Indeed, one of the most interesting aspects of the invocation of constitution is the 19th CPC Congress Report is the potential relationship between constitution and its normative principles and the conceptualization of socialist democracy as something contextually appropriate to the Chinese political order. This socialist consultative democracy is not built around popular elections and the rise of political parties, but around engagement in governance exercised through the organs that bring together the CPC and the United Front parties. It is in those institutions that socialist democracy will be developed—an exercise in endogenous democracy in contradistinction to the West’s emphasis on exogenous democratic exercise. It is in this context that democracy is to practiced and the meaning of the socialist democratic path is revealed. . . . What is then centered is socialist consultative democracy built around the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. . . . The nexus between state, CPC and United Front through the CPPCC, then, serves as the connective tissue between CPC and State constitutions, and between the political authority of the CPC and its exercise through the rule system it itself has mandated as its own political line. It expresses in contemporary form the ideals of the New Democracy thinking embraced by the CPC before the founding of the PRC. (Ibid., pp. 33-34).In a marvelous new essay, "What Do We Still Ignore About Chinese Constitutionalism?:The United Front and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (Part 1)" CPE Working Paper 4/1 (April 2018), Flora Sapio begins a sophisticated exploration of some of these issues. That essay follows below.
Downloadable Version HERE.
- our knowledge of Chinese politics in general, and Chinese constitutionalism in particular, comes first and foremost through our reading of standard works in these sub-fields. Aside from factual knowledge about what there exists in the constitutional system of China, standard works convey specific epistemic approaches. In simpler words: they subtly teach to us what counts as knowledge of China, and what information about China is accurate and truthful;
- mainstream Western scholarship on Chinese constitutionalism identifies the birthpoint of the Constitution of China with the promulgation of the administrative constitution of the state, in 1954. The two other political documents that predate and coexist with the administrative constitution of the PRC are either ignored or qualified as transitional documents. So if the Constitution of the CCP is normally overlooked, the Constitution of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference is either ignored, or dismissed as a “temporary document”. To convey the concept bluntly – neither the Political Consultative Conference nor its Constitution (or Charter, or Statute) are worth knowing anything about.
- what the People’s Republic of China was;
- what organs of the state power existed;
- the military system of the PRC;
- China’s economic policy, its cultural and educational policy, policies towards ethnic minorities (the ‘nationalities’), and finally its foreign policy.
First, support the Constitution of the People's Republic of China and fully implement the Constitution.
Second, consolidate the people's democratic system led by the working class and based on the alliance of workers and peasants; Strengthen the leading position of the socialist economic forces in the national economy.
Third, assist state agencies, promote social forces, and implement national plans for socialist industrialization and socialist transformation.
Fourth, keep close contact with the masses, reflect the opinions of the masses to relevant state agencies and make suggestions.
Fifth, strengthen unity among people of all nationalities throughout the country, promote the spirit of patriotism, increase the vigilance of the revolution, defend the country's construction, and persist in the struggle against enemies at home and abroad.
Sixth, continue to consolidate and develop the unshakable friendship between China and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the people’s democratic countries, increase the friendship between China’s peace-loving countries, strengthen the friendship between the Chinese people and peace-loving peoples all over the world, and oppose aggression and war, defend world peace and safeguard the just cause of humanity.
Seventh, study Marxist-Leninist theory on a voluntary basis, actively study the country's policies, raise the political level, carry out criticism and self-criticism, and strive to reform ideas.
Second, hold high the great banner of Chairman Mao, adhere to the basic line of the Communist Party of China at the historical stage of socialism as a whole, persist in continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat, and persist in the general line of building up socialism with enthusiasm, faster, better, and using fewer resources, going all around and aiming high. Avoid the restoration of capitalism, and consolidate the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Third, adhere to and publicize the principles and policies of the Communist Party of China and the state, maintain close ties with the people, assist state agencies, promote social forces, and actively participate in the socialist revolution and socialist construction.
Fourth, Taiwan Province has been the sacred territory of China since ancient times.Taiwan compatriots are our flesh brothers. We must liberate Taiwan and work together to complete the great cause of reunifying the motherland.
Fifth, promote patriotism, increase vigilance over the revolution, and strengthen the strategy for preparing for warfare. We must actively contribute our strenght in order to oppose the subversion and aggression of social imperialism and imperialism and defend the motherland.
Sixth, implement our country’s revolutionary diplomatic line and policy, adhere to proletarian internationalism, strengthen friendly relations with peoples of all countries, promote the development of the international united front against hegemonism, and unremittingly struggle against hegemonism and the war policy of superpowers.
Seventh, on a voluntary basis, we must study Marxism, Leninism, and Mao Zedong Thought, and combine the practice of the three major revolutionary movements of class struggle, production struggle, and scientific experimentation to gradually transform the world’s outlook.
Eighth, the unity of the country, the unity of the people, and the unity of the various nationalities in the country are the basic guarantees for the victory of our cause. We must be open and guided by Chairman Mao’s revolutionary path, we must be upright, selfless, and open-minded, conduct criticism and self-criticism, adhere to the truth, correct mistakes, and constantly strengthen unity within the revolutionary united front.