For much of 2013, a vigorous and wide-ranging debate has raged
in intellectual circles in China over the need for constitutional reform.
The debate has seen the emergence of three camps: the socialist
constitutionalists, who favor a gradualist reform path that
adheres to the current constitution; the liberals, who are skeptical
that meaningful reform can and will take place under existing constitutional
arrangements; and the Leftists, who have vigorously attacked
reform proposals as no more than thinly-veiled attempts to
undermine the one-Party state.
This debate, which reached its apex during the summer months,
has now quieted somewhat, with socialist constitutionalists reasserting
their position as the voice of the moderate mainstream.
Though the outpouring of commentary has not led to any specific
reforms, nonetheless it did demonstrate the strong consensus
among academics and intellectuals in favor of constitutional
change. The debate also highlighted the frustration among many
intellectuals over the glacial pace of legal and political reform over
the past decade, and served as a vehicle for public outreach and
education on the meaning of and prospects for constitutional development
All are welcome, no registration is necessary. For more information,
please contact Dr. Rogier Creemers (convener):