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Political Constitution and the Protection of Religious Freedom: A Jurisprudential Reading of Article 36 of the Chinese Constitution

  • Zheng Yushuang
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Religion, Politics, and Policy book series (PSRPP)

Abstract

The Chinese Constitution of 1982, Article 36, calls for the protection of religious freedom. But Westerners should understand that constitutionalism in China reflects a very different political context. There is a hierarchy of values in the Chinese Constitution, the author argues, which ranks the supremacy of the Communist Party and the construction of a modern socialist society above the protection of personal freedoms. Indeed, the term “ protection” is transformed into something more akin to management and control in the Chinese context. Political reforms in China, including the new protections for property rights, all reflect this hierarchy of values. Even so, says the author, the growing body of case law on property disputes shows potential for gradual movement toward liberty in religion as well.

Keywords

China Constitution political liberties political reform religious freedom 

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Notes

  1. 1.
    The “Real Right Law,” enacted in 2007, establishes the basic law for regulating and protecting private property in China. See Han Dayuan, ed., A True Record of the Legal Debates of the PRC in Sixty Years: The Constitution Volume (Xiamen: Xiamen University Press, 2009), chs 10 and 17.Google Scholar
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    This is reaffirmed in the “Three Supremacies” thought given by the president of PRC, Hu Jintao, in a speech to chief justices and prosecutors in 2007. Three Supremacies refer to the supremacy of the leadership of the party, the supremacy of the people’s interests, and the supremacy of the constitutional law. This thought is articulated by many professors, and most notably, the president of the Supreme People’s Court, Wang Shengjun, in his “Insisting on the ‘Three Supremacies’: Guidelines for the Judicial Work Keeping Pace with the Times,” Journal of Law Application 10 (2008): 4–6.Google Scholar
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© Zheng Yushuang 2014

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  • Zheng Yushuang

There are no affiliations available

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