed, embedded or reflected in each of the constitutional texts. Part III deals with the questions of the prioritization of different values and the degree of congruence between constitutionally proclaimed values and social and political reality. Finally, Part IV provides some concluding reflections on constitutions and values in mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Keywords: constitutions, constitutionalism, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, values

Suggested Citation

Chen, Albert H. Y., Constitutions and Values in Three Chinese Societies (September 17, 2009). Available at SSRN: or

Albert H. Y. Chen (Contact Author)

The University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law ( email )

Pokfulam Road
Hong Kong, Hong Kong


Paper statistics

Abstract Views