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Fundamental Laws of the People’s Republic: From the Common Program to the Constitution of 1954

  • William L. Tung

Abstract

The Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), held in Peking from September 21 to 30, 1949, served as a constituent body of the People’s Republic for the creation of the Central People’s Government and the enactment of the Common Program. This Common Program and other fundamental laws adopted by the Conference constituted, in effect, a provisional constitution during the transitional period of 1949–1954. The CPPCC was claimed by the Communists to be “the organization of the democratic united front of the entire Chinese people,” composed of “all democratic classes and all nationalities throughout China,” for the establishment of “the unity of all democratic parties and groups and people’s organizations.”

Keywords

Plenary Session English Text National People National Minority Common Program 
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References

  1. 1.
    Art. 1 of the Organic Law of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, September 29, 1949. Its English text can be found in Albert P. Blaustein, Fundamental Legal Documents of Communist China, pp. 96–103.Google Scholar
  2. 1.
    See the Organic Law of the CPPCC, Arts. 4, 5.Google Scholar
  3. 2.
    Arts. 6, 7.Google Scholar
  4. 1.
    Ibid., Arts. 13, 14.Google Scholar
  5. 1.
    For further details of the organization of the CPPCC, see Arts. 8–20.Google Scholar
  6. 1.
    Their English texts can be found in Albert P. Blaustein, op. cit., pp. 34–53, 96–103, and 104–114 respectively.Google Scholar
  7. 2.
    The Common Program of the CPPCC, Art. 1.Google Scholar
  8. 3.
    Ibid., Art. 3.Google Scholar
  9. 1.
    Art. 1 of the Organic Law of the Central People’s Government. Google Scholar
  10. 2.
    See the Common Program, Arts. 3–6, 19.Google Scholar
  11. 3.
    Ibid., Art. 7.Google Scholar
  12. 4.
  13. 1.
  14. 1.
    For details, see Arts. 26–40.Google Scholar
  15. 1.
    Arts. 20–24.Google Scholar
  16. 2.
    Arts. 41–49.Google Scholar
  17. 3.
    For the number and names of the national minorities in China and their geographical distribution, see Ch. VII, Sec. 4, on self-determination of national minorities.Google Scholar
  18. 4.
    Arts. 50–53.Google Scholar
  19. 1.
    Arts. 54–60.Google Scholar
  20. 1.
    Arts. 12–20.Google Scholar
  21. 2.
    The following is an institutional description of the state organs of the Central People’s Government. For the chronological development of Communist control over the Mainland during the period of 1949–1954, see Richard L. Walker, China under Communism*, pp. 1–24.Google Scholar
  22. 3.
    The Organic Law of the Central People’s Government of 1949, Arts. 1–5.Google Scholar
  23. 4.
    Ibid., Art. 31.Google Scholar
  24. 1.
    The schedule of the Council meetings was flexible. During the five-year period of its existence, the Council held one meeting approximately every fifty-two days.Google Scholar
  25. 2.
    The Organic Law of the Central People’ s Government, Arts. 6, 8, 9, 10, 11.Google Scholar
  26. 3.
    Ibid., Art. 7.Google Scholar
  27. 1.
    Arts. 13, 14, 16, 17.Google Scholar
  28. 2.
    Arts. 15, 17.Google Scholar
  29. 1.
  30. 2.
    Arts. 13, 21, 22.Google Scholar
  31. 3.
    See S. B. Thomas, Government and Administration in Communist China*, p. 32.Google Scholar
  32. 4.
    Arts. 23–25.Google Scholar
  33. 5.
    Ch’eng, a former Nationalist general, went over to the Communists in 1949.Google Scholar
  34. 1.
    Arts. 26–30.Google Scholar
  35. 2.
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    Most of these laws and regulations were printed in separate pamphlets. Their English texts can be found in Albert P. Blaustein, op. cit. (1962).Google Scholar
  37. 1.
    China Digest (Hongkong), December 14, 1949, p. 28.Google Scholar
  38. 2.
    As early as the middle of 1948, a people’s government was set up in the “liberated areas” of North China. On August 27, 1949, another people’s government was formed in the Northeast. Thus these two areas had already set up regional governments even before the inauguration of the Central People’s Government on October I, 1949.Google Scholar
  39. 3.
    Its text can be found in Current Background (Hongkong), No. 170. April 8, 1952.Google Scholar
  40. 4.
    New China News Agency (Peking), November 17, 1952.Google Scholar
  41. 1.
    Art. 14 of the Common Program.Google Scholar
  42. 2.
    The English texts can be found in the Research Project on the Chinese Communist Party Line (Russia-Research Center, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.), Docs. 1 and 4*.Google Scholar
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    China Monthly Review (Shanghai), December 1950, p. 118. For further details, see S. B. Thomas, op. cit., pp. 86–94.Google Scholar
  44. 1.
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  45. 2.
    Arts. 50–53 of the Common Program.Google Scholar
  46. 1.
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  47. 2.
    Ibid., p. 19.Google Scholar
  48. 3.
    The English text of this Law together with an explanation was issued in a pamphlet form by the Foreign Languages Press, Peking 1953. The term, “National People’s Congress,” is sometimes translated as “The All-China People’s Congress.”Google Scholar
  49. 1.
    Arts. 3, 20–23, 25. The procedures for the election of deputies under categories (4) and (5) were left to the discretion of the Government.Google Scholar
  50. 2.
    All the Laws were adopted on September 21, 1954, with the exception of number (1) which was passed one day earlier. The laws under (2) and (5) were amended at the second session of the National People’s Congress on July 30, 1955. For their English texts, see Albert P. Blaustein, op. cit., pp. 104–171.Google Scholar
  51. 1.
    The organization and functions of the National People’s Congress to be described in Ch. XII.Google Scholar
  52. 2.
    The text of the Constitution is available in pamphlet form, published by the People’s Press, Peking, 1954; for its English translation, see Appendix H. The English text of the Constitution and Liu Shao-ch’i’s report are published in a booklet by the Foreign Languages Press, Peking, 1954.Google Scholar
  53. 1.
    Arts. 1, 3.Google Scholar
  54. 1.
    See Arts. 4–15 of the Constitution.Google Scholar
  55. 1.
    The English texts of these labor laws and regulations can be found in Important Labor Laws and Regulations of the People’s Republic of China (Peking: Foreign Languages Press, enlarged ed., 1961).Google Scholar
  56. 2.
    For constitutional provisions on people’s rights and duties as discussed above, see Arts. 16–20, 85–103.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, Netherlands 1964

Authors and Affiliations

  • William L. Tung
    • 1
  1. 1.Queens CollegeCity University of New YorkUSA

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