Vortrag: Two Paths of Constitutional Developments in China

26.04.2018 | 12:00

Zhang Qianfan (Beijing)


The constitutional developments in China can be traced along two paths. One is the official path initiated by the Supreme People’s Court’s judicial interpretation for the Qi Yuling case in 2001, which opened up the possibility, met with enormous enthusiasm, for the judicial application of the 1982 Constitution. The other is the unofficial, populist path symbolized by the Sun Zhigang incident in 2003, when the public, for the first time since 1989, expressed strong protest largely via the internet against the mischief of a local government. Each path has its own limitations. While the official path is unreliable, the inherent limitations in the populist path is also apparent when pursued within an institutional structure where governments at various levels view the Constitution more as a threat to the status quo pertaining to a small minority than as a protection of basic rights for all.

Zhang Qianfan (张千帆) is a constitutional law professor at Peking University Law School, and an activist who advocates constitutionalism in China and has called for China's general political and judicial reform. His book Constitutional System in the West helped introduce western constitutionalism in China. His book The Constitution of China: A Contextual Analysis was published in the United States in 2012.

Zhang studied at Nanjing University, Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, the University of Maryland and at the University of Texas at Austin where he received a PhD degree in Governmental Theory in 1999. He left the United States and taught law at Nanjing University. He later became a constitutional law professor at the renowned Peking University Law School in Beijing. He also serves as senior deputy director of Peking University Administrative and Constitutional Law Center and director of the Law School's Congress and Parliamentary Studies Centre.

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26.04.2018 | 12:00

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