The Road to the Rule of Law in Modern China


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Judging Statutes. Robert A. The Rule of Law in Comparative Perspective. Mortimer Sellers.


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Making British Law. Louise Thompson. Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights. The United States Constitution. The Scepter of Reason. Eva Steiner. The Right to Be Punished. Gabriel Hallevy. Rational Lawmaking under Review. Legal Indeterminacy and Constitutional Interpretation. Global Constitutionalism.

CCCH – The Rule of Law in Modern China – HKU Common Core Curriculum

Aydin Atilgan. Making Good Law or Good Policy? Raymond V. Non-State Justice Institutions and the Law. An Approach to Rights. Emily Hartz. A History of Western Public Law. Bruno Aguilera-Barchet.

Democratizing Constitutional Law. Thomas Bustamante. Global Perspectives on Subsidiarity. Michelle Evans. Democracy and Constitutionalism in India. Sudhir Krishnaswamy. The Modern Idea of the State. Law and Reflexive Politics. The Invisible Origins of Legal Positivism. Normative Plurality in International Law.

The Road to the Rule of Law in Modern China

Commitment and Cooperation on High Courts. Andrew J. Harvard Law Review. Recognition of Foreign Administrative Acts. Impossibility in Modern Private Law. Mireille Hildebrandt. If liberalism does not study how a modern political entity is truly created, how it evolves, how its contents are structured, the nature of its legitimacy, the connections between the center and the localities, the rights and powers of the individual and the citizen compared to those of the state, the electoral system, the representative system, and the question of the sovereign powers of the country in comparison with other countries, then this liberalism serves only to criticize governments that do not achieve liberal ideals.

The situation on Taiwan is not much different. Yin Haiguang was basically just a critic, which is more or less like the situation of liberals in China now. He criticized the authoritarian rule of the GMD, and on the mainland liberals critique the current model of rule. But the theories they share are the basic values of contemporary Western liberalism.

In sum, in the century-long intellectual tradition of Chinese liberalism, no one has given serious thought to the question of building a modern political community and its institutions, what I call simply the question of state-building.

Gao Quanxi, "Political Maturity"

We lack serious, systematic thought and research on this topic, and thus we have not produced our own body of state theory. But what is the state? Early liberalism had its body of theory, to which were added many others, a topic I will not address here. As I see it, there are three and a half modern Chinas. The traditional China of the Ming-Qing period was a multi-ethnic empire. Why do I talk about three and a half modern Chinas? The Qing emperor abdicated to make way for a future constitutional republic, which only took shape after Yuan Shikai became president in Beijing.

This was the first China. Yet this China was not a completely sovereign state, because there remained the Republic of China on Taiwan. The new constitution has since been revised four times, and at present we are beginning to consider the possibility of genuine reform of the political system. We can say that great changes have occurred when compared to the original system, but the changes are still ongoing, and are at a crisis stage.

From a logical point of view, these two modern Chinas have experienced their own changes. Of course we call for peaceful changes, but the story is not over yet. There is not yet an answer to this question; it is not resolved at the constitutional level, nor at the level of political identity, nor at the level of culture.

In terms of political identity, can we say that Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the mainland, or even Mongolia, Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang, already within China, share a conscious political identity and constitutional understanding? These are questions of state-building. Chinese liberalism is still not clear on what a modern state really is.

When extraordinary politics encounters a crisis, can one find or create a mechanism to effectively traverse the crisis and restore things to normal—and what would the mechanism be? In fact, this has a lot do with the current state of affairs in China. In the absence of a crisis, society does not change, but how it changes after a crisis raises many questions.

These are the basic questions examined by political science and constitutional studies. In my view, if liberalism wants to achieve political maturity, it must think seriously about these questions.


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Liberalism is an abstraction. What is liberalism?

The liberalism promoted in a certain country, in a certain region, at a certain period, by certain people is not decided by heaven.

The Road to the Rule of Law in Modern China The Road to the Rule of Law in Modern China
The Road to the Rule of Law in Modern China The Road to the Rule of Law in Modern China
The Road to the Rule of Law in Modern China The Road to the Rule of Law in Modern China
The Road to the Rule of Law in Modern China The Road to the Rule of Law in Modern China
The Road to the Rule of Law in Modern China The Road to the Rule of Law in Modern China

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