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« Han Feizi on why Xi Jinping must destroy Bo Xilai | Main | How Bo Xilai might emerge as a Latter Day Confucian Hero »

August 20, 2013


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I think you (and others) need to be more careful in distinguishing general calls for constitutionalism in China (which are all over Weibo, etc) from calls for 'Western constitutional democracy' (which are not so common). These are not by any means necessarily the same. Respecting China's constitution and implementing the rule of law need not necessarily be equated with introducing multi-party Western democracy.

Of course, it's equally in the Party's (or rather its corrupt members') interest to equate these two, giving them an excuse not to introduce any constitutional safeguards, improve the rule of law, etc, by claiming any such ideas simply represent 'Western democracy', and should thus be rejected. They've clearly been attempting to confuse the two claims recently, however it would be nice if the Party's critics could try not to justify this attempt by themselves equating the two. Making the rule of law and constitutionalism into explicitly Confucian (and hence 'Chinese') ideas seems like it might be a good way to proceed.

"But I want to take the conversation is a different direction"

Please change "is" to "in"

Typo fixed, thanks...

As to the distinction between constitutionalism and "Western constitutional democracy," I completely agree with you. There can be many forms of constitutionalism; indeed, in the "West" there are many forms of constitutionalism (compare US and UK...). But, as you say, politically in the PRC the Party has effectively equated any discussion of constitutionalism with "Western constitutional democracy." It's old school Leninism....

Also, I do not mean to reduce constitutionalism to Confucianism. But it is true that some Confucians have come to realize that constitutional guarantees of certain rights, which exist in the current PRC constitution, are very much in their interest.

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