Regime-Centered and Court-Centered Understandings: the Reception of American Constitutional Law in Contemporary China
56 Pages Posted: 26 Oct 2016 Last revised: 9 Feb 2018
Date Written: October 24, 2016
American constitutional law has dominated China’s constitutional imagination for the nearly past two scores. The reception of American constitutional law in China experienced two large phases. In the first, which spans from the 1980s to the early 1990s, American constitutionalism was taken as a particular political regime to be politically criticized or objectively appraised. Tripartite separation of powers was overwhelmingly highlighted to characterize American constitutional-political system. In the second, starting in the late 1990s, a paradigmatic shift from a political, regime-centered perspective to a legalized, court-centered approach occurred in the introduction of and studies on American constitutionalism. The U.S. Supreme Court and judicial review now overwhelms most Chinese constitutional minds; they have been the focal points of reference for Chinese constitutional reform. The shift reflects both ideological and social changes since the Reform.
Keywords: American constitutional law, judicial review, Chinese law, legal professionalism, separation of powers
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