A Written Constitution Without Functioning Constitutionalism – Analysis of Xi Jinping's 2012 Speech on Chinese Constitution
15 Pages Posted: 25 Feb 2014
Date Written: February 21, 2014
This paper examines the 2012 speech by Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People (the national parliament building) marking the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the current version of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China. While Xi’s speech formally functions in an epideictic capacity, its substantive content suggests a severely flawed constitutional system. Through the close analysis of the speech, this paper argues that the text of Xi’s address exposes many critical tensions intrinsic to China’s single-party political system, most notably the flawed implementation of the constitution. In its substantive capacity, the speech served as a stern warning about the gaping chasm that separates the written constitution from actual political practices in China, as well as the pressing need to formalize the Party-state relationship through the separation of powers between the Party and the state.
Keywords: Xi Jinping, Chinese constitutional system, speech, Party-state relationship, constitutionalism
JEL Classification: K10, K19, Z00, H11, N45
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