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Economics and the Law

Analysis of Chinese Legal Tradition


and
The Constitution of the
People's Republic of China - 1993 - 2004
by
Thomas H. Spitters

October 2010


Contents

Preface

iii

Analysis of the Constitution of the PRC


PREAMBLE

GENERAL PRINCIPLES

FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF CITIZENS

11

STRUCTURE OF THE STATE


NATIONAL PEOPLE'S COUNCIL

14

THE PRESIDENT

17

THE STATE COUNCIL

18

THE MILITARY COMMISSION

19

THE CONGRESSES

19

GOVERNING THE AUTONOMOUS AREAS

22

COURTS AND THE PROCURATORATES

23

NATIONAL FLAG, EMBLEM AND CAPITAL

24

AMENDMENTS TO THE 1982 PRC CONSTITUTION

24

TRADITIONS IN CHINESE LAW

29

PRACTICES OF RESTORATIVE JUSTICE

58

CRIMINAL LEGISLATION

61

JUVENILES AND RESTORATIVE JUSTICE

64

CORRECTIONS AND THE DOMESTIC CHINESE COMMUNITY

67

ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSION

74

FEI GUAN FANG DE FU BEN ( )


ZHONG HUA REN MIN GONG HE GUO XIAN FA
( )

79

CONSTITUTION OF CHINA (P.R.C.) - IN ENGLISH (2004)

121

REFERENCES / BIBLIOGRAPHY

146

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PREFACE

This set of papers examines the overall originality and scope of the present constitution of the

PRC as ratified in 1982 amended through the year 2004. There is a discussion that follows

which puts the set of laws in the PRC as outlined by the current constitution in historical

context with the major laws in past Chinese civilisation. In addition to the current constitution

of the PRC, there are three sets of codes with which the reader needs to be a little familiar,

not at the exclusion of the various dynastic codes of one nature or another, but that are, as

will be stated, in the paragon of ideas within Chinese culture, institutions and establishments:

The first the the Tang Code from that dynasty (618 907 C.E.,) and the second is the Ming

Code from that dynasty (1368 1644 C.E.) that immediately preceded the Qing Code (from

1644 1911 C.E.). The three mentioned here do not disparage, for example, the codes of

the Shang or western Zhou, which are ancient, but that are not really of modern legal, political

or civic philosophies, and are beyond the scope of this writing.

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One needs to note the advanced administrative nature of Chinese civilisation, at least from

the standpoint of statutory rule, from its recorded beginning in the Shang dynasty (1500

1028 B.C.E.) and the Zhou dynasty, especially the western part (1028 221 B.C.E.) that also

encompasses the Chun qiu and Zhang guo periods. With respect to systems of

transliteration from the Chinese and proper names, etc., used in these papers, the author

apologizes for having been trained under the Wade Giles system, originally, and then

eventually changing to a more simplified romanized system - pinyin. The legitimacy of one

noun or verb or another, or proper nouns or names under these various orthographic

methods, need not be disparaged or attacked due to discussions that detract from the import

and meaningfulness of the issues at hand. The constitution of the PRC as the basic set of

laws for that country is extremely important at this point in time, given economic and other

considerations and needs be treated as a weighty document, and this despite its open

conflicts as stated directly and indirectly with the polity and economic and other systems in

the western world. The author has examined directly the documents and literature of the

Chinese Communist Party and PRC government documents since a serious study of the PRC
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in the 1980's at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes in Paris, France, as these documents have

popularly appeared and become available. Keep in mind the text you are reading, if you read

the Chinese constitution, is a communist document with all the faults and foibles contained

therein. While communist documentation and other media are as they are, composed and

committed to leftist and socialist principles, the validity of which is greatly in question in any

society, even their own, said media need be treated as weighty and meaningful, if not just for

other people as leftists themselves to expound upon and to purport.

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Preamble:

This section speaks at first briefly about the long history of Chinese civilisation and the feudal

period leading up to a revolutionary period. It mentions the unification of the country under

the revolutionary struggles of the 20th century. It also mentions Sun Yat sen as the father of

the Chinese revolution and the struggle of the Asian continent against imperialism and

feudalism. The constitution of the PRC Is thus at this point an introduction into Mao

Zedong thought and the doctrine for the overthrow of imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat

capitalism as a form of democracy and state revolution. Democracy is viewed as a political

and administrative transit point on the path to socialism. This is not a marxist concept, but is

probably included in this document as an accommodation to preclude conflicts with western

society.

Socialism is mentioned as a transformation of society away from private ownership of

production assets and property and an abolition of industrial style work to allow for a

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dictatorship by the people comprised of working class alliances between industrial workers

in towns and workers in the provinces. This is a keystone as stated of Chinese communism

and a tenet of modern socialism as established in Asia: a system of workers and peasants,

comprising a ruling proletariat as established after the defeat in a pitched struggle against

imperialist and hegemonic aggression, sabotage and armed provocations by capitalists on

the proletariat and the People's Liberation Army. Additional language includes

representations on the advancement of Chinese society as an entirety resulting from the

aforementioned events and developments. The question of nationalities is discussed with

complimentarity to the different ethnic groups and their favourable disposition, advocacy of,

and efforts to overcome society's problems using marxism Leninism and Mao Zedong

thought; and the resulting successes of the efforts of communism including criticism and self

critical efforts of the country in the processes of socialist modernity.

Boilerplate language is used to distinguish between the mention of socialism in the Preamble

and the topic of the C.C.P., guidance of marxism Leninism and Mao Zedong thought and

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the overall obligation of the Chinese nation to pursue a life under communist institutions in

order to build up the country, the region and to pursue global prosperity, and other advances

in the progress of society and culture while using the principles of socialism. According to the

document, part of this has been the elimination of the class of exploiters and the continued

struggle against the forces that promote exploiters or those wishing to subvert and / or

undermine socialism. Mention at this point is made of Tai wan and its administrative

appurtenance to the mainland and goals of reunification and revolution on Tai wan. Reliance

on the proletariat to accomplish these goals and the overall, more general goals of

communism are brought up as well in this section. In efforts to complete these tasks, the

Chinese constitution purports to enlist the goals of everyone in the construction of socialist

society: intellectuals, patriots, workers, and so forth, in the revolution and continued

unification of the motherland. The Preamble also promises the continuation and

development of the revolution as state policy under the rubric of consolidation and

development as controlled by the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, a

quasi representational government organisation within the PRC. This conference is to play

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the role of sponsoring the further dissemination of modernisation efforts, and political and

social principles and ideas of the CCP for the future (revolutionary and post revolutionary.)

The constitution of the country also indirectly describes the Republic as a closed system

made up of many nations under different nationalities that are unified for mutual assistance,

safeguarding of the state and various ethnicities, elimination of sovereign nationalism (Han

nationalism,) and local civic pride in view of modernisation and continued prosperity. The

revolution is identified with the CCP, referred to as the people, and deems itself closely knit

with world modernity, political and administrative developments, sovereignty, and future

history and purports adherence to principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity, non

aggression, non interference, equity and mutual benefit, peaceful coexistence,

diplomatic , economic and cultural ties and exchanges with other nation states.

Explicit opposition to the dubbed forces of capitalism is integrated into the language of this

document, and efforts are stated as the policy of the PRC to unify its strengths with those of

other countries in promoting economic and social / political developments in opposition to

capitalism. This includes the state organs and parties, the military and other organisations

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and businesses, and other societal institutions of any stripe who wish to uphold the principles

of this document and who wish to materialize and reify it.

Chapter One - General Principles

Principles mentioned in the document include declaring the state polity as socialist and

socialism as the basis for society. Again, the structure of Chinese society is a dictatorship of

the proletariat the people, as comprised by (the CCP and) the People's Congress in all

affairs of the state. The organs of the state are established as central, politically and

geographically, to the conduct of Chinese society and are created by the local people's

congresses, as instituted for mutual assistance and equality among the various nationalities

in economic and cultural efforts. The power of the autonomous regions and their singularity

under ethnic considerations is discussed as well, including the power of individual

nationalities, not only ethnic groups, but nationalities in upholding and developing their own

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cultures and guiding principles. Nonetheless, the overall legal system is declared to be

socialist, and the intent of the national constitution as socialist cannot be countervailed; all

state institutions, organs, the CCP and other organisations must abide the socialist principles

of this document, and no one individual is distinguished nor above the intent or principles of

the constitution.

Basis for the economics of society is proposed as public ownership, by the working people,

and the state economy, as socialist, promises to ensure the development and successes of

society. This includes the rural economy which is based upon domesticity and various

cooperatives. Emphasis is upon marketing socialism in the provinces and among the

working people thereby, including the right of individual people in collectives to engage in side

- activities and to raise crops and livestock privately, and within the requirements of statute.

Different side activities are named in these provisions, such as the crafts industry, municipal

industries such as construction and transportation, and other commercial and service trades

within the sphere of the economic cooperatives and collectives that are the drivers of

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economic activities and growth.

Exploitation of the national resources of the country falls under the domain of state organs

that ensure access to and husbanding of such items. Language here prohibits destruction

and damage to national resources of any kinds, including land, which must have a rational

use. Actual work obligations and duties, tasks and efficiencies are regulated by the state, as

are the different private economies and commercial activities under the guise of socialist

protection. The private sector of commercial economic activities is deemed to be a

supplement to non market activities and projects, and said private sector is subject itself to

administration under socialist principles. This thereby, all means of production and / or

property of any kind is public and administered by the state, including its safeguarding and

disposition, and principles against misappropriation and damage or destruction of property

are a doctrine of the state. The people are nonetheless given the right to have and income

that will provide for access to savings, housing and other property, even inherited property.

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The state also promotes the principles of communist revolutionary forces, labour efficiencies

and work ethic, the acquisition and use of proper work skills, advances in technical academic

and other fields, businesses as defined under the socialist regime, and management,

responsibility and organisation that ensures the continuation of work and industry without

waste and over consumption, and the promotion of the cooperative and collectives, and

expanded economic, social and cultural activities within the guidelines set down in this

document and prescribed by law in the PRC. Workers and other labourers are to abide by

the laws and edicts of decision makers, and other managerial personnel in accordance

with the law and public policies.

Though socialism is a non market system, the country does permit foreign private

enterprises and the development of political and administrative ties with outside countries

along socialist and communist party lines. Cooperation and links with Chinese enterprises

and organisations is to be controlled by the law of the PRC with the goal as stated of

developing works and projects and the societal and cultural level of the country. This is

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doctrine with respect to academic, professional and technical pursuits including those

instituted within state organisations and the party, working people, peasants, those seeking to

better themselves, state and party employees and staff, in the further development of state

activities in the aforementioned and all inclusive areas. The pursuit of scientific

developments with respect to these principles and guidelines is also deemed in the areas of

the traditions of Chinese medicine, and the health industries in general, in both rural and town

economic collectives, state businesses and other governmental and local organisations

promoting the health of the people, good health conditions, and an overall effort to maintain

good conditions for man and his surroundings including sports and other cultural activities.

Said activities, in their subject matter, implementation and media dissemination, including

historical documentation and review shall be at the disposition of socialist decision makers

and their efforts to promote the communist system. Said personnel shall be trained in all

socialist doctrine and socialist and communist and related intellectual pursuits and activities,

professional, political and otherwise with the idea in mind of advancing Chinese society and

culture and the basis of same with high ideals, and other intellectual principles and

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10

undertakings. This set of activities has its own etiquette and rules of conduct, and those

promoting or participating in these activities shall be sponsored by party and state.

One of society's marquis principles is that of population control and its related items around

labour and social, economic and commercial activities and structure and development. The

PRC also has the duty of protecting man and his environment from disasters, including

prevention and control where possible, including pollution of different kinds, deforestation, and

other forms of environmental attrition. State administration ensures everyone a healthy and

fulfilling life, including all workers and those responsible for work, those improving the quality

of life of others, and so forth. The party and state do not permit activity or undertakings that

preclude efficiencies and good work, including the elimination of bureaucracy, and does

consider these behaviors to be dangerous and against the Chinese communist revolution.

The aforementioned principles in the document call for the institution of armed forces as part

of the state organisation and activities appurtenant to the party and the people. These

armed forces are principally to ensure an environment and tone for safe working and

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11

economic development.

The constitution then examines the geographical breakdown of the country by provinces,

autonomous regions, and the like into smaller and smaller local entities. All domains are

under the control of the central government. The state has the right to institute different and

special territorial areas as needed as legislated and enacted by the National People's

Congress of the PRC. Rights, ideas, and activities of foreigners are assured a fair hearing

and protection under the laws of Chinese territories, and according to Chinese statutes and

the constitution allows for asylum to foreigners who request it.

CHAPTER TWO THE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF CITIZENS.

All persons of PRC nationality have rights as set down by the Chinese constitution and

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12

before the law. Citizens of the PRC are compelled to know the law of the country and to

abide by it. All those over 18 years of age are able to vote, save for those deprived of their

rights as set down in the national constitution. Citizens rights include the ability to vote and

submit oneself for political candidacy, freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of

association, of procession, and of demonstration. Rights also include religious freedoms and

anti discrimination provisions. These rights and freedom under the Chinese constitution are

deemed inviolable, and include provisions preventing arrest by the organs, unlawful arrest

and imprisonment, and other unlawful restrictions. Other rights in the Chinese constitution

include personal dignity, and other provisions against slander and accusatory and assaultive

language, unlawful search, intrusion, right to privacy and to use the mails. These

provisions are all subject to the needs of state policy and defense against imperialism, and

capitalism, etc. Said security, or criminal elements call for considerations by prosecutors

or a local judge against these fundamental rights. Political rights also include the right to

criticise and make suggestions in public or private about state officials and its organs,

enforcement and nature of statutory laws in exposing inefficiencies or legal violations before

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13

the proper authorities.

The constitution of the PRC also includes boilerplate language on the right to engage in an

income producing livelihood the right' and duty to work - in order to enhance the quality of

one's life and the life and interests of the country as rewarded by good work ethic and

industriousness and as they have been trained. Work is a matter of honour, for those who

are able and who have been so trained. Chinese workers also have the right to rest, and

recuperation, and vocational and employee hours, retirement, public assistance, disability

rules, veterans and war wounded affairs, vocational training regimes for the handicapped,

the right to instruction and training, child development, physical education, marriage and

family planning and child rearing laws, elder and domestic abuse laws, are all set down by

national policy. This is explicitly stated in the constitution. The national rights of Chinese

abroad are also undertaken by the constitution of the PRC insofar as these persons are

protected as well as are the rights of returned overseas Chinese. Said persons, within the

country or without, as long as they are citizens of the PRC, may not commit offenses under

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14

Chinese statutes, nor may they violate the rights of other Chinese, especially concerning the

administrative and political unity of the nation and its designated ethnic groups and regions.

There are also provisions against damaging and destroying public property, divulging

secrets that are the domain of the state, disruptive behaviour and lack of discipline,

transgressing social rules, and / or violating other provisions of the constitution. Citizens must

uphold public policy and national interests, including security, honour and interests of the

motherland, and should not trespass on rules with respect to these. There are rules that call

for resisting aggression, and joining the military to serve as called for by statute. Citizens

must also pay taxes.

CHAPTER THREE STRUCTURE OF THE STATE

SECTION I THE NATIONAL PEOPLE'S CONGRESS

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15

The PRC constitution names the National People's Congress of the People's Republic of

China as the highest legislative government entity within the PRC. It also names the

Standing Committee of the National People's Congress as the permanent body of the

People's Congress. The People's Congress is comprised of deputies, that are elected in

regional districts and other legal districts, and of deputies from the military. The constitution

also provides for legislative accession to the demands of minorities. Electoral and procedural

provisions of the People's Congress are matters of legal statute on the national level. The

People's Congress deputies have a term of five years each and there are electoral provisions

for succession of deputies, super majority rules, rules for the convening of legislative

sessions (even in the event of convening by Standing Committee,) and conduct of legislative

sessions by a Presidium. The People's Congress, under the constitution of the PRC, does

comprise and execute most if not all the powers of a unicameral legislature, including

appointing and removing officials, legislating statutory provisions for different legal codes,

technical legal matters and judgments, amending the constitution of the PRC according to its

own majorities, appointing and structuring the Standing Committee under the same term as

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the People's Congress, establishing the duties and powers of the Standing Committee.

The constitution of the PRC, under the National People's Congress and Standing Committee,

calls for government administration by a series of committees, including those for public

finance, nationalities, economics, education, culture and health, the foreign office, legal

affairs, and overseas Chinese affairs, and other, ad hoc organisations and committees as the

Chinese legislature deems necessary. These committees are organised under the Standing

Committee of the legislature, as are committees of investigation and inquiry and other

reporting committees and organisations that communicate with the People's Congress and

that furnish their documents and other information upon request. Deputies within the

People's Congress have the same overall rights, duties, projects and tasks as any member of

an ordinary unicameral legislature, and are subject themselves to oversight by the People's

Congress and its Standing Committee in matters of the legislature; and they are not legally

nor economically liable for what is said in plenary discussions. Deputies are also compelled

by law to maintain contact with their electorate and are in principle subject to supervision by

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17

their electorates including the powers of recalling deputies themselves. The Presidium

governs the affairs suggested by legal conduct of legislators in the People's Congress who

are compelled to comply with the PRC constitution and related statutes

SECTION II THE PRESIDENT OF THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA.

The president and vice president of the PRC are elected by the unicameral legislature, and

according to statute thereby, first must be members of the People's Congress having reached

age 45. Their administrative terms are five years each. The president of the PRC has all the

ordinary powers granted to a head of state under a modern communist regime, including

powers as the country's chief official and power over different ministries and secretariats,

including the military and vice president, various counselors and ministers, finance, foreign

policy subject to the Standing Committee, and special powers, etc. The vice president of

the PRC is the non secretarial assistant to the PRC president and may assume some of the

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18

duties, and tasks, projects, etc., of the president if so entrusted. There are rules for elective

succession and succession under vacancies for the offices of PRC president and vice

president.

SECTION III THE STATE COUNCIL.

The State Council is the embodiment of the PRC's central government apparatus and is the

highest organ of state power, and state administration. This council is composed of the

party Premier, vice premiers, State Councilors, ministers, the Auditor General and the

Secretary General, and its structure and operations are set down in national statutes. The

State Council is primarily the apparatus of the party Premier, and has all the standard powers

of premier under communist regimes that include primarily the political officialdom of the

country through the various ministers and offices and their own commissions, joint and

several departments and executive activities including meetings. Of particular interest in

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19

these series of departments is the government accounting department (Auditor General) that

oversees government coffers, revenue and expenditures, financial and monetary operations

and so on. This department is autonomous and is not subject to the activities or shenanigans

of any individual. The State Council primarily reports to the People's Congress and then to

the Standing Committee when the formal legislature is not in session.

SECTION IV THE CENTRAL MILITARY COMMISSION.

The Central Military Commission is responsible and accountable for the conduct of the

P.L.A, and is comprised of military commissions and their chairmen. This important and

monolithic commission reports to the legislature.

SECTION V THE LOCAL PEOPLE'S CONGRESSES AND LOCAL PEOPLE'S

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GOVERNMENTS AT VARIOUS LEVELS.

The role of the national People's Congress filters down to (regional,) provincial, and municipal

People's Congresses themselves, of which the operations are instituted by statute. These

congresses are the local organs of national administration, and those above the municipal

level have standing committees, deputies to these congresses are under central

administration and are elected by the congresses at the next lower level (the municipality

being the end point of administration.) Elective term of office for these officials lasts five

years; and for congresses in the municipalities, it lasts three years. Local congresses

ensure the carrying out of legal compliance and state policy as is their nature in any centralist

communist regime and are directly under central government and party control. They also

have powers to report to the national Standing Committee and People's Congress. They

have recall powers over their elected superiors in the upper strata of the People's

Congresses, and have supervisory powers over those congresses in which they vote. There

are by laws in the local People's Congresses that differ from the national one, but these

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21

congresses are by nature atomized versions of the national one. The principal local

congresses and political decision makers administratively in the PRC are the county level

officials who are the principal implementors of state rules and policy on the local level. They

even have judicial powers as appointees, and the power to appoint or remove different levels

of cadres, enforce or annul inappropriate decisions, and to audit and conduct the

administration of lower strata officials on the municipal, township and village levels. All these

machinations and their operations are monitored by auditing functionaries and their

corresponding bureaus of responsibility and supervision as set down through national statute.

Reporting is principally to the next higher administrative level in the system.

There are also resident's committees and smaller committees established at the township

and village levels in all geographical areas including population centers. These in turn

establish committees for public safety, health, education, civil mediation and party concerns,

and so on.

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SECTION VI THE ORGANS OF SELF GOVERNMENT OF NATIONAL AUTONOMOUS

AREAS.

These organs and their related bureaus and agencies are the People's Congresses of the

PRC Autonomous Regions (including autonomous prefectures and counties.) They are,

again the local self government and self - financing organs of the state apparatus, and

operate under the provisions of the Constitution of the PRC, and the Law of the People's

Republic of China on Regional National Autonomy, and other national statutes tailored to

their locale with respect to cultural and other considerations of autonomy. They report to the

People's Congress Standing Committee informally and uniformly. By permission of national

authorities, they may have their own security forces, and the state may provide programs to

promote different activities related to economic, industrial, educational, labour, cultural, and

other affairs.

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SECTION VII THE PEOPLE'S COURTS AND THE PEOPLE'S PROCURATORATES.

The People's Courts comprise the ethnically and lingustically varietal judiciary of the PRC

starting at various local levels filtering up to the national level, military courts. The President

of the Supreme People's Court, the PRC's highest court, has the same term as the head of

the People's Congress, but cannot serve more than two consecutive terms in office. The

structure and operation of this court system is instituted by statute, all judicial hearings are

public and defendants have a right to legal advocacy before the court. The courts are

independent and are not subject to shenanigans nor administrative noise from the other

organs, or jointly or severally any individual. The courts report to the congresses, and the

Procuratorates are supervised by the state organs, including the military, and run the gamut

from the national to local levels. There is a separation of duties in judicial proceedings

between the procuratorates, security organs, and the courts in conducting such proceedings.

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CHAPTER FOUR THE NATIONAL FLAG, THE NATIONAL EMBLEM AND THE CAPITAL.

The national flag of the PRC is on a red background with five stars; the national emblem is

of the center of T'ian An men in its center illuminated by five stars and encircled by ears of

grain and a cogwheel. Bei jing is the capital of the PRC.

THE 1988, 1993, 1999, AND 2004 AMENDMENTS ARE DISCUSSED BELOW, AND ARE

SHORT ENOUGH TO READ THROUGH, EVEN IN THEIR TECHNICAL LANGUAGE AS

INCLUDED ELSEWHERE IN THIS TEXT.

Amendment of April 12, 1988: This constitutional amendment gave the right of citizens to

afford property, but part of the property acquisition rules include interpretation as to legality by

Chinese authorities.

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25

Amendment of March 29, 1993: This amendment overall includes much of the doctrine of

Den Xiao ping in setting down and establishing a modern economic policy for the country

while citing marxist Leninist Mao Zedong thought. The national economy as a policy is a

unified, socialist entity with everyone's effort committed to socialist democracy as a legitimate

and overriding principle. Additional provisions were made in this amendment for extending

credit in agricultural and other activities, as well as providing for private ownership of chattel in

the rural areas, on collective farms, and by working people. The state continues to plan the

economy centrally and any interference with same is a crime.

Independent collectives were allowed by the 1993 amendment, but are required to operate

according to laws and strict oversight. The amendment continues nonetheless to emphasize

state owned enterprise and the role of the worker in moving the country forward politically

and economically.

Amendment of March 15, 1999: This amendment continues the legacy of Deng Xiao ping in

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26

reaffirming the economic successes and further development of the country, and establishing

them in the institution of socialism as greater culture and democracy according to marxism

Leninism and the Mao Zedong thought. Additional doctrine is effusive with respect to

marxist identities including the primary state of socialism the country is now in and that it will

remain there for some time and calls for the country to empower the workings of socialist

economics, politics, and legality, for the advancement and prosperity of the country this is

the center point of the legacy of Deng Xiao ping. Emphasis is made in this amendment to

build the country based upon socialist legality and polity, public and collective ownership of

property and assets in the primary stage of socialism. All attributed to working people under

the dominance of the state plan.

The amendment engages in some technical discussion on the credit, marketing and profit

functions of some plots of land and chattel as carried on by the rural population. These

continue to be allowed and are stated to be an integral part of the PRC's overall economy.

Some language is also included about treasonable offenses, apparently that are linked to

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27

capitalism, and disruptions of the socialist economy or offenses against state security are not

allowed and will be pursued according to the law and punished in the courts.

Amendment of March 14, 2004: As with the 1993 amendment to this document, additional

consideration is now given to "...under the guidance of Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong

Thought and Deng Xiaoping Theory..." - thus adding Deng Xiao ping to the paragon of

Chinese Communist institutions. This amendment included three principles or Represents,

among which a. national modernisation, step by step in view of the modern and socially

productive forces; b. improve the material, political and spiritual life of the country with a

vision of advanced culture; c. improvement of the patriotic and political life of the country and

the fronts of the communist party as a representative of the overwhelming majority. This has

been perceived as the apparent effort of Jiang Ze min to place his political doctrine on the

marquis with other Chinese leaders and to portray the communist party as the ruling party in

China without respect to the bolshevik legacy or influences from the revolutionary soviet

union. Current leadership under Hu Jin tao expresses the additional intention to address

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28

economic, scientific, social and political issues, etc., using science and technology.

Additional language is included in this amendment giving the state the power to requisition

land and expropriate assets in the public interest and domain, and will work to protect the

rights of the Chinese people overall with respect to public and private, while using its powers

of guidance, supervision and control. Citizens are thereby allowed the right to work and have

income, to own property, and to be compensated within the bounds of the law and the public

interest. Chinese citizens who have their property confiscated will be compensated for this by

the state.

The amendment also mentions without much illustration the establishment of a social security

system and separately that the Chinese government respects and preserves human rights.

More language is included about the National People's Congress and its deputies and that

minorities in the PRC are due proper representation among the electorate and in government.

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29

Anti terrorism and anti chaos provisions of this amendment include the powers of the

central government and the president of the PRC to declare martial law in a national

emergency, conduct additional diplomatic affairs and conduct affairs of state thereby.

THE TRADITIONS IN CHINESE LAW:

Definitions of legal terms appear in the Chinese lexicon during the first one hundred years of

the first millenium (Eastern Han Dynasty,) and in the literature shortly after the beginning of

the millenium itself. In Chinese culture, the word law comes from the root terms water,

equality, cattle, goat, justice, to remove, justice, (Liu Yi gong, 2009) In Chinese

culture, the deity of justice itself is a unicorn, or zhi, instead of a humanised Justitia

goddess as it is in the West. The symbolism of western justice is about balance and

blindness with respect to the truth and judicial authority (as symbolised itself by a fasces;) and

the sword as a symbol of punishment. The Western Han dynasty (202 7 A.D.,) mostly

fen xi zhong hua xian fa

30

under Han Wu di (140 88 B.C.E.,) banned all schools of thought under his hegemony in

place of Confucianism, and the philosophical concepts of Ren (

) and Li (

) as

applied to legalistic affairs. The concept of ren is one of consideration for one's fellow man in

the secular and informal sense in attempts to achieve harmonious ties between the individual

and the world at large (ren zheng benevolent rule.) The concept of society and the

establishment are encompassed by the idea of Li, which refers to rationality, the

government, the system. Originally, li was used in the Zhou dynasty as a system of rituals

and detailed codes of conduct in society. Li was therefore used as a preventive legal doctrine

where anti social behaviour is discouraged in the avoidance of punishment (fa.) The

concept of li is not well defined as to what it specifies, probably due to systemic

etymological reasons, but can be construed in the Confucian tradition as a moral code

regarding rules of conduct (Liu, Palermo, et. Al, 2009.) Li has for its overall philosophical

tone, the concept of ren, and it was possible to break this conceptual relationship (li ben le

huai - the li and rituals are broken, the country is broken) in separating an overall moral code

(li) in view of an harmonious society from the concept of consideration for others. The

fen xi zhong hua xian fa

31

Chinese term for justice, fa, is more a symbol of formal law and punishment whereas the law

in the west focuses on rights and a search for the truth in judicial matters. In contrast with li,

representing moral, even friendly, persuasion, whereas fa represented strict adherence to

legal statutes and forceful sanctions.

The principal legal tradition in the face of Confucianism was legalism that depended upon the

overall concept of fa, or formal law and punishment, social control, and governmental

hegemony. The most important Chinese codes since ancient times have been the Tang Code

), the Ming Code (

), and the Qing Code (

before the institution of new laws by the revolutionary government in the early 1900's. All

these continued the conceptual relationship between formal law and the li of Confucianism.

Confucianism carried on the tradition that as the people were regulated by statute, they would

treat each other well and abide by the law in avoiding criminal and other offenses and related

penalties. Li also calls for righteousness in view of legalistic concepts and has dominated the

Chinese legal system since the Western Han dynasty. Formal law has played a secondary

fen xi zhong hua xian fa

32

role, therefore, to the conceptual framework of morality, the persuasive power of

Confucianism and its related ethics. Thus, formal law in China depends traditionally upon the

letter of the law (statutory law) as subordinated to the independence and autonomy of

Confucianism that stands on its own. Violations of the codes were first viewed as unethical,

and then illegal and criminal.

The idea of li was to maintain an orderly society, however casted society might be, and

encourage harmonious relationships among people. In the face of offenses and disputes, the

idea was to restore the order and harmonious relationships, and this was viewed as following

the laws of nature. Influential legal phrases of the time include: De Zhu Xin Fu (de

education and administration, zhu punishment;) and the expression Chu Li Ru Xin (only

when li does not solve the problem should punishment be meted out;) Ming De Shen Fa (care

and judgment must be used and punishment carefully weighed.) Under the idea of li, and

administration of the law, sufficient credence should be given to moral remediation and

education, and this needs be clearly communicated with a cautious administration of

fen xi zhong hua xian fa

33

penalties.

There are actually many stories about the original codification of rules of conduct in China, of

which Gao Yao, believed to be the first actually documented judge in ancient China during the

Shun and Yu periods. Gao Yao used a mythological animal to determine some judgments in

some difficult legal cases in which the animal would use its horn to strike the suspect as

punition for any ascribed guilt. The Chinese legal system in any event has been the model

legal system for all of Asia and allows the PRC and its neighbors a richness in legal resources

and precedents, and a profound, civilised and concrete legal heritage. It is also necessary,

given the current political and ideological climate in China to take into account practical

considerations about juridical matters in the place of following a party line. Not

corresponding to the Five Happiness, there are five aspects of the legal tradition in China, of

which a humanism, moral and prudent enlightenment and punishment, the traditions of nature

and the Tao, the ordinary 'rule of law,' and procedural avoidance. These traditions, while

simply stated, should not be ignored within the scope of technical modern legal issues and

fen xi zhong hua xian fa

34

arguments.

The Humanism of the Chinese legal tradition is actually inspired by the professorial writings

of Confucius (Mencius,) progenitor of overall rationality in the law which for a long time

represented his principles of benevolence, righteousness, ritual, wisdom and trust, of which

benevolence or munificence is a core value, often interpreted as an endearing term based on

loyalty and forgiveness. Confucian proverbs and teachings ask any interlocutor to treat

others as one would like to be treated, do not ask for what cannot be given, wish for

others as for yourself, and so forth. A study of Confucian approach to private property

indicates those values were held by people who were moral and good, who persevered and

lived a stoic life. Those who did not own property did not tendentially subscribe to Confucius

(551 479 B.C.E.) and tended to break the law. Laws alone cannot carry themselves into

practice, ... (,

) whereas most Chinese in ancient times did

stress the importance of intellectual life, thinking and morality. While it emphasizes these

things as well, along with pursuit of an education and cultural enlightenment, the Confucian

fen xi zhong hua xian fa

35

attitude toward justice encompasses moral enlightenment and prudent punishment,

(Western Zhou 16th c. - 770 c. B.C.E.,) and moral enlightenment is primary while penalty is

supplementary. According to the Confucian tradition, penalty and punishment work only

when moral education does not: Ritual (

) and Punishment (

) had been the

keystones of feudal law in China which gave way to a legalistic Confucian predominance

during the imperial dynasties.

Natural law in China as Tao-ism and Confucianism developed as well during ancient times of

which Lao Tzu who contemplated the origin, place and regulation of everything in the

universe. One of Lao Tzu's proverbs is as Man models himself after Earth; Earth models

itself after Heaven; Heaven models itself after the Tao; the Tao models itself after nature. (

) Lao Tzu also added with respect to his own thinking that The net of heaven has large

meshes, but it lets nothing through. (

) With respect to this, one must

consider the Taoist principle of the harmony between man and nature, as during and after

modernisation, man takes use of nature in an unprecedented way and is perceived to have

fen xi zhong hua xian fa

36

brought about ecological and other damage and depletion to nature. A Taoist principle would

have us believe explicitly that man needs to live with nature in peace instead of risking

damage and destruction by trying to shape and mold nature in order to determine its course.

In the Spring and Autumn period (770 453 B.C.E.) of Chinese history, during which Lao Tzu

lived in part, institutions of oriental society held the rule of law to be superior to the thinking of

ordinary men. Confucianism also proposed the oriental idea of the rule of law, whereas it

was they who held their civic and legal obligations were to mediate antagonists, enforce the

rules of the nobility and preserve the nobility and other societal institutions. The rule of law as

propounded by these primitive legalists was extremely corporeally punitive, and heavy

physical punishments were handed down during this period to prevent the spread of crime

and chaos in society. These kinds of heavy punishments, even for petty crimes, led to the

abrogation of some political regimes such as the Qin Dynasty. Core legal values in China

also included avoidance of any proceedings and agreeable and harmonious human relations,

even among antagonists, and this has been true for a long time up to the present.

fen xi zhong hua xian fa

37

The traditions leading up to the modern Chinese legal system include a juridical institution

operating mostly upon judgments not of case law, but of statutory law. The statutes from time

immemorial were indeed organised into different texts called codes as had been the influence

of, idem est, the Code of the Roman Emperor Justinian, or the Corpus Juris Civilis that forms

the basis for civil legal systems in many countries, including part of the civil law system in

PRC. Mostly, however, Chinese legal codes have been highly idealed and dogmatic

statutes, and almost every separate imperial dynasty had its own codes: The Kiu zhang li (

) under the Han dynasty, or the Tang li shu yi (

) under the Tang

Dynasty, to provide two examples. Since civil law has been codified for many years in many

influential civilisations, it was easy for China to adopt such a tradition as based on statutes.

The Confucian tradition of social control, moral education, a wider world view, accretion of

learning and knowledge, and society's traditions has provided China with one of the oldest

juridical traditions itself through moral and cultural education, and a legalistic approach to

fen xi zhong hua xian fa

38

reliance on the codes and sanctions for offenders. This set of principles, in whole or in part,

dates back thousands of years. The idea of a moral education and philosophy as governing

judicial proceedings carried up to the anti royalist, anti imperialist disruptions in the early

part of the 1900's that eventually brought down the imperial court. [See further Liu, 2009, for

modern analysis.] That the local district magistrate, often in charge of 200,000 to 250,000

people, did not have a judiciary and administrated the local courts himself, as well as civil

government, indicated a lack of separation of powers in the imperial system on the local level.

The local magistrate often took advantage of the imperial laws in very diverse matters in the

investigation and prosecution, and adjudication of wrongs and from which the local populace

had often no recourse, in the unrestrained assertion of his administrative authority. This

invariably had a sinking if not chilling effect on opponents in a legal squabble or trial. Though

the Q'ing had an elaborate system of checks and balances built into the system of local

magistrates, from above, they were not specifically aimed at judicial disputes and were only in

place to make sure the magistrates overall discharged their obligations and tasks

professionally and properly (responsibly.) Some times the magistrate was not wholly familiar

fen xi zhong hua xian fa

39

with the checks and balances themselves and / or did not take them under consideration for

various and detailed reasons. (Alford, p. 4)

Much of the justice of the state during imperial times involved the magistrates, especially the

criminal processes, and as such local administrations were the instruments of state despotism

that could not be tested through other appointments, elections, or internal governmental

plebiscites of any kind. Magistrates applies nefarious methods, including torture, to extract

confessions from suspected offenders and other accused. The imperial code was applied

with differences as to social statuses and family ties of the accused, often with vastly less

severe punishments, themselves based primarily upon the intent of the criminals, and

provisions for those connected to the local ruler. In all evidence, the populace viewed the

judicial process with more than just ordinary Zeitgeist, somewhat out of the awesome

appearance of the local bureaucrat and his offices, its formalities, customs and rituals, and

the oppressive atmospheres of the judicial proceedings themselves. This rings even more

true for the system of justice in the capital and population centers.

fen xi zhong hua xian fa

40

Magistrates in imperial China had enormous sets of procedural rules to comply with in the

regulation of their duties from the capital. There were comprehensive standards for penal and

administrative laws including methods and guidelines for detention, questioning, procedure at

trial and punishing the accused. Some rules required the accused, if more than one, to

confront each other in court, and nefarious methods, including torture were allowed and

scripted for gaining confessions from people; and violations of these rules and procedures

jeopardized a magistrate's reputation and administration. One could protest and appeal to

higher judicial authorities (the shang k'ung (

)) and this served as an additional

check on the magistrate: The emperor could decide to hear the case or send it back from Bei

jing or deny it and send the case back to the pertaining provincial governor. The emperor had

authority to affirm or overturn an original verdict, or order more investigation and review the

case and / or order the Board of Punishments to re open a case. All this, or send the case

back to a provincial governor. A fourth factor in this series of checks was the imperial

hierarchy that gave the local magistrate vassal status with respect to his superiors in the

fen xi zhong hua xian fa

41

provinces, or circuit administrators, or imperial censors. This administrative step ladder

above often was comprised of local prefects, local commissioners in the judiciary, and

provincial governors. All these heard cases themselves, and in review, and in the appellate

courts system of the day, probably comprised entirely of tribunals. The circuit officials

conducted annual judicial reviews of all local cases; sort of like a quality control review at

the district level. Further, imperial censors who were highly independent of the local judiciary,

were responsible for digging up abuses and scandals around local government. The censors

did not answer to the Punishments Board, but to high level appointments answering to the

emperor. These sorts of micro structures in the dynastic system in China made for only

occasional but huge tensions between Bei jing and the provinces. (See Alford, 1984, Ching

k'ung, p. 23, Sun kung, p. 24, et seq.)

The judicial system itself in imperial China was often one of great disparity among those

governing and administrating and those adjudicating and governed. One could not mention

the system with mistrustful terms, but people feared the judicial process as fraught with

fen xi zhong hua xian fa

42

nothing but problems, and this engendered over time the apolitical role of the populace and in

turn common characteristics among the citizens of argumentative, moral and ideological

weaknesses. The society as a whole, at least imperial society in its upper strata, was

completely devoid in many cases of understanding the middle or working classes, and

expectations of same were impossible and too formal in judicial proceedings. This all

amounted to greater punishments for the accused if they were in a lower economic strata,

and the process for the upper echelons was much different than for the lower ones. This is

nonetheless impossible to judge insofar as values and morality are concerned as so many

people were involved in the justice system in China and it was and is a system very far

removed from any one in even a little more familiar western country. In the Chinese imperial

judicial system, the individual was relegated (Alford, p. 25,) yet the populace continued to use

such a system, and richly it did.

Legal traditions and the judiciary, under Confucianism are merely a tool set of penalties and

sanctions as an instrument of state policy. They also encouraged the bureaucratisation of

fen xi zhong hua xian fa

43

ancient society in Asia despite the importance of benefitting the Chinese people themselves

with a working judiciary and administrative system of magistrates. A kind of over rationality

was probably pervasive in this system that helped to continue it despite, again, its abuses,

and despite its overall over punitive tone and environment for the accused and legal

advocates and administrators as well. The retort of many officials according to the rationale

of the emperor might have been that the system works, and without it there would just be

more crime and criminals. (see Feng Deng) Many of society's rules in ancient China were

based upon criteria for inter personal relations and relate principles: Shu (forgiveness,)

zhong (loyalty,) personal care, love, zhi (straightness, righteousness,) yuan (injury,

discontent, hate:) a. Repay a Yuan with a yuan; b. Repay a yuan with righteousness; c.

Repay a yuan with truthfulness. With these in mind, principles from the Wei, Song and Q'ing

dynasties, one was thought to be able to weigh a set of legal issues without bias and without

hiding feelings. These are routines for dealing with affairs (Feng Deng,) and the subject of the

divine, moral and un religious rule from Heaven, and if one was not well socialised or well

connected to the local leadership, one had no moral, nor economic, nor political power nor

fen xi zhong hua xian fa

44

currency to expend in case of being accused of an offense. Society kept people orderly

through a social network and through the perpetuity of restrictive, detailed and elaborate

rituals that helped people demonstrate knowledge and correct what they did not know

including behaviours that were out of bounds. Civil regulations were extremely important

to the fabric of society, especially in addressing civil wrongs or torts. These rules and

guidelines affected the family, and even the holidays people took (Feng Deng, p. 16.) Without

this rationality, the society tended toward collapse due to the rupture between the beliefs and

perpetuation of virtues, benevolence, righteousness, civility, propriety, stoicity, the distinction

of the ministerial system of the day, and so on. (see Feng deng, Li governance.) Even

when the decision of courts as handed down overlapped the codes, the overall principles

reviewed here in meting out sentences held for a long time, and this despite lack of

awareness about infractions of civil wrongs or torts, clear laws around the legalities of

contracts, property and liability; lack of theoretical legal rules, over complexity and detailed

statutes, and given the lack of uniformity of the codes and even documentation, given

different regions and different times. Lack of uniform standards around laws and legal

fen xi zhong hua xian fa

45

compensation rules, corrective justice and remedies for the victims of crime and civil wrongs,

for example, is one reason in implementation, that the empire went to ruin. There was also a

glaring lack of a reasonable party standard in the ancient Chinese codes, for which social

and other customs and examples were obviously substituted, and in many cases with respect

to reason and accountability in commercial, civil, criminal and other proceedings, judgments

by the court often could hardly be authentically made. Another friction between the controlling

noble gentry on the one hand, and villagers and even ordinary citizens in town on the other, if

you will. Imperial China ended up not functioning in the courts with Confucianism and

Taoism, but with rules such as eliminate the flaw(s,) , in order to maintain the system.

With this in mind, it is possible to propose that corrections might have been written

somewhere into the statutes in ancient China, but due to the tone of societies institutions and

traditions, there was reciprocal justice, certainly, but it is natural for the informed to believe

there was no corrective system nor set of penalties at all. With reciprocation in mind, land

was often used as a controlling factor in judicial proceedings in its confiscation or bestowal,

for example, and was used to control the local populations, especially the rural ones. With

fen xi zhong hua xian fa

46

respect to this and the treatment of Confucianism, etc., as guiding principles in the courts, the

legal system in ancient China can be deemed as passive, and one in which, even in view of

the ceremonious institution of western culture and customs in the nineteenth century, could

hardly have been expected to migrate from the spheres of influence into the entrenched and

inertial bureaucracy in Bei jing. There is little evidence today to promote the idea of an

imperial legacy in the laws of the PRC, much less the modern communist legal institutions

and organisations there. Law in ancient China represented to many people a form of

coercion or exercise of imperial power and hegemony in the face of personal norms and

philosophies as applied to statutes or legislative acts.

To return to Confucianism, this set of ideas as applied to law believed in the harmonious

relationship between man and nature, and the harmony of human efforts with same as the

goal of many human interactions and undertakings. Above all, under this tradition, one must

seek harmony and a meeting of the minds, and this was above all most valuable in legal

matters. At judicial proceedings under this tradition, the idea and intent in many cases was

fen xi zhong hua xian fa

47

not to uphold the letter of the law, but to recast circumstances legally in order to re establish

harmony and reconciliation between the parties to any proceeding. A concept, wu song, (no

law suit,) was often the intent of the accuser and accused in proceedings that called for a

compromise in view of these ideas and ren (frankness and openness.) The idea of morality

as well served as a guideline for people who did not know the letter of the law and sought a

compromise through mediation (tiao jie.) The practice of tiao jie was especially prevalent on

the village level where the elders intervened, investigated, and discussed things with the

affected parties before arriving at some compromise. Decision making was consensual as

often people were called upon in a process of open discussion to admit their mistakes

according to the traditional rules of the locality.

Judicial decisions were expected to be fair and respectful of people's feelings under

Confucianism (tian li ren qing,) and the standard of fairness was determined by the search for

truth. How one got there did not matter, and this gave cause for problems in cases where

immoral people took advantage of the legal process. Thus, again, for the most part, the

fen xi zhong hua xian fa

48

populace depended for judgment not on the letter of the law, but upon common sense, human

feelings and reasonableness. Such criteria as applied were used to punish offenses, but

judgments were not constrained by statute or consideration of someone's rights in

determining blame and punishment for wrongs committed. This contrasts with a western

legal tradition where the system of justice was not limited to just meting out penalties to the

guilty party in legal proceedings. In the Chinese tradition, all parties sought to repair and re

harmonize and restore their affairs in a decision reassuring to everyone that respected the

morality and norms not only of the prevailing party, but that of the offender as well. This is a

major principle behind the idea of restorative law in western society as well.

With respect to many ancient Chinese legal concepts and practices, punishment was

intended to support moral education, and moral instructions and reform of criminals were

given higher priority than the use of punishment after the Mongol period. Punishment was

thought to enhance the lessons and give priority to moral teachings. An essential view of the

Confucian with respect to this has been to, and was at the time overall to instill a sense of

fen xi zhong hua xian fa

49

morality in parties to a lawsuit, moral teachings, and to restore the proper social order and

order of human relationships over physically punitive and other goals around judicial

outcomes and judgments. Confucian ideas represented, in their time and in the current

literature, a unity of man and his civilisations with nature and other universal forces and

concepts implying the concept of mutual understanding and harmony given the successes

and failures of social interactions and other human efforts. Under the Confucian tradition of

the law wu song was the overriding principle governing legal disputes where parties to a

lawsuit avoided litigation entirely, if indeed this was possible. One that preached wu song

before the law was judged as having complied and considered properly the concept of ren in

Confucian philosophy calling for the upholding of the law and the powerful morality of seeking

a settlement or compromise. This sort of behaviour was apparently rewarded by the system

and the people who preached it, while being appeasers in all likelihood like many attorneys

today can be, were viewed to place the importance of the judicial system and its attributes

above the ideas of personal preferences and likes and dislikes. One could never really

properly, at least under this system, compromise without paying homage to the harmonies the

fen xi zhong hua xian fa

50

judicial system set up in its spirit of compromise in the legal process.

In principle, again, in Confucian China, suing someone in court was awful and shameful, and

the cultural dislike of litigation led to proceedings where judicial officers would repeatedly

remind the parties to any lawsuit they could settle privately. Court judgments were not really

to punish people per se, but served to educate the litigants about ethics and dispute

resolution, especially between associates or family or families. Despite the horrendous size

and tremendous importance of the Chinese legal system, the typical citizen in that country did

not use the law, but operated on a series of common sense rules from a set of traditions,

either cultural (tiao jie) or familial. The cultural tradition was the most established in society

and the most extensively used and developed whereas most or all villages had their own

system of arbitration and mediation. The legal rules in these venues included intervention,

investigation and discussion and mediation processes, criticism / self criticism with respect to

accusations and outcomes of the legal process, and admission as to mistakes or guilt and the

remediation or sanctions of the guilty party, including apologies. These legal processes are

fen xi zhong hua xian fa

51

where the modern legal mediation and arbitration policies come from in many Asian countries.

Mediation and arbitration are also fundamental components of restorative justice everywhere.

Ancient Chinese, versus modern china were capable and concentrated on applying the rules

as established by tradition instead of statutory litigation. They many times operated on a

sense of what was right and fair according to local justice, and what also was within the

purview of the law considering the purpose and intent of the law and its reasonableness.

Whereas the western concept of the law is curative or punitive, the Chinese concept of law

has been for many years that of a process in which all the parties search for reparative,

reconciling, and reassuring solutions (Zehr, 1990:181.) With respect to this interpretation of

Chinese law, feelings and the spirit of the law called for an application of a very wide scope of

restorative justice.

(See also the following in: Liu, Palermo, 2009.)Today in the PRC, there are elements such as

corrections in the judiciary, and property, contracts, and other rules that bear a relation to the

fen xi zhong hua xian fa

52

Confucian tradition, though principles like due care, reasonableness and rationality, and

diligence are visibly being implemented, though they are not yet really part of the courts

institutions and legal rules. The same is true of modern western style judicial computations

and considerations in losses and awards, and inquiry and observation including those into

corporate internal affairs. Also, with respect to crime, The moment an offender commits a

crime, a relationship between him / her and the state has been established. The essence of

the criminal responsibility is the relationship, the rights and obligations between the offender

and the state (Gao, 1993:419.) The concept of the penal code and criminality was new to the

Chinese legal system in view of revolutionary activities starting in 1905. Criminality and other

technical judicial considerations, criminal law and is commensurate punishments, and the

relationships of the accused and convicted in criminal cases in a proper western sense were

new to the Chinese early in the 20th century. In modern China, the local prosecutor,

regardless of private mediation and arbitration or judicial trial with corresponding legal

support, has a record of proceedings and is able to modify the case based upon his

information as furnished by parties to the lawsuit. In some cases, private settlements are

fen xi zhong hua xian fa

53

overturned by the local prosecutor, and the case is referred to state judicial proceedings after

moneys have been refunded, and any agreements invalidated.

Cases filed by the local prosecutor can be remanded to private proceedings pending

completion of investigations and other activities and petitions by litigants, and the price of

going to trial in China is as onerous as it would be in any western country due to expenses for

attorneys and administration, emotional and other costs.

Chinas economic reform, begun in the late 1970s, has brought profound changes to

Chinese society and its social institutions. As economic reform progressed, legal

reform was put on an agenda aimed at establishing a system of rule by law to replace

the tradition that was described as rule by men. The development of a market-oriented

economy and an open door policy required the adoption of laws that are customary in

Western market economies, and Western legal principles and legal culture began to

emerge in China and to influence it. The trends and aspiration of the reformers and

fen xi zhong hua xian fa

54

enthusiastic scholars called for the construction of a new, modernized socio-political

and legal system characterized by the rule of law. That system would avoid the

governing of the country by the will of the leaders, who might make mistakes such as

those of the Cultural Revolution, the disastrous consequences of which were still

fresh in the minds of the citizens.

Since the mid 1980s, these Western legal and cultural influences have ex-tended

beyond academic discussions and have become part of legal education and

governmental reforms. Many Western ideas previously considered bourgeois or

capitalistic have gradually been accepted by the Chinese people, and the mod-ern

Western legal culture has become an essential component of contemporary Chinese

legal culture. The 1996 criminal procedural law and the 1997 criminal law, influenced

by Western cultural and legal thinking, were enacted as a result of legal reform under

this broad background, and new ideas and legal principles transformed traditional

thinking. Many laws were formulated along the lines of standard Western legal theory

and practices and many others were modernized to depart from traditional and

fen xi zhong hua xian fa

55

established legal precepts. Indeed, legal scholars enthusiastically and extensively

criticized Chinese traditions. Fundamental Western legal principles, including

separations of power, the primacy of human rights, and democracy, are favorably

discussed in academia as scholars and reformers have recognized the severe

drawbacks in a legal tradition that place ethics and morality above legal codes as part

of the system of rule by man.

The tradition of social morality and harmony emphasized the citizens obligation to the

collective over the individuals human rights, infringing upon democracy and liberty.

The Confucian harmonious ideal of wu song (no law suit) was seen as implemented at

the expense of individual interests and legal rights. This concept of justice based on

morality, feelings and reasonableness was felt to violate the basic principles of

adjudication according to the law and, as a result, Western legal principles have

become a mainstream of legal reform.

Among the most important Western legal principles introduced into China are those of

criminal law and punishment. Leading contemporary Chinese scholars of Chinese

fen xi zhong hua xian fa

56

criminal law define crime as an act against the government (Chen, 2003; Gao, 1993;

Li, 2000). Professor Mingxuan Gao, an authority in criminal law and author of a widely

adopted official textbook of criminal law, wrote: The

moment an offender commits a crime, a relationship between him/her and the state

has been established. The essence of the criminal responsibility is the relationship, the

rights and obligation between the offender and the state. (Gao, 1993:419). In general,

leading scholars strongly advocate the exclusive monopoly of criminal processes by

the State. Within this social and political context, contemporary Chinese criminal law

and criminal procedural laws include many articles that to a large extent depart from

legal tradition and even are contrary to the essence of restorative justice. Two primary

legal rules in the criminal justice procedure exemplify the situation.

One rule requires that the authority for the prosecution of the criminal cases belongs to

the Procuratorate, a branch of the Chinese government that is responsible for

monitoring the officials of the government and prosecuting serious criminal cases. The

Procuratorate monitors the filing of criminal cases by the police. In all cases that meet

fen xi zhong hua xian fa

57

the minimum standards of a criminal case, it exercises its authority to ensure that the

police file charges. Thus, even though victims and offenders may have resolved the

case on their own through a private settlement in which the offender may have paid

damages or in other ways repaired the harm done, if the Procuratorate has information

about the case, the private agreement must be invalidated, money paid must be

returned, and the case must be entered into the legal system and handled by the

justice system. The offenders and victims have no choice in deciding whether to initiate

a criminal case.

Another rule is that cases filed by the Procuratorate may not be settled by victims and

offenders privately, even if the offenders are truly sorry for the acts and are willing to

settle with the victims and the victims are willing to accept a settlement. After a case is

entered into the legal procedure and an investigation begins, the development of the

case is exclusively in the hands of the justice system. Prosecutors and the police will

not allow opportunities for the offenders and victims to meet face to face, to discuss the

case or to reach any settlement. Even if the case involves long and costly emotional

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suffering and drains resources, and the rights of victims are not being protected, the

victims have no choice but to endure it.

Nonetheless, although the contemporary context has moved in the direction of

reforming the traditional legal culture with Western legal ideas and models, the

influence of tradition continues. The philosophy and principles compatible with

restorative justice in the traditional legal culture still have a significant impact on

criminal justice programs and practices and are also reflected in the current criminal

justice reform. In the following sections, we illustrate some of the major programs and

practices that have the characteristics of restorative justice.

PRACTICES OF RESTORATIVE JUSTICE IN CONTEMPORARY CHINA

The following are some major Chinese practices that have significant elements of

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restorative justice: Mediation Program - The methodology and format of restorative

justice is centered on mediation. As previously discussed, China has a long tradition of

mediation. Traditional Chinese prefer mediation to going to court; going to court is

considered immoral. The typical organization of mediation includes mediation by a clan

leader, by relatives or friends, by neighbors, by respected persons in the village, or by

a respected leader of a trade.

In contemporary China, the most popular forms include mediation by a Peoples

mediation committee, by the towns legal service, by law firms, by respected family

clan leaders in rural areas, by relatives and friends, or by neighbors. Among these

forms, the most important is the mediation by a Peoples mediation committee. This is

a mediation organization legitimized by the government and by law. In February 1954,

the state council issued the The temporary rule for organization of Peoples mediation

committees (1954). The rule stipulated the nature, the tasks, the organization, the

responsibilities, the guidelines for its activities, and the methods of mediation. This rule

established the official status of mediation in China under the communist government.

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However, after the political turmoil and cultural revolution of the period from the late

1950s through 1976 the system was not officially developed. Its development was

renewed after reforms began in the 1980s, when the temporary rule for organization of

Peoples mediation committee (State Council, 1954) was modified and reissued. The

1982 Civil Procedural Law and Peoples Republic of China Constitution, and the

1987 Organizational Law of Villagers committee all include specific articles about

peoples mediation systems. In 1989, the Rules for the organization of a Peoples

mediation committee included more details on aspects of peoples mediation

committees, and in 1990, the Ministry of Justice issued the rule of resolution of

peoples disputes detailing the specifics of mediation.

The general guidelines for mediation in China based on these laws are that mediation

should first of all follow the law, policy, or rules if any of these are published. When no

law or official policy has been published regarding the issue at hand, the mediation will

follow the social mores and ethics to mediate a dispute (State Council, 1989). The

mediation must be based on the voluntary participation of both parties, and each party

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must be treated fairly. It should not deprive either party of the right to go to court to

seek formal adjudication. These rules are highly compatible with the general principles

of restorative justice. In recent years, the number of mediations done by Peoples

mediation committees has been about seven to eight times the number of cases

adjudicated by courts.

Criminal Legislation with Restorative Features

Although since the legal reform the mainstream features of the Chinese criminal justice

system are now based on state primacy in the punishment of criminal offenses, there

are a number of laws reflecting restorative features that retain the influence of the

Chinese legal tradition.

Again, the central principle of restorative justice is to restore and repair harm done by

offenders. Article 36 of the Criminal Law stipulates that if a victim has suffered

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economic losses as a result of a crime, the criminal shall, in addition to receiving a

criminal punishment according to law, be sentenced to making compensation for the

economic losses according to the circumstances. If the criminal who is liable for civil

compensation is also sentenced to a fine but his property is insufficient to pay both the

compensation and the fine, or if he is sentenced to the confiscation of property, he

shall, first of all, bear his liability for civil compensation to the victim (Peoples

Congress of PRC, 1997). This stipulation of Chinese criminal law gives the priority for

receiving compensation to the victim and is consistent with the principles of restorative

justice.

Restorative justice advocates the role of informal procedures in handling certain

criminal offenses in order to facilitate the restoration of social relationships. Consistent

with this philosophy, Chinese Criminal Law and Criminal Procedural Law allow certain

criminal offenses to be handled by informal procedures. Specifically, these offenses

include: 1) offenses for which victims choose not to file an official claim; 2) minor

criminal offenses; and 3) offenses that the State decides not to prosecute (see Criminal

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Procedural Law article 170). The offenses victims can choose not to have prosecuted

include: insults and slander (Article 246); forced interference in the freedom of

marriage (Article 257); abuse (Article 260), and occupying properties of others (Article

270). Further, Article 172 of the Criminal Procedural Law stipulates that the court, sua

sponte, can mediate some criminal offenses, which by law can be handled by informal

procedures. Even if the victims seek to have these offenses prosecuted, they are

permitted to settle the case with the offender, and to withdraw the case from the court

any time before a judgment is proclaimed by the court. Article 15 of the Criminal

Procedural Law stipulates that criminal cases withdrawn by victims or cases where

victim sought no prosecution are not liable to criminal punishment.

Restorative justice prefers that non - criminal punishment be used to facilitate the

restoration of relationships, to repair harm, and to facilitate the reintegration of

offenders into the community. Several laws reflect this restorative feature. For example,

Article 37 of the Criminal Law stipulates that for minor offenses criminal punishment

can be replaced by non - criminal punishment. In such cases, the offender may be

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reprimanded, ordered to promise to repent for his or her criminal actions, to pay

compensation and apologize, or administrative punishment may be 60

given. Such minor offenses include growing plants used for illegal drugs but destroying

them before harvest (see Article 351 of Criminal Law); rape when the victim does not

seek prosecution and engaged in sexual behavior willingly multiple times after the

initial rape (Supreme Court of PRC, of PRC 1984); theft in which all damages and loss

have been returned or compensated for by the offender (Supreme Court of PRC of

PRC, 1998); restitution of misappropriated public funds, including interest, before the

crime is detected, and others. In sum, although presentday Chinese laws are largely

established based on a more Westernized model, in many cases there are features

that reflect the spirit of restorative justice.

Restorative Justice in Juvenile Justice and Law

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In most countries where restorative justice is implemented, as a rule, its principles are

most frequently adopted in juvenile justice law. Chinese juvenile justice has many

principles that are consistent with that of restorative justice. The government officially

states that the primary purpose of juvenile justice is to educate, persuade, and save

juvenile offenders. A primary recommendation is to treat juvenile offenders as parents

treat their children, as doctors their patients, and as teachers their pupils. (Zhang &

Liu, unpublished) This principle is a continuation of the traditional legal culture of

protecting the young and being tolerant toward their mistakes, and is consistent with

the principle of restorative justice, which develops methods for solving problems and

educates offenders to understand their wrongdoings and be willing to correct them,

and to be reintegrated into society.

Consistent with restorative justice, the Chinese juvenile justice system emphasizes the

principle that education is the priority, punishment is only a supplement (De Zhu Xin

Fu). It stresses the use of reintegrative shaming and thought education to help the

offenders feel shame for their behavior and to be willing to accept their mistakes and

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make the necessary changes so as not to recidivise.

The public strategy applied to juvenile delinquency is known as comprehensive

treatment. It combines social resources, including a wide range of social

organizations, particularly within the community, to solve the problems. These

organizations include the family, neighborhoods, schools and the police, as well as

other authorities. The comprehensive treatment principle is a general approach to

crime and deviance problems officially established by the government (Feng, 2001;

Wang, 1991) and originated in the 1980s as a response to rising juvenile crime. Under

this strategy, communities have implemented programs in which community leaders,

families, victims and offenders face the problems of a juvenile offense together,

discussing the issue and devising a treatment plan that

helps the juvenile offender to understand and correct his mistakes in a helpful

community environment, to repair the harm done, and to restore prior relationships.

Mediation is widely used in the process. For minor criminal offenses the prosecutor will

suspend prosecution unless the juvenile offender is unable to recognize his

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wrongdoing or is unwilling to repair the harm done and correct his/her mistakes.

Community Based Correction

Community based correction is a new initiative in recent criminal justice reform.

In 2003, the Supreme Court of PRC, the Supreme Procuratorate of [the] PRC, the

Ministry of Public Security, and the Ministry of Justice issued notification of a pilot

community based correction program. Since then, such programs have begun to be

developed officially in some major cities. The purpose of these programs is to correct

the criminal psychology of the offenders, correct bad behavior habits, and to facilitate

the offenders return to the society. (Supreme Court of PRC, 2003).

The target offenders suitable for community correction programs are those offenders

who, according to the Notice, committed minor crimes, with minor criminal intent, and

did not cause very serious harm to the society and community (Supreme Court of

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PRC, 2003). Specifically, there are five types of offenders who are suitable for

community correction programs: 1) those who received control sentences; 2) those

who received suspended sentences; 3) those who were sentenced to serve their

sentence outside of prison, such as those who have serious diseases, who are

pregnant, or have a young child, and those who need assistance in their daily lives; 4)

those released on parole; 5) those who are deprived of political rights and are serving

their sentence outside of prison. The primary targets are minors, the elderly, those who

committed a minor offense as a first offense, and those who committed an offense of

negligence.

Community correction emphasizes the participation of the community in the process in

order to educate the offenders thinking, to provide legal and moral education, to

correct their unhealthy psychology and behavior, to help them to recognize their

mistakes and repent for them, and to be willing to give up past patterns of antisocial

behavior and reintegrate themselves into the community. These methods may not

replicate exactly the popular methods established in Western restorative justice

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programs, but they are very consistent with them, particularly with their emphasis on

community participation, helping offenders to recognize and show remorse for their

mistakes, and the reintegration of offenders into society. The emphasis of community

participation in the correction process reflects values similar to those of restorative

justice. One report stated that by the end of

the experimental stage (August 2006), 65,616 offenders had participated in community

corrections. More than 15,000 (15,092) had completed the programs and been

released. Recidivism was insignificant. The restorative justice practice in community

corrections was deemed to have been successful (Xinhua News, 2006).

The contemporary restorative justice programs not only are influenced by the

restorative values of the traditional Confucian ideas, but also by the same tradition in

its other features: lack of rule of law and due process. Scholars have pointed out that

compared with Western restorative justice Chinese practice shows limitations in some

aspects, such as coerciveness; lack of full information for offenders; offenders

incompetence; insufficient protection of offenders; and conflicts between victim

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empowerment and offender rights. Also noted were conflicted loyalties of community

members. These weaknesses have been discussed by a number of scholars.

(Ashworth, 2002; Becroft & Thompson, 2007; Harines, 1998; Karp et al., 2004; Radzik,

2007; von Hirshch, Ashworth & Shearing, 2003), some of whom have termed this type

of restorative justice as Control restorative model (See Lo, Maxwell, & Wong, 2005).

In discussing the developmental patterns of restorative justice, we emphasize that

traditional legal culture is an important source of variation throughout the world.

Scholars have recognized that restorative types of justice practice existed in many

ancient cultures, including ancient Babylonian, Greek, indigenous Arab and

Mesopotamian societies. These preexisting traditional legal cultures had long lasting

effects. In the case of China, despite severe disruption by revolutions, the effects have

been profound. Indeed, although contemporary political and social events directly

influence the features of social reality, tradition influences contemporary actions in

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many forms, including formal policy and informal practices.

The restorative justice movement was extensively developed in Western countries as a

response to the limitations and drawbacks of conventional criminal justice theory and

practices and spread to other parts of the world. However, a review of the international

literature reports little about its impact on China. The typical restorative justice literature

does not list China as a country that has significantly adopted restorative justice

programs. This reality has significant theoretical implications. Indeed, restorative

justice programs in China have developed largely independent of the influential

movements outside of China. This seems to indicate there are different motivations for

restorative justice. In the West the stimuli seems to have come from forms of

punishment that were often too severe and not congruous with the crime committed

and, in addition, often led to recidivistic behavior. The impetus for such programs within

China seems to have come largely from the persistent influence of traditional legal

culture. Little spillover from the Western movement seems to have taken place in

China. Indeed, the concept of restorative justice has only recently been introduced to

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Chinese scholars by their foreign colleagues.

The first international conference on restorative justice was held in Nanjing University

in 2003. Many scholars who were thought to be among the best in the field of Chinese

criminal justice reform expressed opposition to it. Later, a minor debate occurred in

academia (e.g., see Shao, 2005; Zhou, 2004) with scholars expressing mixed views on

the concept. Nevertheless, at present there are significant criminal justice programs

and practices in China that reflect the value and philosophy of restorative justice. Thus,

it can be concluded that there are at least two pathways for the growth and

development of restorative justice. One is represented by the Western movement that

was motivated as a response to problems of conventional criminal justice system; the

other is represented by Chinas approach, which is a continuation of its traditional legal

culture. Theoretically, this finding is interesting and significant in understanding the

patterns and development of restorative justice. In reality, a combination of the two

pathways combines to produce developments in restorative justice.

This also has implications for the future of restorative justice in China. The profound

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influence of traditional Confucian legal culture will endure, particularly in the minds and

habits of large portions of the population, where the concepts of harmony, morality,

dispute resolution, and justice will persist. This provides favorable cultural conditions

for the growth and development of restorative justice. We anticipate that tradition and

modern ideas will coexist, and that ancient wisdom will take new forms as it continues

to play an important role in the future of Chinese criminal justice. (Liu, Palermo, 2009.)

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ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSION


The preceding discussion, like earlier ones, introduced an interpretation of a number of

principles of the constitution of the PRC as amended throughout the communist regime in

China beginning in 1949. The original revolutionary movements in China at the beginning of

the early 20th century were part and parcel of the legacy of industrialisation and the political

heritage of the country, given things like the belated introduction of modern western methods

and technologies, and international influences in China where a kind of societal feudal system

was in use and that still existed by the time of the first formal Chinese revolution involving Sun

Yat - sen and his comrades in 1911.

While continuing to stress the importance of the bureaucracy, the laws of the Chinese republic

and then the laws in the country starting in 1949 called for basic priorities away from the

dynastic codes, of which then the establishment of more widespread and harsher penalties

for criminality, civil wrongs and the like, away from the kind of mediative and generally

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compromising heritage of Chinese law under the royal codes. The adoption of a simplified

form of the language and romanisation of its phonetic systems apart from traditional

structures and systems resulted in a destruction of much of the legitimate legacy of the

dynastic laws as they were and this is being visited more prominently by academics and

professionals alike at the time of this writing. The present constitution of the PRC, as

amended, represents perhaps a new approach to the issues of communism and China and

presents an apparent scientific and highly utilitarian effort to address the conflicts of traditional

civilisation in Asia with modernity and societal attitudes that differ with the orient, even in its

own geographical proximity. This observable process of national development along the lines

of traditional orientalism is unique, and worth examining, insofar as it finds itself in the

doctrine and dogma of Chinese national and international documents and media. Societal

controls are instituted to address combinations and circumstances that are beyond the scope

of government socialist / communist domains, and are reinforced by extensive and complex

safeguards accompanied by the communist party that profits form an increasingly burgeoning

state conducted business and economic environment that is not simply regional, but

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powerfully international in its scale and scope.

The difficulty of the present political situation in the PRC as presented by the constitution of

that country is the socialists and communists actually responsible for the revolution, in its

design and undertaking, and its successes, have largely passed into the historical record and

have no living influence. The current constitution of the PRC does read like an economic

doctrine in its amendments and to the extent it succeeds or does not succeed, the Chinese

leadership will follow to a great extent, and in view of its own advantages above other nations,

the party line that its edicts and rules, laws and legislation, even involving its societal

establishment and institutions, was and is a political and civic exercise that is larger and

gaining momentum. It could also end up being quite diminished in political and economic and

other horsepower, but the issues of the effectiveness of the basic laws of the PRC have been

determined to be controlling and imposing upon the population. Whether or not the Chinese

communist constitution in the final analysis will have enhanced the life of anyone, much less

the Chinese people themselves, remains to be seen. Perhaps this is just editorialising, but

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the issues are not simple and that any communist constitution has ever been effective at

making its citizens more happy and successful, their lives more meaningful, and rewarding in

other values that we take as given in western society is a subject of debate.

By no means does the author mean to editorialise here, but in fact a line needs to be drawn in

the sand as to the acceptability of documents such as the Chinese constitution (PRC,) and its

nature as a political document and what it is actually used for. With respect to this study, it

amplifies good work already completed (Liu and Palermo, and Deng,) while accenting the

overall centrism and mythical proportions of the thinking of the Chinese leadership in addition

to the actual practice of political and administrative governance in the PRC This judgment as

handed down on the repeated examination of the communist soviet society and the soviet

constitution of 1936 was overall unfavourable as the soviet constitution had so many flaws.

So also did the character of its leadership for many years. The reasons why and wherefore

are at this point a supplementary lesson of failure as opposed to the observable effects of

Chinese communism and socialism. Apart from the evidently and purely applied economic

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and scientific approaches to society as espoused by the current regime in the PRC, there are

larger issues, such as whether or not the future of that country in any terms will be free given

the social theory that economic successes are not dependant upon the bestowal or exercise

of human, political, civil, legal and other rights, at least as we know them in the western world.

It is in fact a danger that people believe undue social and societal controls are necessary in

order to assure national and individual income and profit, and therefore a decent living at

least. It is in this respect that the type of universality of the documentation and media from

the PRC and its administration and leadership, no matter what its promise and due to a

Chinese affinity for convenient and cruel realities with respect to its populace, can hardly be

said to, or even in any way interpreted as being in parallel with western interests, or its morals

and ethics. This is observable and evident, however directly or indirectly the same are related

to commercial and political institutions and the international establishment of capitalism and

free markets, either as they are known in their workings or discussed in theory.

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CONSTITUTION OF THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA

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CONSTITUTION OF THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA


(Adopted on December 4, 1982)

PREAMBLE
China is one of the countries with the longest histories in the world. The people of all nationalities in China
have jointly created a splendid culture and have a glorious revolutionary tradition. Feudal China was gradually
reduced after 1840 to a semi-colonial and semi-feudal country. The Chinese people waged wave upon wave of
heroic struggles for national independence and liberation and for democracy and freedom. Great and earth-shaking
historical changes have taken place in China in the 20th century. The Revolution of 1911, led by Dr Sun Yat-sen,
abolished the feudal monarchy and gave birth to the Republic of China. But the Chinese people had yet to fulfil
their historical task of overthrowing imperialism and feudalism. After waging hard, protracted and tortuous
struggles, armed and otherwise, the Chinese people of all nationalities led by the Communist Party of China with
Chairman Mao Zedong as its leader ultimately, in 1949, overthrew the rule of imperialism, feudalism and
bureaucrat capitalism, won the great victory of the new-democratic revolution and founded the People's Republic
of China. Thereupon the Chinese people took state power into their own hands and became masters of the country.
After the founding of the People's Republic, the transition of Chinese society from a new- democratic to a
socialist society was effected step by step. The socialist transformation of the private ownership of the means of
production was completed, the system of exploitation of man by man eliminated and the socialist system
established. The people's democratic dictatorship led by the working class and based on the alliance of workers and
peasants, which is in essence the dictatorship of the proletariat, has been consolidated and developed. The Chinese
people and the Chinese People's Liberation Army have thwarted aggression, sabotage and armed provocations by
imperialists and hegemonists,safeguarded China's national independence and security and strengthened its national
defence. Major successes have been achieved in economic development. An independent and fairly comprehensive
socialist system of industry has in the main been established. There has been a marked increase in agricultural
production. Significant progress has been made in educational, scientific, cultural and other undertakings, and
socialist ideological education has yielded noteworthy results. The living standards of the people have improved
considerably. Both the victory of China's new-democratic revolution and the successes of its socialist cause have
been achieved by the Chinese people of all nationalities under the leadership of the Communist Party of China and
the guidance of Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought, and by upholding truth, correcting errors and
overcoming numerous difficulties and hardships.
The basic task of the nation in the years to come is to concentrate its effort on socialist modernization. Under
the leadership of the Communist Party of China and the guidance of Marxism- Leninism and Mao ZedongThought,
the Chinese people of all nationalities will continue to adhere to the people's democratic dictatorship and follow the
socialist road, steadily improve socialist institutions, develop socialist democracy, improve the socialist legal
system and work hard and self-reliantly to modernize industry, agriculture, national defence and science and
technology step by step to turn China into a socialist country with a high level of culture and democracy. The
exploiting classes as such have been eliminated in our country. However, class struggle will continue to exist
within certain limits for a long time to come. The Chinese people must fight against those forces and elements, both
at home and abroad, that are hostile to China's socialist system and try to undermine it. Taiwan is part of the sacred
territory of the People's Republic of China. It is the lofty duty of the entire Chinese people, including our
compatriots in Taiwan, to accomplish the great task of reunifying the motherland. In building socialism it is
http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/constitution/constitution.html (1 of 25)10/21/2010 10:03:22 PM

CONSTITUTION OF THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA

imperative to rely on the workers, peasants and intellectuals and unite with all the forces that can be united. In the
long years of revolution and construction, there has been formed under the leadership of the Communist Party of
China a broad patriotic united front that is composed of democratic parties and people's organizations and embraces
all socialist working people, all patriots who support socialism and all patriots who stand for reunification of the
motherland. This united front will continue to be consolidated and developed. The Chinese People's Political
Consultative Conference is a broadly representative organization of the united front, which has played a significant
historical role and will continue to do so in the political and social life of the country, in promoting friendship with
the people of other countries and in the struggle for socialist modernization and for the reunification and unity of
the country. The People's Republic of China is a unitary multi-national state built up jointly by the people of all its
nationalities. Socialist relations of equality, unity and mutual assistance have been established among them and will
continue to be strengthened. In the struggle to safeguard the unity of the nationalities, it is necessary to combat bignation chauvinism, mainly Han chauvinism, and also necessary to combat local-national chauvinism. The state
does its utmost to promote the common prosperity of all nationalities in the country. China's achievements in
revolution and construction are inseparable from support by the people of the world. The future of China is closely
linked with that of the whole world. China adheres to an independent foreign policy as well as to the five principles
of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other's
internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence in developing diplomatic relations and
economic and cultural exchanges with other countries; China consistently opposes imperialism, hegemonism and
colonialism, works to strengthen unity with the people of other countries, supports the oppressed nations and the
developing countries in their just struggle to win and preserve national independence and develop their national
economies, and strives to safeguard world peace and promote the cause of human progress. This Constitution
affirms the achievements of the struggles of the Chinese people of all nationalities and defines the basic system and
basic tasks of the state in legal form; it is the fundamental law of the state and has supreme legal authority. The
people of all nationalities, all state organs, the armed forces, all political parties and public organizations and all
enterprises and undertakings in the country must take the Constitution as the basic norm of conduct, and they have
the duty to uphold the dignity of the Constitution and ensure its implementation.

CHAPTER I. GENERAL PRINCIPLES


Article 1. The People's Republic of China is a socialist state under the people's democratic dictatorship led by the
working class and based on the alliance of workers and peasants. The socialist system is the basic system of the
People's Republic of China. Sabotage of the socialist system by any organization or individual is prohibited.
Article 2. All power in the People's Republic of China belongs to the people. The organs through which the
people exercise state power are the National People's Congress and the local people's congresses at different levels.
The people administer state affairs and manage economic, cultural and social affairs through various channels and
in various ways in accordance with the law.
Article 3. The state organs of the People's Republic of China apply the principle of democratic centralism.
The National People's Congress and the local people's congresses at different levels are instituted through
democratic election. They are responsible to the people and subject to their supervision. All administrative, judicial
and procuratorial organs of the state are created by the people's congresses to which they are responsible and under
whose supervision they operate. The division of functions and powers between the central and local state organs is
guided by the principle of giving full play to the initiative and enthusiasm of the local authorities under the unified
leadership of the central authorities.
Article 4. All nationalities in the People's Republic of China are equal. The state protects the lawful rights and
interests of the minority nationalities and upholds and develops the relationship of equality, unity and mutual
assistance among all of China's nationalities. Discrimination against and oppression of any nationality are
prohibited; any acts that undermine the unity of the nationalities or instigate their secession are prohibited. The

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state helps the areas inhabited by minority nationalities speed up their economic and cultural development in
accordance with the peculiarities and needs of the different minority nationalities. Regional autonomy is practised
in areas where people of minority nationalities live in compact communities; in these areas organs of selfgovernment are established for the exercise of the right of autonomy. All the national autonomous areas are
inalienable parts of the People's Republic of China. The people of all nationalities have the freedom to use and
develop their own spoken and written languages, and to preserve or reform their own ways and customs.
Article 5. The state upholds the uniformity and dignity of the socialist legal system. No law or administrative
or local rules and regulations shall contravene the constitution. All state organs, the armed forces, all political
parties and public organizations and all enterprises and undertakings must abide by the Constitution and the law.
All acts in violation of the Constitution and the law must be investigated. No organization or individual may enjoy
the privilege of being above the Constitution and the law.
Article 6. The basis of the socialist economic system of the People's Republic of China is socialist public
ownership of the means of production, namely, ownership by the whole people and collective ownership by the
working people. The system of socialist public ownership supersedes the system of exploitation of man by man; it
applies the principle of 'from each according to his ability, to each according to his work.
Article 7. The state economy is the sector of socialist economy under ownership by the whole people; it is the
leading force in the national economy. The state ensures the consolidation and growth of the state economy.
Article 8. Rural people's communes, agricultural producers' co-operatives, and other forms of co- operative
economy such as producers' supply and marketing, credit and consumers co-operatives, belong to the sector of
socialist economy under collective ownership by the working people. Working people who are members of rural
economic collectives have the right, within the limits prescribed by law, to farm private plots of cropland and hilly
land, engage in household sideline production and raise privately owned livestock. The various forms of cooperative economy in the cities and towns, such as those in the handicraft, industrial, building, transport,
commerical and service trades, all belong to the sector of socialist economy under collective ownership by the
working people. The state protects the lawful rights and interests of the urban and rural economic collectives and
encourages, guides and helps the growth of the collective economy.
Article 9. Mineral resources, waters, forests, mountains, grassland, unreclaimed land, beaches and other
natural resources are owned by the state, that is, by the whole people, with the exception of the forests,
mountains, grassland, unreclaimed land and beaches that are owned by collectives in accordance with the law. The
state ensures the rational use of natural resources and protects rare animals and plants. The appropriation or damage
of natural resources by any organization or individual by whatever means is prohibited.
Article 10. Land in the cities is owned by the state. Land in the rural and suburban areas is owned by collectives
except for those portions which belong to the state in accordance with the law; house sites and private plots of
cropland and hilly land are also owned by collectives. The state may in the public interest take over land for its use
in accordance with the law. No organization or individual may appropriate, buy, sell or lease land, or unlawfully
transfer land in other ways. All organizations and individuals who use land must make rational use of the land.
Article 11. The individual economy of urban and rural working people, operated within the limits prescribed
by law, is a complement to the socialist public economy. The state protects the lawful rights and interests of the
individual economy. The state guides, helps and supervises the individual economy by exercising administrative
control.
Article 12. Socialist public property is sacred and inviolable. The state protects socialist public property.
Appropriation or damage of state or collective property by any organization or individual by whatever means is
prohibited.

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Article 13. The state protects the right of citizens to own lawfully earned income, savings, houses and other
lawful property. The state protects by law the right of citizens to inherit private property.
Article 14. The state continuously raises labour productivity, improves economic results and develops the
productive forces by enhancing the enthusiasm of the working people, raising the level of their technical skill,
disseminating advanced science and technology, improving the systems of economic administration and enterprise
operation and management, instituting the socialist system of responsibility in various forms and improving
organization of work. The state practises strict economy and combats waste. The state properly apportions
accumulation and consumption, pays attention to the interests of the collective and the individual as well as of the
state and, on the basis of expanded production, gradually improves the material and cultural life of the people.
Article 15. The state practises economic planning on the basis of socialist public ownership. It ensures the
proportionate and co-ordinated growth of the national economy through overall balancing by economic planning
and the supplementary role of regulation by the market. Disturbance of the orderly functioning of the social
economy or disruption of the state economic plan by any organization or individual is prohibited.
Article 16. State enterprises have decision-making power in operation and management within the limits
prescribed by law, on condition that they submit to unified leadership by the state and fulfil all their obligations
under the state plan. State enterprises practise democratic management through congresses of workers and staff and
in other ways in accordance with the law.
Article 17. Collective economic organizations have decision-making power in conducting independent
economic activities, on condition that they accept the guidance of the state plan and abide by the relevant laws.
Collective economic organizations practise democratic management in accordance with the law, with the entire
body of their workers electing or removing their managerial personnel and deciding on major issues concerning
operation and management.
Article 18. The People's Republic of China permits foreign enterprises, other foreign economic organizations
and individual foreigners to invest in China and to enter into various forms of economic co-operation with
Chinese enterprises and other economic organizations in accordance with the law of the People's Republic of
China. All foreign enterprises and other foreign economic organizations in China, as well as joint ventures with
Chinese and foreign investment located in China, shall abide by the law of the People's Republic of China. Their
lawful rights and interests are protected by the law of the People's Republic of China.
Article 19. The state develops socialist educational undertakings and works to raise the scientific and
cultural level of the whole nation. The state runs schools of various types, makes primary education compulsory
and universal, develops secondary, vocational and higher education and promotes pre-school education. The state
develops educational facilities of various types in order to wipe out illiteracy and provide political, cultural,
scientific, technical and professional education for workers, peasants, state functionaries and other working people.
It encourages people to become educated through self- study. The state encourages the collective economic
organizations, state enterprises and undertakings and other social forces to set up educational institutions of various
types in accordance with the law. The state promotes the nationwide use of Putonghua (common speech based on
Beijing pronunciation).
Article 20. The state promotes the development of the natural and social sciences, disseminates scientific and
technical knowledge, and commends and rewards achievements in scientific research as well as technological
discoveries and inventions.
Article 21. The state develops medical and health services, promotes modern medicine and traditional Chinese
medicine, encourages and supports the setting up of various medical and health facilities by the rural economic
collectives, state enterprises and undertakings and neighbourhood organizations, and promotes sanitation activities
of a mass character, all to protect the people's health. The state develops physical culture and promotes mass sports
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activities to build up the people's physique.


Article 22. The state promotes the development of literature and art, the press, broadcasting and television
undertakings, publishing and distribution services, libraries, museums, cultural centres and other cultural
undertakings, that serve the people and socialism, and sponsors mass cultural activities. The state protects places of
scenic and historical interest,valuable cultural monuments and relics and other important items of China's historical
and cultural heritage.
Article 23. The state trains specialized personnel in all fields who serve socialism, increases the number of
intellectuals and creates conditions to give full scope to their role in socialist modernization.
Article 24. The state strengthens the building of socialist spiritual civilization through spreading education in
high ideals and morality, general education and education in discipline and the legal system, and through promoting
the formulation and observance of rules of conduct and common pledges by different sections of the people in
urban and rural areas. The state advocates the civic virtues of love for the motherland, for the people, for labour, for
science and for socialism; it educates the people in patriotism, collectivism, internationalism and communism and
in dialectical and historical materialism; it combats the decadent ideas of capitalism and feudalism and other
decadent ideas.
Article 25. The state promotes family planning so that population growth may fit the plans for economic and
social development.
Article 26. The state protects and improves the living environment and the ecological environment, and
prevents and controls pollution and other public hazards. The state organizes and encourages afforestation and the
protection of forests.
Article 27. All state organs carry out the principle of simple and efficient administration, the system of
responsibility for work and the system of training functionaries and appraising their work in order constantly to
improve quality of work and efficiency and combat bureaucratism. All state organs and functionaries must rely on
the support of the people, keep in close touch with them, heed their opinions and suggestions, accept their
supervision and work hard to serve them.
Article 28. The state maintains public order and suppresses treasonable and other counter- revolutionary
activities; it penalizes actions that endanger public security and disrupt the socialist economy and other criminal
activities, and punishes and reforms criminals.
Article 29. The armed forces of the People's Republic of China belong to the people. Their tasks are to
strengthen national defence, resist aggression, defend the motherland, safeguard the people's peaceful labour,
participate in national reconstruction, and work hard to serve the people. The state strengthens the
revolutionization, modernization and regularization of the armed forces in order to increase the national defence
capability.
Article 30. The administrative division of the People's Republic of China is as follows: (1) The country is
divided into provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government; (2)
Provinces and autonomous regions are divided into autonomous prefectures, counties, autonomous counties and
cities; (3) Counties and autonomous counties are divided into townships, nationality townships and towns.
Municipalities directly under the Central Government and other large cities are divided into districts and counties.
Autonomous prefectures are divided into counties, autonomous counties, and cities. All autonomous regions,
autonomous prefectures and autonomous counties are national autonomous areas.
Article 31. The state may establish special administrative regions when necessary. The systems to be instituted
in special administrative regions shall be prescribed by law enacted by the National People's Congress in the light
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of the specific conditions.


Article 32. The People's Republic of China protects the lawful rights and interests of foreigners within
Chinese territory, and while on Chinese territory foreigners must abide by the law of the People's Republic of
China. The People's Republic of China may grant asylum to foreigners who request it for political reasons.

CHAPTER II. THE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF CITIZENS


Article 33. All persons holding the nationality of the People's Republic of China are citizens of the People's
Republic of China. All citizens of the People's Republic of China are equal before the law. Every citizen enjoys the
rights and at the same time must perform the duties prescribed by the Constitution and the law.
Article 34. All citizens of the People's Republic of China who have reached the age of 18 have the right to
vote and stand for election, regardless of nationality, race, sex, occupation, family background, religious belief,
education, property status, or length of residence, except persons deprived of political rights according to law.
Article 35. Citizens of the People's Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of
association, of procession and of demonstration.
Article 36. Citizens of the People's Republic of China enjoy freedom of religious belief. No state organ, public
organization or individual may compel citizens to believe in, or not to believe in, any religion; nor may they
discriminate against citizens who believe in, or do not believe in, any religion. The state protects normal religious
activities. No one may make use of religion to engage in activities that disrupt public order, impair the health of
citizens or interfere with the educational system of the state. Religious bodies and religious affairs are not subject to
any foreign domination.
Article 37. The freedom of person of citizens of the People's Republic of China is inviolable. No citizen may
be arrested except with the approval or by decision of a people's procuratorate or by decision of a people's court,
and arrests must be made by a public security organ. Unlawful deprivation or restriction of citizens' freedom of
person by detention or other means is prohibited; and unlawful search of the person of citizens is prohibited. Article
38. The personal dignity of citizens of the People's Republic of China is inviolable. Insult, libel, false charge or
frame-up directed against citizens by any means is prohibited.
Article 39. The home of citizens of the People's Republic of China is inviolable. Unlawful search of, or
intrusion into, a citizen's home is prohibited.
Article 40. The freedom and privacy of correspondence of citizens of the People's Republic of China are
protected by law. No organization or individual may, on any ground, infringe upon the freedom and privacy of
citizens' correspondence except in cases where, to meet the needs of state security or of investigation into criminal
offences, public security or procuratorial organs are permitted to censor correspondence in accordance with
procedures prescribed by law.
Article 41. Citizens of the People's Republic of China have the right to criticize and make suggestions to any
state organ or functionary. Citizens have the right to make to relevant state organs complaints and charges
against, or exposures of, violation of the law or dereliction of duty by any state organ or functionary; but
fabrication or distortion of facts with the intention of libel or frame-up is prohibited. In case of complaints, charges
or exposures made by citizens, the state organ concerned must deal with them in a responsible manner after
ascertaining the facts. No one may suppress such complaints, charges and exposures, or retaliate against the
citizens making them. Citizens who have suffered losses through infringement of their civil rights by any state
organ or functionary have the right to compensation in accordance with the law.
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Article 42. Citizens of the People's Republic of China have the right as well as the duty to work. Using
various channels, the state creates conditions for employment, strengthens labour protection, improves working
conditions and, on the basis of expanded production, increases remuneration for work and social benefits. Work is
the glorious duty of every able-bodied citizen. All working people in state enterprises and in urban and rural
economic collectives should perform their tasks with an attitude consonant with their status as masters of the
country. The state promotes socialist labour emulation, and commends and rewards model and advanced workers.
The state encourages citizens to take part in voluntary labour. The state provides necessary vocational training to
citizens before they are employed.
Article 43. Working people in the People's Republic of China have the right to rest. The state expands
facilities for rest and recuperation of working people, and prescribes working hours and vacations for workers and
staff.
Article 44. The state prescribes by law the system of retirement for workers and staff in enterprises and
undertakings and for functionaries of organs of state. The livelihood of retired personnel is ensured by the state
and society.
Article 45. Citizens of the People's Republic of China have the right to material assistance from the state and
society when they are old, ill or disabled. The state develops the social insurance, social relief and medical and
health services that are required to enable citizens to enjoy this right. The state and society ensure the livelihood of
disabled members of the armed forces, provide pensions to the families of martyrs and give preferential treatment
to the families of military personnel. The state and society help make arrangements for the work, livelihood and
education of the blind, deaf-mute and other handicapped citizens.
Article 46. Citizens of the People's Republic of China have the duty as well as the right to receive education.
The state promotes the all-round moral, intellectual and physical development of children and young people.
Article 47. Citizens of the People's Republic of China have the freedom to engage in scientific research, literary
and artistic creation and other cultural pursuits. The state encourages and assists creative endeavours conducive to
the interests of the people made by citizens engaged in education, science, technology, literature, art and other
cultural work.
Article 48. Women in the People's Republic of China enjoy equal rights with men in all spheres of life,
political, economic, cultural and social, and family life. The state protects the rights and interests of women, applies
the principle of equal pay for equal work for men and women alike and trains and selects cadres from among
women.
Article 49. Marriage, the family, and mother and child are protected by the state. Both husband and wife have
the duty to practise family planning. Parents have the duty to rear and educate their minor children, and children
who have come of age have the duty to support and assist their parents. Violation of the freedom of marriage is
prohibited. Maltreatment of old people, women and children is prohibited.
Article 50. The People's Republic of China protects the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese nationals
residing abroad and protects the lawful rights and interests of returned overseas Chinese and of the family
members of Chinese nationals residing abroad.
Article 51. The exercise by citizens of the People's Republic of China of their freedoms and rights may not
infringe upon the interests of the state, of society and of the collective, or upon the lawful freedoms and rights of
other citizens.
Article 52. It is the duty of citizens of the People's Republic of China to safeguard the unity of the country
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and the unity of all its nationalities.


Article 53. Citizens of the People's Republic of China must abide by the constitution and the law, keep state
secrets, protect public property and observe labour discipline and public order and respect social ethics.
Article 54. It is the duty of citizens of the People's Republic of China to safeguard the security, honour and
interests of the motherland; they must not commit acts detrimental to the security, honour and interests of the
motherland.
Article 55. It is the sacred obligation of every citizen of the People's Republic of China to defend the
motherland and resist aggression. It is the honourable duty of citizens of the People's Republic of China to
perform military service and join the militia in accordance with the law.
Article 56. It is the duty of citizens of the People's Republic of China to pay taxes in accordance with the law.

CHAPTER III. THE STRUCTURE OF THE STATE


SECTION 1. THE NATIONAL PEOPLE'S CONGRESS
Article 57. The National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China is the highest organ of state
power. Its permanent body is the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.
Article 58. The National People's Congress and its Standing Committee exercise the legislative power of the
state.
Article 59. The National People's Congress is composed of deputies elected by the provinces, autonomous
regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government, and by the armed forces. All the minority
nationalities are entitled to appropriate representation. Election of deputies to the National People's Congress is
conducted by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. The number of deputies to the National
People's Congress and the manner of their election are prescribed by law.
Article 60. The National People's Congress is elected for a term of five years. Two months before the
expiration of the term of office of a National People's Congress, its Standing Committee must ensure that the
election of deputies to the succeeding National People's Congress is completed. Should exceptional circumstances
prevent such an election, it may be postponed by decision of a majority vote of more than two- thirds of all those
on the Standing Committee of the incumbent National People's Congress, and the term of office of the incumbent
National People's Congress may be extended. The election of deputies to the succeeding National People's
Congress must be completed within one year after the termination of such exceptional circumstances.
Article 61. The National People's Congress meets in session once a year and is convened by its Standing
Committee. A session of the National People's Congress may be convened at any time the Standing Committee
deems this necessary, or when more than one-fifth of the deputies to the National People's Congress so propose.
When the National People's Congress meets, it elects a presidium to conduct its session.
Article 62. The National People's Congress exercises the following functions and powers:
(1) To amend the Constitution;
(2) To supervise the enforcement of the Constitution;
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(3) To enact and amend basic statutes concerning criminal offences, civil affairs, the state organs and other matters;
(4) To elect the President and the Vice-President of the People's Republic of China; (previously translated as
Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the People's Republic of China--translator's note.)
(5) To decide on the choice of the Premier of the State Council upon nomination by the President of the People's
Republic of China, and to decide on the choice of the Vice-Premiers, State Councillors, Ministers in charge of
Ministries or Commissions and the Auditor-General and the Secretary-General of the State Council upon
nomination by the Premier;
(6) To elect the Chairman of the Central Military Commission and, upon his nomination, to decide on the choice of
the other members of the Central Military Commission;
(7) To elect the President of the Supreme People's Court;
(8) To elect the Procurator-General of the Supreme People's Procuratorate;
(9) To examine and approve the plan for national economic and social development and the reports on its
implementation;
(10) To examine and approve the state budget and the report on its implementation;
(11) To alter or annul inappropriate decisions of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress;
(12) To approve the establishment of provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the Central
Government;
(13) To decide on the establishment of special administrative regions and the systems to be instituted there;
(14) To decide on questions of war and peace; and
(15) To exercise such other functions and powers as the highest organ of state power should exercise.
Article 63. The National People's Congress has the power to recall or remove from office the following
persons:
(1) The President and the Vice-President of the People's Republic of China;
(2) The Premier, Vice-Premiers, State Councillors, Ministers in charge of Ministries or Commissions and the
Auditor-General and the Secretary-General of the State Council;
(3) The Chairman of the Central Military Commission and others on the commission;
(4) The President of the Supreme People's Court; and
(5) The Procurator-General of the Supreme People's Procuratorate.
Article 64. Amendments to the Constitution are to be proposed by the Standing Committee of the National
People's Congress or by more than one-fifth of the deputies to the National People's Congress and adopted
by a majority vote of more than two-thirds of all the deputies to the Congress. Statutes and resolutions are
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adopted by a majority vote of more than one half of all the deputies to the National People's Congress.
Article 65. The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress is composed of the following: The
Chairman; The Vice-Chairmen; The Secretary-General; and Members. Minority nationalities are entitled to
appropriate representation on the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. The National People's
Congress elects, and has the power to recall, all those on its Standing Committee. No one on the Standing
Committee of the National People's Congress shall hold any post in any of the administrative, judicial or
procuratorial organs of the state.
Article 66. The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress is elected for the same term as the
National People's Congress; it exercises its functions and powers until a new Standing Committee is elected by
the succeeding National People's Congress. The Chairman and Vice-Chairmen of the Standing Committee shall
serve no more than two consecutive terms.
Article 67. The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress exercises the following functions and
powers:
(1) To interpret the Constitution and supervise its enforcement;
(2) To enact and amend statutes with the exception of those which should be enacted by the National People's
Congress;
(3) To enact,when the National People's Congress is not in session, partial supplements and amendments to statutes
enacted by the National People's Congress provided that they do not contravene the basic principles of these
statutes;
(4) To interpret statutes;
(5) To examine and approve, when the National People's Congress is not in session, partial adjustments to the plan
for national economic and social development and to the state budget that prove necessary in the course of their
implementation;
(6) To supervise the work of the State Council,the Central Military Commission, the Supreme People's Court and
the Supreme People's Procuratorate;
(7) To annual those administrative rules and regulations, decisions or orders of the State Council that contravene
the Constitution or the statutes;
(8) To annul those local regulations or decisions of the organs of state power of provinces, autonomous regions and
municipalities directly under the Central Government that contravene the Constitution, the statutes or the
administrative rules and regulations;
(9) To decide, when the National People's Congress is not in session, on the choice of Ministers in charge of
Ministries or Commissions or the Auditor-General and the Secretary-General of the State Council upon nomination
by the Premier of the State Council;
(10) To decide, upon nomination by the Chairman of the Central Military Commission, on the choice of others on
the commission, when the National People's Congress is not in session;
(11) To appoint and remove the Vice-Presidents and judges of the Supreme People's Court, members of its Judicial
Committee and the President of the Military Court at the suggestion of the President of the Supreme People's

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Court;
(12) To appoint and remove the Deputy Procurators-General and procurators of the Supreme People's
Procuratorate, members of its Procuratorial Committee and the Chief Procurator of the Military Procuratorate at the
request of the Procurator-General of the Supreme People's Procuratorate, and to approve the appointment and
removal of the chief procurators of the people's procuratorates of provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities
directly under the Central Government;
(13) To decide on the appointment and recall of plenipotentiary representatives abroad;
(14) To decide on the ratification and abrogation of treaties and important agreements concluded with foreign states;
(15) To institute systems of titles and ranks for military and diplomatic personnel and of other specific titles and
ranks;
(16) To institute state medals and titles of honour and decide on their conferment;
(17) To decide on the granting of special pardons;
(18) To decide, when the National People's Congress is not in session, on the proclamation of a state of war in the
event of an armed attack on the country or in fulfillment of international treaty obligations concerning common
defence against aggression;
(19) To decide on general mobilization or partial mobilization;
(20) To decide on the enforcement of martial law throughout the country or in particular provinces, autonomous
regions or municipalities directly under the Central Government; and
(21) To exercise such other functions and powers as the National People's Congress may assign to it.
Article 68. The Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress presides over the
work of the Standing Committee and convenes its meetings. The Vice-Chairmen and the Secretary-General
assist the Chairman in his work. Chairmanship meetings with the participation of the chairman, vice- chairmen and
secretary-general handle the important day-to-day work of the Standing Committee of the National People's
Congress.
Article 69. The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress is responsible to the National People's
Congress and reports on its work to the Congress.
Article 70. The National People's Congress establishes a Nationalities Committee, a Law Committee, a
Finance and Economic Committee, an Education, Science, Culture and Public Health Committee, a Foreign
Affairs Committee, an Overseas Chinese Committee and such other special committees as are necessary.
These special committees work under the direction of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress
when the Congress is not in session. The special committees examine, discuss and draw up relevant bills and draft
resolutions under the direction of the National People's Congress and its Standing Committee.
Article 71. The National People's Congress and its Standing Committee may, when they deem it necessary,
appoint committees of inquiry into specific questions and adopt relevant resolutions in the light of their reports.
All organs of state, public organizations and citizens concerned are obliged to supply the necessary information to
those committees of inquiry when they conduct investigations.

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Article 72. Deputies to the National People's Congress and all those on its Standing Committee have the
right, in accordance with procedures prescribed by law, to submit bills and proposals within the scope of the
respective functions and powers of the National People's Congress and its Standing Committee.
Article 73. Deputies to the National People's Congress during its sessions, and all those on its Standing
Committee during its meetings, have the right to address questions, in accordance with procedures prescribed
by law, to the State Council or the ministries and commissions under the State Council, which must answer the
questions in a responsible manner.
Article 74. No deputy to the National People's Congress may be arrested or placed on criminal trial without
the consent of the Presidium of the current session of the National People's Congress or, when the National
People's Congress is not in session, without the consent of its StandingCommittee.
Article 75. Deputies to the National People's Congress may not be called to legal account for their speeches
or votes at its meetings.
Article 76. Deputies to the National People's Congress must play an exemplary role in abiding by the
Constitution and the law and keeping state secrets and, in production and other work and their public activities,
assist in the enforcement of the Constitution and the law. Deputies to the National People's Congress should
maintain close contact with the units and people which elected them, listen to and convey their opinions and
demands and work hard to serve them.
Article 77. Deputies to the National People's Congress are subject to the supervision of the units which
elected them. The electoral units have the power, through procedures prescribed by law, to recall the deputies
whom they elected.
Article 78. The organization and working procedures of the National People's Congress and its Standing
Committee are prescribed by law.

SECTION 2. THE PRESIDENT OF THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA


Article 79: The President and Vice-President of the People's Republic of China are elected by the National
People's Congress. Citizens of the People's Republic of China who have the right to vote and to stand for election
and who have reached the age of 45 are eligible for election as President or Vice-President of the People's Republic
of China. The term of office of the President and Vice-President of the People's Republic of China is the same as
that of the National People's Congress, and they shall serve no more than two consecutive terms.
Article 80. The President of the People's Republic of China, in pursuance of decisions of the National
People's Congress and its Standing Committee, promulgates statutes; appoints and removes the Premier,
Vice-Premiers, State Councillors, Ministers in charge of Ministries or Commissions, and the AuditorGeneral and the Secretary-General of the State Council; confers state medals and titles of honour; issues
orders of special pardons; proclaims martial law; proclaims a state of war; and issues mobilization orders.
Article 81. The President of the People's Republic of China receives foreign diplomatic representatives on
behalf of the People's Republic of China and, in pursuance of decisions of the Standing Committee of the
National People's Congress, appoints and recalls plenipotentiary representatives abroad, and ratifies and abrogates
treaties and important agreements concluded with foreign states.
Article 82. The Vice-President of the People's Republic of China assists the President in his work. The VicePresident of the People's Republic of China may exercise such parts of the functions and powers of the President as
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the President may entrust to him.


Article 83. The President and Vice-President of the People's Republic of China exercise their functions and
powers until the new President and Vice- President elected by the succeeding National People's Congress assume
office.
Article 84. In case the office of the President of the People's Republic of China falls vacant, the Vice-President
succeeds to the office of President. In case the office of the Vice-President of the People's Republic of China falls
vacant, the National People's Congress shall elect a new Vice-President to fill the vacancy. In the event that the
offices of both the President and the Vice-President of the People's Republic of China fall vacant, the National
People's Congress shall elect a new President and a new Vice-President. Prior to such election, the Chairman of the
Standing Committee of the National People's Congress shall temporarily act as the President of the People's
Republic of China.

SECTION 3. THE STATE COUNCIL


Article 85. The State Council, that is, the Central People's Government of the People's Republic of China, is
the executive body of the highest organ of state power; it is the highest organ of state administration.
Article 86. The State Council is composed of the following: The Premier; The Vice-Premiers; The State
Councillors; The Ministers in charge of Ministries; The Ministers in charge of Commissions; The AuditorGeneral; and The Secretary-General. The Premier has overall responsibility for the State Council. The Ministers
have overall responsibility for the respective ministries or commissions under their charge. The organization of the
State Council is prescribed by law.
Article 87. The term of office of the State Council is the same as that of the National People's Congress. The
Premier, Vice-Premiers and State Councillors shall serve no more than two consecutive terms.
Article 88. The Premier directs the work of the State Council. The Vice- Premiers and State Councillors assist
the Premier in his work. Executive meetings of the State Council are composed of the Premier, the Vice-Premiers,
the State Councillors and the Secretary-General of the State Council. The Premier convenes and presides over the
executive meetings and plenary meetings of the State Council.
Article 89. The State Council exercises the following functions and powers: (1) To adopt administrative
measures,enact administrative rules and regulations and issue decisions and orders in accordance with the
Constitution and the statutes; (2) To submit proposals to the National People's Congress or its Standing Committee;
(3) To lay down the tasks and responsibilities of the ministries and commissions of the State Council, to exercise
unified leadership over the work of the ministries and commissions and to direct all other administrative work of a
national character that does not fall within the jurisdiction of the ministries and commissions; (4) To exercise
unified leadership over the work of local organs of state administration at different levels throughout the country,
and to lay down the detailed division of functions and powers between the Central Government and the organs of
state administration of provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government;
(5) To draw up and implement the plan for national economic and social development and the state budget; (6) To
direct and administer economic work and urban and rural development; (7) To direct and administer the work
concerning education, science, culture, public health, physical culture and family planning; (8) To direct and
administer the work concerning civil affairs, public security, judicial administration, supervision and other related
matters; (9) To conduct foreign affairs and conclude treaties and agreements with foreign states; (10) To direct and
administer the building of national defence; (11) To direct and administer affairs concerning the nationalities and to
safeguard the equal rights of minority nationalities and the right of autonomy of the national autonomous areas;
(12) To protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese nationals residing abroad and protect the lawful rights
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and interests of returned overseas Chinese and of the family members of Chinese nationals residing abroad; (13) To
alter or annul inappropriate orders, directives and regulations issued by the ministries or commissions; (14) To alter
or annul inappropriate decisions and orders issued by local organs of state administration at different levels; (15)
To approve the geographic division of provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central
Government, and to approve the establishment and geographic division of autonomous prefectures, counties,
autonomous counties and cities; (16) To decide on the enforcement of martial law in parts of provinces,
autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government; (17) To examine and decide on the
size of administrative organs and, in accordance with the law, to appoint, remove and train administrative officers,
appraise their work and reward or punish them; and (18) To exercise such other functions and powers as the
National People's Congress or its Standing Committee may assign it.
Article 90. The ministers in charge of ministries or commissions of the State Council are responsible for the
work of their respective departments and convene and preside over their ministerial meetings or commission
meetings that discuss and decide on major issues in the work of their respective departments. The ministries and
commissions issue orders, directives and regulations within the jurisdiction of their respective departments and in
accordance with the statutes and the administrative rules and regulations, decisions and orders issued by the State
Council.
Article 91. The State Council establishes an auditing body to supervise through auditing the revenue and
expenditure of all departments under the State Council and of the local governments at different levels, and
those of the state financial and monetary organizations and of enterprises and undertakings. Under the direction of
the Premier of the State Council,the auditing body independently exercises its power to supervise through auditing
in accordance with the law, subject to no interference by any other administrative organ or any public organization
or individual.
Article 92. The State Council is responsible, and reports on its work, to the National People's Congress or, when
the National People's Congress is not in session, to its Standing Committee.

SECTION 4. THE CENTRAL MILITARY COMMISSION


Article 93. The Central Military Commission of the People's Republic of China directs the armed forces of
the country. The Central Military Commission is composed of the following: The Chairman; The Vice-Chairmen;
and Members. The Chairman of the Central Military Commission has overall responsibility for the commission.
The term of office of the Central Military Commission is the same as that of the National People's Congress.
Article 94. The Chairman of the Central Military Commission is responsible to the National People's
Congress and its Standing Committee.

SECTION 5. THE LOCAL PEOPLE'S CONGRESS AND THE LOCAL PEOPLE'S GOVERNMENTS AT
DIFFERENT LEVELS
Article 95. People's congresses and people's governments are established in provinces, municipalities directly
under the Central Government, counties, cities, municipal districts, townships, nationality townships and towns.
The organization of local people's congresses and local people's governments at different levels is prescribed by
law. Organs of self-government are established in autonomous regions, autonomous prefectures and autonomous
counties. The organization and working procedures of organs of self-government are prescribed by law in
accordance with the basic principles laid down in Sections V and VI of Chapter Three of the Constitution.

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Article 96. Local people's congresses at different levels are local organs of state power. Local people's
congresses at and above the county level establish standing committees.
Article 97. Deputies to the people's congresses of provinces, municipalities directly under the Central Government,
and cities divided into districts are elected by the people's congresses at the next lower level; deputies to the
people'scongresses of counties, cities not divided into districts, municipal districts, townships, nationality
townships and towns are elected directly by their constituencies. The number of deputies to local people's
congresses at different levels and the manner of their election are prescribed by law.
Article 98. The term of office of the people's congresses of provinces, municipalities directly under the
Central Government and cities divided into districts is five years. The term of office of the people's congresses
of counties, cities not divided into districts, municipal districts, townships, nationality townships and towns is three
years.
Article 99. Local people's congresses at different levels ensure the observance and implementation of the
Constitution, the statutes and the administrative rules and regulations in their respective administrative areas.
Within the limits of their authority as prescribed by law, they adopt and issue resolutions and examine and decide
on plans for local economic and cultural development and for development of public services. Local people's
congresses at and above the county level examine and approve the plans for economic and social development and
the budgets of their respective administrative areas, and examine and approve reports on their implementation.
They have the power to alter or annul inappropriate decisions of their own standing committees. The people's
congresses of nationality townships may, within the limits of their authority as prescribed by law, take specific
measures suited to the peculiarities of the nationalities concerned.
Article 100. The people's congresses of provinces and municipalities directly under the Central Government,
and their standing committees, may adopt local regulations, which must not contravene the Constitution, the
statutes and the administrative rules and regulations, and they shall report such local regulations to the Standing
Committee of the National People's Congress for the record.
Article 101. At their respective levels, local people's congresses elect, and have the power to recall, governors
and deputy governors, or mayors and deputy mayors, or heads and deputy heads of counties, districts,
townships and towns. Local people's congresses at and above the county level elect, and have the power to recall,
presidents of people's courts and chief procurators of people's procuratorates at the corresponding level. The
election or recall of chief procurators of people's procuratorates shall be reported to the chief procurators of the
people's procuratorates at the next higher level for submission to the standing committees of the people's
congresses at the corresponding level for approval.
Article 102. Deputies to the people's congresses of provinces, municipalities, directly under the Central
Government and cities divided into districts are subject to supervision by the units which elected them;
deputies to the people's congresses of counties, cities not divided into districts, municipal districts, townships,
nationality townships and towns are subject to supervision by their constituencies. The electoral units and
constituencies which elect deputies to local people's congresses at different levels have the power, according to
procedures prescribed by law, to recall deputies whom they elected.
Article 103. The standing committee of a local people's congress at and above the county level is composed of
a chairman, vice-chairmen and members, and is responsible, and reports on its work, to the people's congress at
the corresponding level. The local people's congress at and above the county level elects, and has the power to
recall, anyone on the standing committee of the people's congress at the corresponding level. No one on the
standing committee of a local people's congress at and above the county level shall hold any post in state
administrative, judicial and procuratorial organs.
Article 104. The standing committee of a local people's congress at and above the county level discusses and
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decides on major issues in all fields of work in its administrative area; supervises the work of the people's
government, people's court and people's procuratorate at the corresponding level; annuls inappropriate decisions
and orders of the people's government at the corresponding level; annuls inappropriate resolutions of the people's
congress at the next lower level; decides on the appointment and removal of functionaries of state organs within its
jurisdiction as prescribed by law; and, when the people's congress at the corresponding level is not in session,
recalls individual deputies to the people's congress at the next higher level and elects individual deputies to fill
vacancies in that people's congress.
Article 105. Local people's governments at different levels are the executive bodies of local organs of state
power as well as the local organs of state administration at the corresponding level. Local people's governments at
different levels practise the system of overall responsibility by governors, mayors, county heads, district heads,
township heads and town heads.
Article 106. The term of office of local people's governments at different levels is the same as that of the
people's congresses at the corresponding level.
Article 107. Local people's governments at and above the county level, within the limits of their authority as
prescribed by law, conduct the administrative work concerning the economy, education, science, culture,
public health, physical culture, urban and rural development, finance, civil affairs, public security,
nationalities affairs, judicial administration, supervision and family planning in their respective
administrative areas; issue decisions and orders; appoint, remove and train administrative functionaries, appraise
their work and reward or punish them. People's governments of townships, nationality townships and towns carry
out the resolutions of the people's congress at the corresponding level as well as the decisions and orders of the
state administrative organs at the next higher level and conduct administrative work in their respective
administrative areas. People's governments of provinces and municipalities directly under the Central Government
decide on the establishment and geographic division of townships, nationality townships and towns.
Article 108. Local people's governments at and above the county level direct the work of their subordinate
departments and of people's governments at lower levels, and have the power to alter or annul inappropriate
decisions of their subordinate departments and people's governments at lower levels.
Article 109. Auditing bodies are established by local people's governments at and above the county level. Local
auditing bodies at different levels independently exercise their power to supervise through auditing in accordance
with the law and are responsible to the people's government at the corresponding level and to the auditing body at
the next higher level.
Article 110. Local people's governments at different levels are responsible, and report on their work, to
people's congresses at the corresponding level. Local people's governments at and above the county level are
responsible, and report on their work, to the standing committee of the people's congress at the corresponding level
when the congress is not in session. Local people's governments at different levels are responsible, and report on
their work, to the state administrative organs at the next higher level. Local people's governments at different levels
throughout the country are state administrative organs under the unified leadership of the State Council and are
subordinate to it.
Article 111. The residents' committees and villagers' committees established among urban and rural
residents on the basis of their place of residence are mass organizations of self-management at the grass-roots
level. The chairman, vice-chairmen and members of each residents' or villagers' committee are elected by the
residents. The relationship between the residents' and villagers' committees and the grass-roots organs of state
power is prescribed by law. The residents' and villagers' committees establish committees for people's mediation,
public security, public health and other matters in order to manage public affairs and social services in their areas,
mediate civil disputes, help maintain public order and convey residents' opinions and demands and make
suggestions to the people's government.
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SECTION 6. THE ORGANS OF SELF-GOVERNMENT OF NATIONAL AUTONOMOUS AREAS


Article 112. The organs of self-government of national autonomous areas are the people's congresses and
people's governments of autonomous regions, autonomous prefectures and autonomous counties.
Article 113. In the people's congress of an autonomous region, prefecture or county, in addition to the deputies
of the nationality or nationalities exercising regional autonomy in the administrative area, the other nationalities
inhabiting the area are also entitled to appropriate representation. The chairmanship and vice- chairmenships of the
standing committee of the people's congress of an autonomous region, prefecture or county shall include a citizen
or citizens of the nationality or nationalities exercising regional autonomy in the area concerned.
Article 114. The administrative head of an autonomous region, prefecture or county shall be a citizen of the
nationality, or of one of the nationalities, exercising regional autonomy in the area concerned.
Article 115. The organs of self-government of autonomous regions, prefectures and counties exercise the
functions and powers of local organs of state as specified in Section V of Chapter Three of the Constitution.
At the same time, they exercise the right of autonomy within the limits of their authority as prescribed by the
Constitution, the law of regional national autonomy and other laws, and implement the laws and policies of the
state in the light of the existing local situation.
Article 116. People's congresses of national autonomous areas have the power to enact autonomy regulations
and specific regulations in the light of the political, economic and cultural characteristics of the nationality
or nationalities in the areas concerned. The autonomy regulations and specific regulations of autonomous
regions shall be submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress for approval before they
go into effect. Those of autonomous prefectures and counties shall be submitted to the standing committees of the
people's congresses of provinces or autonomous regions for approval before they go into effect, and they shall be
reported to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress for the record.
Article 117. The organs of self-government of the national autonomous areas have the power of autonomy in
administering the finances of their areas. All revenues accruing to the national autonomous areas under the
financial system of the state shall be managed and used independently by the organs of self- government of those
areas.
Article 118. The organs of self-government of the national autonomous areas independently arrange for and
administer local economic development under the guidance of state plans. In developing natural resources and
building enterprises in the national autonomous areas, the state shall give due consideration to the interests of those
areas.
Article 119. The organs of self-government of the national autonomous areas independently administer
educational, scientific, cultural, public health and physical culture affairs in their respective areas, sort out
and protect the cultural legacy of the nationalities and work for the development and prosperity of their cultures.
Article 120. The organs of self-government of the national autonomous areas may, in accordance with the
military system of the state and concrete local needs and with the approval of the State Council, organize
local public security forces for the maintenance of public order.
Article 121. In performing their functions, the organs of self-government of the national autonomous areas,
in accordance with the autonomy regulations of the respective areas, employ the spoken and written language
or languages in common use in the locality.
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Article 122. The state gives financial, material and technical assistance to the minority nationalities to
accelerate their economic and cultural development. The state helps the national autonomous areas train large
numbers of cadres at different levels and specialized personnel and skilled workers of different professions and
trades from among the nationality or nationalities in those areas.

SECTION 7. THE PEOPLE'S COURT AND THE PEOPLE'S PROCURATORATES


Article 123. The people's courts in the People's Republic of China are the judicial organs of the state.
Article 124. The People's Republic of China establishes the Supreme People's Court and the local people's
courts at different levels, military courts and other special people's courts. The term of office of the President of the
Supreme People's Court is the same as that of the National People's Congress; he shall serve no more than two
consecutive terms. The organization of people's courts is prescribed by law.
Article 125. All cases handled by the people's courts, except for those involving special circumstances as
specified by law, shall be heard in public. The accused has the right of defence.
Article 126. The people's courts shall, in accordance with the law, exercise judicial power independently and are
not subject to interference by administrative organs, public organizations or individuals.
Article 127. The Supreme People's Court is the highest judicial organ. The Supreme People's Court supervises
the administration of justice by the local people's courts at different levels and by the special people's courts;
people's courts at higher levels supervise the administration of justice by those at lower levels.
Article 128. The Supreme People's Court is responsible to the National People's Congress and its Standing
Committee. Local people's courts at different levels are responsible to the organs of state power which created
them.
Article 129. The people's procuratorates of the People's Republic of China are state organs for legal
supervision.
Article 130. The People's Republic of China establishes the Supreme People's Procuratorate and the local
people's procuratorates at different levels, military procuratorates and other special people's procuratorates. The
term of office of the Procurator-General of the Supreme People's Procuratorate is the same as that of the National
People's Congress; he shall serve no more than two consecutive terms. The organization of people's procuratorates
is prescribed by law.
Article 131. People's procuratorates shall, in accordance with the law, exercise procuratorial power
independently and are not subject to interference by administrative organs, public organizations or
individuals.
Article 132. The Supreme People's Procuratorate is the highest procuratorial organ. The Supreme People's
Procuratorate directs the work of the local people's procuratorates at different levels and of the special people's
procuratorates; people's procuratorates at higher levels direct the work of those at lower levels.
Article 133. The Supreme People's Procuratorate is responsible to the National People's Congress and its
Standing Committee. Local people's procuratorates at different levels are responsible to the organs of state power
at the corresponding levels which created them and to the people's procuratorates at the higher level. Article 134.
Citizens of all nationalities have the right to use the spoken and written languages of their own nationalities in court
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proceedings. The people's courts and people's procuratorates should provide translation for any party to the court
proceedings who is not familiar with the spoken or written languages in common use in the locality. In an area
where people of a minority nationality live in a compact community or where a number of nationalities live
together, hearings should be conducted in the language or languages in common use in the locality; indictments,
judgments, notices and other documents should be written, according to actual needs, in the language or languages
in common use in the locality.
Article 135. The people's courts, people's procuratorates and public security organs shall, in handling criminal
cases, divide their functions, each taking responsibility for its own work, and they shall co- ordinate their efforts
and check each other to ensure correct and effective enforcement of law.
CHAPTER IV. THE NATIONAL FLAG, THE NATIONAL EMBLEM AND THE CAPITAL
Article 136. The national flag of the People's Republic of China is a red flag with five stars.
Article 137. The national emblem of the People's Republic of China is Tian'anmen in the centre illuminated by five
stars and encircled by ears of grain and a cogwheel.
Article 138. The capital of the People's Republic of China is Beijing.

AMENDENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION


AMENDMENT ONE
(Approved on April 12, 1988, by the 7th NPC at its 1st Session)
1. Article 11 of the Constitution shall include a new paragraph which reads: "The State permits the private sector of
the economy to exist and develop within the limits prescribed by law. The private sector of the economy is a
complement to the socialist public economy. The State protects the lawful rights and interests of the private sector
of the economy, and exercises guidance, supervision and control over the private sector of the economy."
2. The fourth paragraph of Article 10 of the Constitution, which provides that "no organization or individual may
appropriate, buy, sell or lease land or otherwise engage in the transfer of land by unlawful means," shall be
amended as: "no organization or individual may appropriate, buy, sell or otherwise engage in the transfer of land by
unlawful means. The right to the use of land may be transferred according to law."

AMENDMENT TWO
(Approved on March 29, 1993, by the 8th NPC at its 1st Session)
3. The last two sentences of the seventh paragraph of the Preamble which reads "The basic task of the nation in the
years to come is to concentrate its effort on socialist modernization. Under the leadership of the Communist Party
of China and the guidance of Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought, the Chinese people of all nationalities
will continue to adhere to the people's democratic dictatorship and follow the socialist road, steadily improve
socialist institutions, develop socialist democracy, improve the socialist legal system and work hard and selfreliantly to modernize industry, agriculture, national defense and science and technology step by step to turn China
into a socialist country with a high level of culture and democracy," shall be amended as: "China is at the primary
stage of socialism. The basic task of the nation is, according to the theory of building socialism with Chinese
characteristics, to concentrate its effort on socialist modernization. Under the leadership of the Communist Party of
China and the guidance of Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought, the Chinese people of all nationalities

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will continue to adhere to the people's democratic dictatorship and follow the socialist road, persevere in reform
and opening to the outside, steadily improve socialist institutions, develop socialist democracy, improve the
socialist legal system and work hard and self-reliantly to modernize industry, agriculture, national defense and
science and technology step by step to turn China into a socialist country with prosperity and power, democracy
and culture."
4. At the end of the tenth paragraph of the Preamble, add "The system of multi-party cooperation and political
consultation led by the Communist Party of China will exist and develop in China for a long time to come."
5. article 7 which reads "The State economy is the sector of socialist economy under ownership by the whole
people; it is the leading force in the national economy. The State ensures the consolidation and growth of the State
economy," shall be changed to: "The State-owned economy, that is, the socialist economy under ownership by the
whole people, is the leading force in the national economy. The State ensures the consolidation and growth of the
State-owned economy."
6. The first item of Article 8 which reads "Rural people's communes, agricultural producers' cooperatives, and other
forms of cooperative economy such as producers', supply and marketing, credit and consumers' cooperatives,
belong to the sector of socialist economy under collective ownership by the working people. Working people who
are members of rural economic collectives have the right, within the limits prescribed by law, to farm plots of
cropland and hilly land allotted for private use, engage in household sideline production and raise privately-owned
livestock," shall be amended as: "Rural household-based contract responsibility system with remuneration linked to
output, and other forms of cooperative economy such as producers', supply and marketing, credit and consumers'
cooperatives, belong to the sector of socialist economy under collective ownership by the working people. Working
people who are members of rural economic collectives have the right, within the limits prescribed by law, to farm
plots of cropland and hilly land allotted for private use, engage in household sideline production and raise privatelyowned livestock."
7. Article 15 which reads "The State practices economic planning on the basis of socialist public ownership. It
ensures the proportionate and coordinated growth of the national economy through overall balancing by economic
planning and the supplementary role of regulation by the market.
Disturbance of the orderly functioning of the social economy or disruption of the State economic plan by any
organization or individual is prohibited," shall be changed to: "The state has put into practice a socialist market
economy. The State strengthens formulating economic laws, improves macro adjustment and control and forbids
according to law any units or individuals from interfering with the social economic order."
8. Article 16 which reads "State enterprises have decision-making power in operation and management within the
limits prescribed by law, on condition that they submit to unified leadership by the State and fulfil and their
obligations under the State plan.
State enterprises practice democratic management through congresses of workers and staff and in other ways in
accordance with the law," shall be revised as: "Stated-owned enterprises have decision-making power in operation
and management within the limits prescribed by law. State-owned enterprises practice democratic management
through congresses of workers and staff and in other ways in accordance with the law."
9. Article 17 which reads "Collective economic organizations have decision-making power in conducting
independent economic activities, on condition that they accept the guidance of the State plan and abide by the
relevant laws.
Collective economic organizations practice democratic management in accordance with the law, with the entire
body of their workers electing or removing their managerial personnel and deciding on major issues concerning
operation and management", shall be amended as: "Collective economic organizations have decision-making power
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in conducting independent economic activities, on condition that they abide by the relevant laws. Collective
economic organizations practice democratic management, elect or remove their managerial personnel and decide
on major issue concerning operation and management according to law."
10. The their item of Article 42 which reads "Work is the glorious duty of every able-bodied citizen. All working
people in State enterprises and in urban and rural economic collectives should perform their tasks with an attitude
consonant with their status as masters of the country. The State promotes socialist labor emulation, and commends
and rewards model and advanced workers. The state encourages citizens to take part in voluntary labor," shall be
amended as: "Work is the glorious duty of every able-bodied citizen. All working people in State-owned
enterprises and in urban and rural economic collectives should perform their tasks with an attitude consonant with
their status as masters of the country. The State promotes socialist labor emulation, and commends and rewards
model and advanced workers. The State encourages citizens to take part in voluntary labor."
11. Article 98 which reads "The term of office of the people's congresses of provinces, municipalities directly under
the Central Government and cities divided into districts is five years. The term of office of the people's congresses
of countries, cities not divided into districts, municipal districts, townships, nationality townships and towns is
three years," shall be revised as: "The term of office of the people's congresses of provinces, municipalities directly
under the Central Government, counties, cities and municipal districts is five years. The term of office of the
people's congresses of townships, nationality townships and towns is three years."

AMENDMENT THREE
(Approved on March 15, 1999, by the 9th NPC at its 2nd Session)
The original text of paragraph seven in the Preamble of the Constitution is: "Both the victory of China's newdemocratic revolution and the successes of its socialist cause have been achieved by the Chinese people of all
nationalities under the leadership of the Communist Party of China and the guidance of Marxism-Leninism and
Mao Zedong Thought, and by upholding truth, correcting errors and overcoming numerous difficulties and
hardships. China is currently in the primary stage of socialism. The basic task of the nation is to concentrate its
effort on socialist modernization in accordance with the theory of building socialism with Chinese characteristics.
Under the leadership of the Communist Party of China and the guidance of Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong
Thought, the Chinese people of all nationalities will continue to adhere to the people's democratic dictatorship,
follow the socialist road, persist in reform and opening-up, steadily improve socialist institutions, develop socialist
democracy, improve the socialist legal system and work hard and self-reliantly to modernize industry, agriculture,
national defense and science and technology step by step to turn China into a powerful and prosperous socialist
country with a high level of culture and democracy."
It is revised into: "Both the victory of China's new-democratic revolution and the successes of its socialist cause
have been achieved by the Chinese people of all nationalities under the leadership of the Communist Party of China
and the guidance of Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought, and by upholding truth, correcting errors and
overcoming numerous difficulties and hardships. China will stay in the primary stage of socialism for a long period
of time. The basic task of the nation is to concentrate its efforts on socialist modernization by following the road of
building socialism with Chinese characteristics. Under the leadership of the Communist Party of China and the
guidance of Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Chinese people of all
nationalities will continue to adhere to the people's democratic dictatorship, follow the socialist road, persist in
reform and opening-up, steadily improve socialist institutions, develop a socialist market economy, advance
socialist democracy, improve the socialist legal system and work hard and self-reliantly to modernize industry,
agriculture, national defense and science and technology step by step to turn China into a powerful and prosperous
socialist country with a high level of culture and democracy."
One section is added to Article Five of the Constitution as the first section: "The People's Republic of China
practices ruling the country in accordance with the law and building a socialist country of law."

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The original text of Article Six of the Constitution is: "The basis of the socialist economic system of the People's
Republic of China is socialist public ownership of the means of production, namely, ownership by the whole
people and collective ownership by the working people." "The system of socialist public ownership supersedes the
system of exploitation of man by man; it applies the principle of 'from each according to his ability, to each
according to his work'."
It is revised into:"The basis of the socialist economic system of the People's Republic of China is socialist public
ownership of the means of production, namely, ownership by the whole people and collective ownership by the
working people. The system of socialist public ownership supersedes the system of exploitation of man by man; it
applies the principle of 'from each according to his ability, to each according to his work'." "During the primary
stage of socialism, the State adheres to the basic economic system with the public ownership remaining dominant
and diverse sectors of the economy developing side by side, and to the distribution system with the distribution
according to work remaining dominant and the coexistence of a variety of modes of distribution."
The original text of the first section in Article Eight of the Constitution is:"The rural household-based outputrelated contracted responsibility system and other forms of the cooperative economy such as producers', supply and
marketing, credit and consumers' cooperatives belong to the sector of the socialist economy under collective
ownership by the working people. Working people who are members of rural economic collectives have the right,
within the limits prescribed by law, to farm plots of cropland and hilly land allotted for private use, engage in
household sideline production and raise privately owned livestock."
It is revised into:"Rural collective economic organizations practice the double-tier management system that
combines unified and separate operations on the basis of the household-based output-related contracted
responsibility system. Various forms of the cooperative economy in rural areas such as producers', supply and
marketing, credit and consumers' cooperatives belong to the sector of the socialist economy under collective
ownership by the working people.
Working people who are members of rural economic collectives have the right, within the limits prescribed by law,
to farm plots of cropland and hilly land allotted for private use, engage in household sideline production and raise
privately owned livestock."
The original text of Article 11 of the Constitution is: "The individual economy of urban and rural working people,
operating within the limits prescribed by law, is a complement to the socialist public economy. The State protects
the lawful rights and interests of the individual economy." "The State guides, helps and supervises the individual
economy by exercising administrative control." "The State permits the private economy to exist and develop within
the limits prescribed by law. The private economy is a complement to the socialist public economy. The State
protects the lawful rights and interests of the private economy, and guides, supervises and administers the private
economy."
It is revised into: "Individual, private and other non-public economies that exist within the limits prescribed by law
are major components of the socialist market economy." "The State protects the lawful rights and interests of
individual and private economies, and guides, supervises and administers individual and private economies."
The original text of Article 28 of the Constitution is: "The State maintains public order and suppresses treasonable
and other counter-revolutionary activities; it penalizes actions that endanger public security and disrupt the socialist
economy and other criminal activities, and punishes and reforms criminals."
It is revised into: "The State maintains public order and suppresses treasonable and other criminal activities that
endanger State security; it penalizes actions that endanger public security and disrupt the socialist economy and
other criminal activities, and punishes and reforms criminals.

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CONSTITUTION OF THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA

AMENDMENT FOURTH
(Approved on March 14, 2004, by the 10th NPC at its 2nd Session)
1 "... along the road of building socialism with Chinese characteristics..." and "...under the guidance of MarxismLeninism, Mao Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping Theory..."
Revised to: "... along the road of Chinese-style socialism..." and "...under the guidance of Marxism-Leninism, Mao
Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of 'Three Represents'..."
2 Seventh paragraph of the Preamble: After "... to modernize the industry, agriculture, national defence and science
and technology step by step..."
Is added: "... promote the co-ordinated development of the material, political and spiritual civilizations..."
3 The second sentence of the 10th paragraph of the Preamble: "In the long years of revolution and construction,
there has been formed under the leadership of the Communist Party of China a broad patriotic united front that is
composed of the democratic parties and people's organizations and embraces all socialist working people, all
patriots who support socialism, and all patriots who stand for the reunification of the motherland. This united front
will continue to be consolidated and developed."
After "... a broad patriotic united front that is composed of the democratic parties and people's organizations and
embraces all socialist working people..." is added "... all builders of socialism, ..."
4 Third paragraph of Article 10: "The State may, in the public interest, requisition land for its use in accordance
with the law."
Revised to: "The State may, in the public interest and in accordance with the provisions of law, expropriate or
requisition land for its use and shall make compensation for the land expropriated or requisitioned."
5 Second paragraph of Article 11:"The State protects the lawful rights and interests of the individual and private
sectors of the economy, and exercises guidance, supervision and control over individual and the private sectors of
the economy."
Revised to: "The State protects the lawful rights and interests of the non-public sectors of the economy such as the
individual and private sectors of the economy. The State encourages, supports and guides the development of the
non-public sectors of the economy and, in accordance with law, exercises supervision and control over the nonpublic sectors of the economy."
6 Article 13: "The State protects the right of citizens to own lawfully earned income, savings, houses and other
lawful property." and "The State protects according to law the right of citizens to inherit private property."
Revised to: "Citizens' lawful private property is inviolable" and "The State, in accordance with law, protects the
rights of citizens to private property and to its inheritance" and "The State may, in the public interest and in
accordance with law, expropriate or requisition private property for its use and shall make compensation for the
private property expropriated or requisitioned."
7 Article 14 has a fourth paragraph added: "The State establishes a sound social security system compatible with
the level of economic development."
8 Article 33 has a third paragraph added: "The State respects and preserves human rights."
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CONSTITUTION OF THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA

9 The first paragraph of Article 59 is revised to: "The National People's Congress is composed of deputies elected
from the provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government and of deputies
elected from the armed forces. All the minority nationalities are entitled to appropriate representation."
Revised to: "The National People's Congress is composed of deputies elected from the provinces, autonomous
regions, municipalities directly under the Central Government, and the special administrative regions, and of
deputies elected from the armed forces. All the minority nationalities are entitled to appropriate representation."
10 On "State of Emergency"
Subparagraph 20 of Article 67: "... to decide on the imposition of martial law throughout the country or in
particular provinces, autonomous regions, or municipalities directly under the Central Government."
Revised to: "... to decide on entering the state of emergency throughout the country or in particular provinces,
autonomous regions, or municipalities directly under the Central Government."
Article 80: "The President of the People's Republic of China ... proclaims martial law, ..."
Revised to: "... proclaims entering of the state of emergency, ..."
Subparagraph 16 of Article 89: "... to decide on the imposition of martial law in parts of provinces, autonomous
regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government..."
Revised to: "... in accordance with the provisions of law, to decide on entering the state of emergency in parts of
provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the Central Government..."
11 Article 81: "The President of the People's Republic of China receives foreign diplomatic representatives on
behalf of the People's Republic of China."
Revised to: "The President of the People's Republic of China, on behalf of the People's Republic of China, engages
in activities involving State affairs and receives foreign diplomatic representatives."
12 Article 98: "The term of office of people's congresses of provinces, municipalities directly under the Central
Government, counties, cities and municipal districts is five years. The term of office of the people's congresses of
townships, nationality townships and towns is three years."
Revised to: "The term of office of the local people's congresses at various levels is five years."
13 Provision on the National Anthem:
Title of Chapter IV: "The National Flag, the National Emblem and the Capital"
Revised to: "The National Flag, the National Anthem, the National Emblem and the Capital"
Article 136 has a second paragraph added: "The National Anthem of the People's Republic of China is the March of
the Volunteers." (Updated on March 22, 2004)

Copyright by People's Daily Online, All rights reserved

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