China's Constitutionalism Debate: Content, Context and Implications
The China Journal, No. 74, July 2015, pp. 91-109
25 Pages Posted: 20 Oct 2014 Last revised: 22 Jun 2015
Date Written: October 18, 2014
Mere weeks after Xi Jinping became General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, a nationwide debate broke out concerning constitutionalism and the development of rule of law within China. This debate, which would last for nearly a year, pitted a reform-oriented pro-constitutionalist side against a more leftist anti-constitutionalist side. It spread from the pages of newspapers and magazines to online social media, and was only brought to an end through an Internet crackdown. This debate provides a useful angle through which to analyse the leadership's perception of political reform and the architecture of the public order. This paper surveys the voices and venues of the debate itself, discusses the influence of the transitional period on the pro-constitutionalist side, and analyses the leadership's response.
Keywords: China, Constitutionalism, Public Law, Legal Reform
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