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Yaxue Cao, March 20, 2018     Li Baiguang (李柏光), a human rights lawyer, died on February 26, aged 49. Li Baiguang, born on October 1, 1968, was the youngest of seven children in a tiny mountain village household in Jiahe county, Chenzhou, Hunan. His father died when he was seven years old. The family was impoverished. When Li reached school age, his playmates went to school, but he had to stay home another year and help his mother with chores. One day, after he herded the ducks back home, Li went to the school, leant on the window, and saw his friends all studying. He returned home and told his mother through tears: “If you don’t let me go to school, I’ll hack our […]


China Change, February 28, 2018       We don’t know what Xi Jinping was expecting when the proposed removal of the term limit for state chairman was announced on February 25 — but he was wrong if he was expecting that the news would be received like a beam of light from the sky, eliciting awe and relief, as depicted in a recent CCTV propaganda video glorifying Xi as the father figure of the people and the country. Xi and his loyalists seem to have been stung by the shock and ridicule — and sometimes the pointed silence — coming from Chinese social media. The censors clamped down fast and heavily. An explainer in People’s Daily a few hours after the announcement summarized ten […]


Mo Zhixu, February 27, 2018   On February 26, China’s official news agency Xinhua published the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee’s Proposed Amendments to China’s constitution (Chinese). The Party proposed revising the clause “The term of office of the Chairman (国家主席) and Vice-Chairman 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” to “The term of office of the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the People’s Republic of China is the same as that of the National People’s Congress.” During the Party’s 19th congress in November, 2017, no one in the new politburo standing committee appeared to be the potential successor of Xi Jinping, as Hu Jintao was to […]


February 16, 2017     Torture has long been a chronic disease plaguing China’s judicial system. It is not only that nearly every case of judicial injustice in China is attended by torture, but that torture is much more widely applied than merely as a means of extracting a confession during the criminal investigation process. It’s often used as a form of humiliation, a torment of the flesh and the spirit simultaneously, with an array of methods that are unrestrained and completely unscrupulous. The goal is to have the captive or internee surrender their minds to the authorities, and so prisons and extra-judicial detention facilities — like Legal Education Bases (or centers), brainwashing classes, and shuanggui facilities — make widespread use of torture. Torture aimed […]


By Bruce Lui, published December 4, 2015   The Chinese Communist Party marked the anniversary of its inaugural “National Constitution Day” on December 4 with more action than words: workers’ rights NGOs were raided and activists detained; the author of “A History of Brainwashing” was sentenced to nearly two years in prison; and a book on constitutionalism disappeared from stores. The People’s Daily frontpage, meanwhile, seemed to suggest China is now a one-man show… — The Editors     December 4, 2015, is China’s second National Constitution Day (國家憲法日)—a day that was announced with much fanfare for the first time last year. As of 5 p.m. Beijing time [as this article was written], there is not a single word about it on the homepage of […]


By Wang Mo, published: November 22, 2015 On October 3, 2014, Chinese activists Xie Wenfei (谢文飞, a.k.a. Xie Fengxia 谢丰夏), and Wang Mo (王默, real name Zhang Shengyu 张圣雨) held banners in the streets of Guangzhou, expressing support for the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong. They were arrested the same evening and indicted on May 12, 2015, for “inciting subversion of state power.” On Nov. 19, Wang Mo was tried in a Guangzhou court (Zhang had been tried separately a week earlier.) Verdicts in both trials are pending. Following is an abbreviated translation of Wang Mo’s defense. The translation remains unauthorized because permission could not be secured from the writer. – The Editors   Decades ago Chinese Communist Party, crying slogans about opposing corruption, opposing […]


By 78 Chinese Scholars, Journalists and Lawyers, published: January 22, 2014   The National People’s Congress, Constitutional supremacy is the foundation of modern states. As the highest law of the land, it should not exist just as a text; it must be enforced in judicial practices. By the same token, for the Constitution to uphold its authority, it must not look away from laws, regulations and acts that violate the Constitution. When the Constitution promises basic human rights and freedoms for citizens, it shall not indulge the continuous existence of any law or regulation that transgresses these rights and freedoms.    Article 5 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China stipulates, “No laws or administrative or local rules and regulations may contravene the […]


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