The Constitution of the People's Republic of China is nominally the supreme law within the People's Republic of China. The current version was adopted by the 5th National People's Congress on December 4, 1982, with further revisions in 1988, 1993, 1999, 2004 and 2018. Three previous state constitutions—those of 1954, 1975, and 1978—were superseded in turn.
The Constitution is divided into five sections. They are the:
|Constitution of the|
People's Republic of China
Cover of the 1978 constitution
|Jurisdiction||People's Republic of China (including Hong Kong and Macau)|
|Ratified||December 4, 1982|
|Date effective||December 4, 1982|
single-party socialist republic
|Branches||Six (Legislative, Executive, Military, Supervisory, Judicial, Procuratorial)|
|Head of state||President|
|Chambers||Unicameral (National People's Congress)|
Owing to the NPC's large size and infrequent meetings, the De facto legislature is its Standing Committee
|Executive||Premier led State Council|
|Judiciary||Supreme People's Court|
Supreme People's Procuratorate
|Federalism||Unitary with special administrative regions|
|Electoral college||Yes – the National People's Congress, which is elects all other state authorities, is itself elected by two layers of Indirect election: County and Township People's Congresses elect the members of Provincial People's Congresses, who in turn elect the NPC deputies.|
|First legislature||September 21, 1949 (Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference)|
September 27, 1954 (National People's Congress)
|First executive||September 27, 1954 (Chairman)|
October 1, 1949 (Premier)
|First court||October 22, 1949|
|Last amended||11 March 2018|
|Commissioned by||11th Communist Party Central Committee|
|Supersedes||1978 Constitution of the People's Republic of China|
|Constitution of the People's Republic of China|
The first Constitution of the People's Republic of China was declared in 1954. After two intervening versions enacted in 1975 and 1978, the current Constitution was declared in 1982. There were significant differences between each of these versions, and the 1982 Constitution has subsequently been amended five times. In addition, changing Constitutional conventions have led to significant changes in the structure of Chinese government in the absence of changes in the text of the Constitution.
The 1982 Constitution reflects Deng Xiaoping's determination to lay a lasting institutional foundation for domestic stability and modernization. The new State Constitution provides a legal basis for the broad changes in China's social and economic institutions and significantly revises government structure. The posts of President and Vice President (which were abolished in the 1975 and 1978 constitutions) are re-established in the 1982 Constitution.
There have been five major revisions by the National People's Congress (NPC) to the 1982 Constitution.
Much of the PRC Constitution is modelled after the 1936 Constitution of the Soviet Union, but there are some significant differences. For example, while the Soviet constitution contains an explicit right of secession, the Chinese constitution explicitly forbids secession. While the Soviet constitution formally creates a federal system, the Chinese constitution formally creates a unitary multi-national state.
The 1982 State Constitution is a lengthy, hybrid document with 138 articles. Large sections were adapted directly from the 1978 constitution, but many of its changes derive from the 1954 constitution. Specifically, the new Constitution de-emphasizes class struggle and places top priority on development and on incorporating the contributions and interests of non-party groups that can play a central role in modernization.
Article 1 of the State Constitution describes China as "a socialist state under the people's democratic dictatorship" meaning that the system is based on an alliance of the working classes—in communist terminology, the workers and peasants—and is led by the Communist Party, the vanguard of the working class. Elsewhere, the Constitution provides for a renewed and vital role for the groups that make up that basic alliance—the CPPCC, democratic parties, and mass organizations.
The 1982 Constitution expunges almost all of the rhetoric associated with the Cultural Revolution incorporated in the 1978 version. In fact, the Constitution omits all references to the Cultural Revolution and restates Chairman Mao Zedong's contributions in accordance with a major historical reassessment produced in June 1981 at the Sixth Plenum of the Eleventh Central Committee, the "Resolution on Some Historical Issues of the Party since the Founding of the People's Republic." 
Emphasis is also placed throughout the 1982 State Constitution on socialist law as a regulator of political behaviour. Unlike the 1977 Soviet Constitution, the text of the Constitution itself doesn't explicitly mention the Communist Party of China and there is an explicit statement in Article 5 that the Constitution and law are supreme over all organizations and individuals.
Thus, the rights and obligations of citizens are set out in detail far exceeding that provided in the 1978 constitution. Probably because of the excesses that filled the years of the Cultural Revolution, the 1982 Constitution gives even greater attention to clarifying citizens' "fundamental rights and duties" than the 1954 constitution did, like the right to vote and to run for election begins at the age of eighteen except for those disenfranchised by law. The Constitution also guarantees the freedom of religious worship as well as the "freedom not to believe in any religion" and affirms that "religious bodies and religious affairs are not subject to any foreign domination."
Article 35 of the 1982 State Constitution proclaims that "citizens of the People's Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession, and of demonstration." In the 1978 constitution, these rights were guaranteed, but so were the right to strike and the "four big rights", often called the "four bigs": to speak out freely, air views fully, hold great debates, and write big-character posters. In February 1980, following the Democracy Wall period, the four bigs were abolished in response to a party decision ratified by the National People's Congress. The right to strike was also dropped from the 1982 Constitution. The widespread expression of the four big rights during the student protests of late 1986 elicited the regime's strong censure because of their illegality. The official response cited Article 53 of the 1982 Constitution, which states that citizens must abide by the law and observe labor discipline and public order. Besides being illegal, practising the four big rights offered the possibility of straying into criticism of the Communist Party of China, which was in fact what appeared in student wall posters. In a new era that strove for political stability and economic development, party leaders considered the four big rights politically destabilizing. Chinese citizens are prohibited from forming new political parties.
Among the political rights granted by the constitution, all Chinese citizens have rights to elect and be elected. According to the later promulgated election law, rural residents had only 1/4 vote power of townsmen (formerly 1/8). As Chinese citizens are categorized into rural resident and town resident, and the constitution has no stipulation of freedom of transference, those rural residents are restricted by the Hukou (registered permanent residence) and have fewer political, economic, and educational rights. This problem has largely been addressed with various and ongoing reforms of Hukou in 2007. The fore-said ratio of vote power has been readjusted to 1:1 by an amendment to the election law passed in March 2010.
The 1982 State Constitution is also more specific about the responsibilities and functions of offices and organs in the state structure. There are clear admonitions against familiar Chinese practices that the reformers have labelled abuses, such as concentrating power in the hands of a few leaders and permitting lifelong tenure in leadership positions. On the other hand, the constitution strongly oppose the western system of separation of powers by executive, legislature and judicial. It stipulates the NPC as the highest organ of state authority power, under which the State Council, the Supreme People's Court, and the Supreme People's Procuratorate shall be elected and responsible for the NPC.
In addition, the 1982 Constitution provides an extensive legal framework for the liberalizing economic policies of the 1980s. It allows the collective economic sector not owned by the state a broader role and provides for limited private economic activity. Members of the expanded rural collectives have the right "to farm private plots, engage in household sideline production, and raise privately owned livestock." The primary emphasis is given to expanding the national economy, which is to be accomplished by balancing centralized economic planning with supplementary regulation by the market.
Another key difference between the 1978 and 1982 state constitutions is the latter's approach to outside help for the modernization program. Whereas the 1978 constitution stressed "self-reliance" in modernization efforts, the 1982 document provides the constitutional basis for the considerable body of laws passed by the NPC in subsequent years permitting and encouraging extensive foreign participation in all aspects of the economy. In addition, the 1982 document reflects the more flexible and less ideological orientation of foreign policy since 1978. Such phrases as "proletarian internationalism" and "social imperialism" have been dropped.
The Constitution was amended on March 14, 2004 to include guarantees regarding private property ("legally obtained private property of the citizens shall not be violated,") and human rights ("the State respects and protects human rights.") This was argued by the government to be progress for Chinese democracy and a sign from Communist Party of China that they recognised the need for change, because the booming Chinese economy had created a wealthy new middle class who wanted protection of their own property.
Premier Wen Jiabao was quoted by The Washington Post as saying, "These amendments of the Chinese constitution are of great importance to the development of China." "We will make serious efforts to carry them out in practice.
The Constitution was amended on March 11, 2018, with 2,958 votes in favour, two against, and three abstentions. It includes an assortment of revisions to further cement the Communist Party’s control and supremacy; setting up the National Supervisory Commission, a new anti-graft agency, to extend the powers of the Communist Party’s graft watchdog; adding Hu Jintao's Scientific Outlook on Development and Xi Jinping Thought to the Preamble of the Constitution, and removing term limits for both the President and Vice President. The article 36 for the first time writes the phrase “Communist Party of China”—and its “leadership”—into the main body of the Constitution. Before this, the CCP and its leadership was only mentioned in the preamble. If the preamble is considered to have no legal force, this article for the first time constitutionalizes China’s status as a one-party state, and will render any competitive multi-party system unconstitutional.
The National People's Congress Constitution and Law Committee is responsible for constitutional review and the enforcement of the Chinese constitution under National People's Congress and its Standing Committee, and the constitution stipulates that the National People's Congress and its Standing Committee have the power to review whether laws or activities violate the constitution.
Furthermore, under the legal system of the People's Republic of China, courts do not have the general power of judicial review and cannot invalidate a statute on the grounds that it violates the constitution. Nonetheless, since 2002, there has been a special committee of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress which has reviewed laws and regulations for constitutionality. Although this committee has not yet explicitly ruled that a law or regulation is unconstitutional, in one case, after the subsequent media outcry over the death of Sun Zhigang , the State Council was forced to rescind regulations allowing police to detain persons without residency permits after the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC) made it clear that it would rule such regulations unconstitutional if they were not rescinded.
The Open Constitution Initiative was an organization consisting of lawyers and academics in the People's Republic of China that advocated the rule of law and greater constitutional protections. It was shut down by the government on July 14, 2009.
In early 2013, a movement developed among reformers in China based on enforcing the provisions of the constitution.
The 1954 Constitution of the People's Republic of China was adopted and enacted on September 20, 1954, through the first session of the First National People’s Congress in Beijing.1975 Constitution of the People's Republic of China
The 1975 Constitution of the People's Republic of China was promulgated by the 4th National People's Congress. The offices of President and Vice-President were officially scrapped under the Constitution.
This Constitution reduced the total number of articles to just around thirty, compared to 106 of articles in the 1954 Constitution of the People's Republic of China.
The 1975 Constitution witnessed an integration (in part) of the State Constitution (the PRC Constitution) and the Chinese Communist Party. The Constitution states that the People's Liberation Army, the armed services of the PRC, is to be controlled by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and Chairman of the Communist Party of China. Such linkage between party and state would no longer be seen in later Constitutions, particularly after 1982. The most significant link, however, came in Article 2, which stated that the Chinese Communist Party was the leading force of the Chinese people.
The 1975 Constitution remained in effect for about three years, the shortest-lived constitution in the People's Republic of China's history.1978 Constitution of the People's Republic of China
The 1978 Constitution of the People's Republic of China was promulgated in 1978. This was the PRC's 3rd constitution, and was adopted at the 1st Meeting of the 5th National People's Congress on March 5, 1978, two years after the downfall of the Gang of Four.
The number of articles grew from the 1975 Constitution's 30 articles to double the amount. The courts and the procurates, which were minimised or dumped altogether in the 1975 Constitution of the People's Republic of China, were somewhat restored. A number of checks and balances present in the 1954 Constitution, including term limits for party leaders, elections and more independence in the judiciary, were restored.The 1978 Constitution was the first Constitution in the PRC to touch explicitly on the political status of Taiwan. It said that "Taiwan is part of China" and said that the PRC "must liberate Taiwan, and finish the great task of reunifying the motherland". However, in 1979, the PRC dropped the liberation stance and opted for peaceful reunification instead. Notice the usage of the word "China" in the 1978 Constitution; the 1982 Constitution mentioned that "Taiwan is a sacred part of the territory of the People's Republic of China" instead of just "China".
Citizen rights were also reinstated somewhat. The right to strike was still present, although it would be removed in the 1982 Constitution. However, the required support for the leadership of the Communist Party of China and the socialist system remained as part of citizens' duties.
However, the Constitution still suffered from the backdrop of the just-gone-by Cultural Revolution. Revolutionary language was still persistent (such as "Revolutionary Committees"), although the slogans were gone. The 1978 Constitution survived for four years before being superseded by the current (1982) Constitution of the People's Republic of China during the Deng Xiaoping era.
In addition to inheriting some fundamental principles from the 1954 Constitution, the 1978 Constitution officially included the Four Modernizations policy with an emphasis on socialist democracy, scientific and educational development. It also mandated in the preamble part that China must "be constructed into a great, powerful, modern socialist country in agriculture, industry, national defense, science and technology within the century".5th National People's Congress
The 5th National People's Congress (simplified Chinese: 第五届全国人民代表大会; traditional Chinese: 第五屆全國人民代表大會; pinyin: Dìwǔ Jiè Quánguó Rénmín Dàibiǎo Dàhuì) was in session from 1978 to 1983. It succeeded the 4th National People's Congress. It held five plenary sessions in this period.
The Congress passed the 1978 Constitution of the People's Republic of China and the current Constitution of the People's Republic of China in 1982.Ambassadors of China
This article contains several lists of ambassadors from the People's Republic of China (PRC, "China"). The incumbents change from time to time; sometimes a post starts or stops being temporarily headed by a lower ranking diplomat. Occasionally, a post is created or abolished.
In accordance with articles 67 and 81 of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China, ambassadors are selected by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress and officially appointed by the President of the People's Republic of China.Autonomous prefecture
Autonomous prefectures (Chinese: 自治州; pinyin: Zìzhìzhōu) are one type of autonomous administrative divisions of China, existing at the prefectural level, with either ethnic minorities forming over 50% of the population or being the historic home of significant minorities. All autonomous prefectures are mostly dominated, in population, by the Han Chinese. The official name of an autonomous prefecture includes the most dominant minority in that region, sometimes two, rarely three. For example, a Kazakh (Kazak in official naming system) prefecture may be called Kazak Zizhizhou. Like all other prefectural level divisions, autonomous prefectures are divided into county level divisions. There is one exception: Ili Kazak Autonomous Prefecture contains two prefectures of its own. Under the Constitution of the People's Republic of China, autonomous prefectures cannot be abolished.Chairman of the Central Military Commission
The Chairman of the Central Military Commission (Chinese: 中央军事委员会主席) is the head of the Central Military Commission of China (CMC) and thereby the commander-in-chief of the People's Liberation Army. The officeholder is usually General Secretary of the Communist Party of China or Chairman of the Communist Party of China.
According to Chapter 3, Section 4 of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China, "The Central Military Commission of the People's Republic of China directs the armed forces of the country. The Central Military Commission is composed of the following: The Chairman; The Vice-Chairmen; and Members". The term of office of the Central Military Commission is the same as that of the National People's Congress. Two people currently serve as Vice-Chairmen.
The CMC Chairman is the supreme commander of the world's largest military forces, People's Liberation Army, People's Armed Police and People's Liberation Army militia. Furthermore, the officeholder is vested with the command authority over the nuclear arsenals.
According to the principle of "Party Commands the Gun", the officeholder of this post would also assume the responsibility of the state counterpart.China National Democratic Construction Association
The China National Democratic Construction Association (Chinese: 中国民主建国会) (CNDCA), also China Democratic National Construction Association (CDNCA), also known by its Chinese abbreviation Minjian (民建), is one of the eight legally recognised political parties in the People's Republic of China that follow the direction of the Communist Party of China and are members of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. It was founded in Chongqing in 1945 by the Vocational Education Society, a former member of the China Democratic League.
Its vice chairperson Rong Yiren served as the third Vice President of China under the 4th Constitution of the People's Republic of China from 1993 to 1998.
Members are chiefly entrepreneurs from the manufacturing, financial, or commercial industries in both private and state sectors. The chairman of CDNCA is Chen Changzhi (陈昌智), the former vice-minister of the Ministry of Supervision.Constitution of China (disambiguation)
Constitution of China may refer to:
Constitution of the People's Republic of China (1982)
1954 Constitution of the People's Republic of China
1975 Constitution of the People's Republic of China
1978 Constitution of the People's Republic of China
Constitution of the Republic of China (1947)
Provisional Constitution of the Republic of China (1912)
1923 Constitution of the Republic of China
Provisional Constitution of the Political Tutelage Period (1931)
Constitution of Qing
Principles of the Constitution (1908)
Nineteen Creeds(1911)Constitutional history of the People's Republic of China
The Constitutional history of the People's Republic of China describes the evolution of its Constitutional system. The first Constitution of the People's Republic of China was promulgated in 1954. After two intervening versions enacted in 1975 and 1978, the current Constitution was promulgated in 1982. There were significant differences between each of these versions, and the 1982 Constitution has subsequently been amended several times. In addition, changing Constitutional conventions have led to significant changes in the structure of the Chinese government in the absence of changes in the text of the Constitution.Han chauvinism
Han chauvinism is a term coined by Mao Zedong on March 16, 1953, to criticize ethnocentrism among the majority Han people of China. In a party directive drafted for the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party titled "Criticize Han Chauvinism", Mao said, "In some places the relations between nationalities are far from normal. For Communists this is an intolerable situation. We must go to the root and criticize the Han chauvinist ideas which exist to a serious degree among many Party members and cadres ..."It appeared again in a 1956 speech, titled Ten Major Relations, Mao stated that "on the relationship between the Han ethnicity and minority ethnicities ... we put the emphasis on opposing Han chauvinism". This anti-chauvinistic idea is part of the People's Republic of China's zhonghua minzu conception of China as a multi-ethnic nation, both historically and in the present, which includes not only the Han but also 55 ethnic minorities. This is expressed in the constitution of the People's Republic of China, which states that China is a "unitary [multiethnic] state created jointly by the people of all its ethnicities" and that "it is necessary to combat big [ethnic group] chauvinism, mainly Han chauvinism, and to combat local [ethnic] national[ist] chauvinism".The PRC's notions of Han chauvinism and China as a multicultural state have been subject to criticism mainly from the western media. One critical view is that the Han Chinese "are less homogeneous than official policy recognizes". Zhonghua minzu has been criticized as an invention of the 20th century, and was adopted by the Communist Party only to criticize the failures of the rival Kuomintang, which officially promoted zhonghua minzu as part of its nationalist ideology. Many policies have been made to give privilege to minority ethnicities, leading to grudges from some of the Han Chinese.Macao Basic Law
The Basic Law of the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (Chinese: 中華人民共和國澳門特別行政區基本法, Portuguese: Lei Básica da Região Administrativa Especial de Macau da República Popular da China) is the constitutional document of Macau, replacing the Estatuto Orgânico de Macau. It was adopted on 31 March, 1993 by National People's Congress and signed by President Jiang Zemin, and came into effect on 20 December, 1999.
In accordance with Article 31 of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China, Macau has special administrative region status, which provides constitutional guarantees for implementing the policy of "one country, two systems" and the constitutional basis for enacting the Basic Law of the Macau Special Administrative Region. The Macau Special Administrative Region is directly under the authority of the central government of China in Beijing, which controls the foreign policy and defense of Macau but otherwise grants the region a "high degree of autonomy." The Basic Law took force on December 20, 1999.People's democratic dictatorship
People's democratic dictatorship (simplified Chinese: 人民民主专政; traditional Chinese: 人民民主專政; pinyin: Rénmín Mínzhǔ Zhuānzhèng) is a phrase incorporated into the Constitution of the People's Republic of China by Mao Zedong, the then leader of the Communist Party of China (CPC). The concept, and form of government, is similar to that of people's democracy, which was implemented in a number of Central and Eastern European Communist-controlled states under the guidance of the Soviet Union.
The premise of the "People's democratic dictatorship" is that the CPC and state represent and act on behalf of the people, but in the preservation of the dictatorship of the proletariat, possess and may use powers against reactionary forces. Implicit in the concept of the people's democratic dictatorship is the notion that dictatorial control by the party is necessary to prevent the government from collapsing into a "dictatorship of the bourgeoisie", a liberal democracy, which, it is feared, would mean politicians acting in the interest of the bourgeoisie. This would be in opposition to the socialist charter of the CPC.President of the People's Republic of China
The President of the People's Republic of China (Chinese: 中华人民共和国主席) is the head of state of the People's Republic of China. Under the country's constitution, the presidency is a largely ceremonial office with limited power. However, since 1993, as a matter of convention, the presidency has been held simultaneously by the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, the top leader in the one party system. The presidency is officially regarded as an institution of the state rather than an administrative post; theoretically, the President serves at the pleasure of the National People's Congress, the legislature, and is not legally vested to take executive action on its own prerogative. The current President is Xi Jinping, who took presidency in March 2013.Since 1993, apart from brief periods of transition, the top leader of China simultaneously serves as the President, the leader of the party (as General Secretary), and the commander-in-chief of the military (as the Chairman of the Central Military Commission). This individual then carries out different duties under separate titles. For example, the leader meets foreign dignitaries and receives ambassadors in his capacity as President, issues military directives as Chairman of the Central Military Commission, and upholds party rule as the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China.
The presidency was first established in the Constitution of the People's Republic of China in 1954 and successively held by Mao Zedong and Liu Shaoqi. Liu fell into political disgrace during the Cultural Revolution, after which the presidency became vacant. The presidency was abolished under the Constitution of 1975, then reinstated in the Constitution of 1982, but with reduced powers. The official English-language translation of the title was "Chairman"; after 1982, this translation was changed to "President", although the Chinese title remains unchanged.Between 1982 and 2018, the constitution stipulated that the president could not serve more than two consecutive terms. During the Mao era and also since 2018, there were no term limits attached to this office.Special administrative region
A special administrative region is a designation for types of administrative territorial entities in Mainland China, North Korea and Indonesia.Succession of power in China
The succession of power in China takes place in the context of a single party system. Despite the guarantee of universal franchise in the constitution, the appointment of the Paramount Leader lies largely in the hands of his predecessor and the powerful factions that control the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. The appointment of the leader of the world’s most populous country occurs after two five year terms in accordance with the Constitution of the People's Republic of China.Towns of China
When referring to political divisions of China, town is the standard English translation of the Chinese 镇 (traditional: 鎮; pinyin: zhèn; Wade–Giles: chen4). The Constitution of the People’s Republic of China currently classifies towns as third-level administrative units, along with townships (Chinese: 乡; pinyin: xiāng) and ethnic minority townships (The State Council, 2014). A township is typically smaller in population and more remote than a town (zhèn).
Similarly to a higher-level administrative units, the borders of a town (zhen) would typically include an urban core (what one would call a "town" in Europe or America - a small town with the population on the order of 10,000 people), as well as rural area with some villages (村 cun, or 庄 zhuang).
Towns in China are relatively small in size and in population compared to cities, but those with particular characteristics can enjoy great popularity among tourists. For example, the ancient town of Fenghuang attracts young backpackers every year for its minority ethnic culture and architecture.Vice President of the People's Republic of China
The Vice President of the People's Republic of China (simplified Chinese: 中华人民共和国副主席; traditional Chinese: 中華人民共和國副主席; pinyin: Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó Fùzhǔxí; literally: 'Chinese People's Republic Vice-Chairman'; abbreviated 国家副主席; Guójiā Fùzhǔxí; 'State Vice Chairman'), formerly translated as Vice Chairman of the People's Republic of China from 1954 to 1975, is a senior position in the government of the People's Republic of China.Wolong Special Administrative Region
The Wolong Special Administrative Region (simplified Chinese: 卧龙特别行政区; traditional Chinese: 臥龍特別行政區; pinyin: Wòlóng Tèbié Xíngzhèngqū) is an area in Sichuan, China. It is located in the southwest of Wenchuan County, Ngawa Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture of Sichuan. It was formerly known as Wolong Special Administrative Region of Wenchuan County, Sichuan Province and was founded in March 1983 with approval of the State Council. It was given its current name and placed under Sichuan provincial government with administrative supervision by the provincial department of forestry. Its area supersedes Sichuan Wolong National Nature Reserve and its administrative office is the same as the Administrative Bureau of the State Forestry Administration for the reserve. It currently has a population of 5343.Despite its name, the Wolong Special Administrative Region is not a special administrative region (SAR) as defined by Article 31 of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China, unlike the SARs of Hong Kong and Macau.
|Hanyu Pinyin||Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó Xiànfǎ|
Central state organs of the People's Republic of China
Constitutions of Asia