Journal Article

Constitutionalism with Chinese characteristics? Constitutional development and civil litigation in China

Thomas E. Kellogg

in International Journal of Constitutional Law

Published on behalf of The New York University School of Law

Volume 7, issue 2, pages 215-246
Published in print April 2009 | ISSN: 1474-2640
Published online March 2009 | e-ISSN: 1474-2659 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/icon/mop001
Constitutionalism with Chinese characteristics? Constitutional development and civil litigation in China

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For decades, the Chinese Constitution has been thought to lie outside judicial purview, as its basic rights provisions have been more or less ignored. For that reason, many outside observers have assumed that constitutional development in China is at a standstill. Nonetheless, in recent years, a number of Chinese lawyers, academics, and activists—pushing for a more active judicial role—have been challenging standard assumptions about the Chinese Constitution. Taking antidiscrimination litigation as a key example, this article describes the impetus inside China for constitutional development and delineates the state's response. While state actors often ignore constitutional claims publicly, they may still respond to the underlying substantive issues raised by would-be reformers. The author argues that, although such efforts have had limited impact on the formal constitutional structure, nevertheless, they have had a positive effect on the public's rights consciousness.

Journal Article.  14520 words. 

Subjects: Constitutional and Administrative Law ; UK Politics

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