Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law

Chinese Constitutionalism

Professor Randy Peerenboom has an important article now available on SSRN regarding Chinese constitutionalism. It’s called “The Social Foundations of China’s Living Constitution.” The URL is:’s the abstract:

The article examines the social foundations of constitutionalism in China, focusing on constitutions as a historical response to particular events. The goal is to move beyond an analysis of the constitution as a formal text to shed light on the de facto constitutional order in China, on China’s living constitution and its social, historical, cultural, economic, political and legal foundations. Part I begins with a brief historical overview of China’s constitutions. Parts II discusses the current constitution, passed in 1982, and its four subsequent amendments. Part III explores the main functions of the constitution in China today and how the constitutional order actually operates. Part IV discusses China’s living constitution. Part V concludes with some thoughts about the future of constitutionalism in China, and the possibility of a party-state alternative to liberal democratic constitutionalism.

Professor Larry Cata Backer also published a fascinating article on SSRN within the last two years discussing how the Chinese communist party’s internal processes can be viewed as a kind of constitutional system.


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