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About China's Constitution

Updated: Dec 14, 2017 english.legalinfo.gov.cn Print

What is the significance of the Preamble to Constitution?

The Preamble to the Constitution is an important part of the Constitution of China.

From the perspective of contents, the Preamble to the Constitution records the history and achievements of the Chinese revolution and construction since 1840, and truly reflects the objective laws and basic experience of the development of modern history of China. It sums up the positive and negative aspects of historical experience, provides the basic tasks of the fundamental tasks of the state and other important contents.

From the perspective of effect, the Preamble to the Constitution possesses the supreme authority. First, the Preamble to the Constitution can be generally and effectively implemented and observed in the legislative procedures, judicial procedures and administrative procedures. Second, the Constitution and constitutional interpretation cannot conflict with the Preamble to the Constitution. Finally, the Preamble is taken as a whole and therefore, its effect is a kind of integral effect.

What are the functions and status of Constitution?

Constitution of the People's Republic of China, in the form of the fundamental law of the state, establishes the socialist road with Chinese characteristics, socialist theoretical system with Chinese characteristics, and the development achievements of the socialist system with Chinese characteristics; it reflects the common will and fundamental interests of Chinese people of all nationalities, and becomes the highest embodiment of the central work, the basic principles, major guidelines and important policies in the national legal system of the Party and the state in the new historical period in the state's legal system.

The Constitution is the fundamental law of the state, and is the general rules for the safeguard of the state. It possesses the supreme legal status, legal authority, and legal effect. It is fundamental, overall, stable, and long-term in nature.

When was the current Constitution of China promulgated?

It was promulgated by the National People's Congress on December 4, 1982.

How many times is the current Constitution of China amended?

The National People's Congress made necessary, but also very important amendments to some provisions and part of the contents of the 1982 Constitution in 1988, 1993, 1999 and 2004 respectively.

Which day is the "National Constitution Day" of China?

December 4 each year

The 11th Session of the Standing Committee of the Twelfth National People's Congress on November 1, 2014 adopted on November 1, 2014, the "Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on Setting the National Constitution Day", and established December 4th as the National Constitution Day.

What are the applicable principles of the Constitution?

The so-called application of the Constitution refers to the special activities of the specific state organs applying the constitutional norms to the specific legal facts based on the statutory authority and procedure. The application of the Constitution can be divided into two categories: first, the constitutional review; second, resolving other disputes in accordance with the Constitution.

(1) The application of Constitution should follow the statutory procedures. Only by following the statutory procedures can the legal norms be effectively applied to the specific case procedures; only by following the statutory procedures can the normal operation of the Constitution be guaranteed; only by following the statutory procedures can the seriousness and authority of the Constitution be safeguarded.

(2) The application of the Constitution should be operated flexibly in a reasonable range. Application of the Constitution does not exclude the application of other laws. It is not exclusive, but other laws may not contravene the constitution.

(3) The principles of the application of Constitution should follow the principles of Constitution. So in the process of application of the Constitution, every citizen should be guaranteed to enjoy human rights, to be able to participate in the administration and discussion of state affairs, to exercise the right of supervision of the state, and to closely link the principles of human rights to the principles of popular sovereignty and democracy.

What is constitutional review?

Constitutional review means that the specific state organs review and decide the constitutionality of laws, regulations and documents with legal significance through statutory procedures and in specific way as provided by the Constitution.

On October 28, 2014, the Decision of the CPC Central Committee on Major Issues Pertaining to Comprehensively Promoting the Rule of Law was issued. The Decision requires that people of all ethnic groups, all state organs and armed forces, all political parties and public organizations and all enterprises and institutions must take the Constitution as the basic standard of conduct, and shall have the responsibility to safeguard the dignity of the Constitution and ensure the implementation of the Constitution. All acts in violation of the Constitution must be investigated and corrected.

What is the duty to abide by the Constitution and the laws?

Article 53 of the Constitution of China provides that: “Citizens of the People's Republic of China must abide by the constitution and the law, keep state secrets, protect public property, observe labor discipline and public order and respect social ethics.”

The following contents are specifically included:

To perform the duties prescribed by the Constitution and the law

To protect public property

To respect social ethics

To observe public order

To observe labor discipline

To keep state secrets

1 To perform the duties prescribed by the Constitution and the law.

Constitution is the fundamental law of the state. In terms of contents, it provides on the most fundamental and important issues of the state, and has the significance of the general regulation of the country. In terms of the force of law, the Constitution has the highest legal effect. Laws are formulated by the National People's Congress and the Standing Committee of National People's Congress and their effects are lower than that of the Constitution but higher than that of other legal documents. Only when the implementation of the Constitution and the laws is guaranteed can the unity and dignity of the socialist rule of law be safeguarded.

2 Duty to keep State secrets

1 Classified matters involved in the key policy decisions on state affairs

2 Classified matters involved in the national defense construction and armed force activities

3 Classified matters involved in the diplomatic and foreign affair activities and classified matters involved in the state's international obligation of secrecy

4 Classified matters involved in the national economic and social development

5 Classified matters involved in science and technology

6 Classified matters involved in the activities of maintaining national security and investigating criminal offenses

7 Others classified matters as determined by the state secrecy administrative department

3 Duty to protect public property

Article 12 of the Constitution of China provides that: “Socialist public property is inviolable… Appropriation or damaging of state or collective property by any organization or individual by whatever means is prohibited.”

Collective property includes the state-owned property of and collective property.

4 Duty to observe labor discipline

Labor discipline refers to the rules and regulations that laborers must abide by when they do social productive labor.

To observe labor discipline is an important guarantee for the protection of laborer’s safety.

5 Duty to observe public order

Consciously to observe public order is a legal obligation and moral requirement. For the severe disruption of public order behavior, penalties and sanctions should be enforced depending on their specific circumstances according to the law.

6 Duty to respect social ethics

Article 24 of the Constitution of China provides that: “The state advocates the civic virtues of love of the motherland, of the people, of labor, of science and of socialism.”

At the time of respecting the socialist morality, we should establish a socialist concept of honor, handle the relationship among personal, collective, and the nation, and advocate noble morality with the correct attitude towards life.

What are the methods and procedures for Constitution revision?

Constitution revision refers to supplement and adjustment activities in which state organs or other specific subjects enjoy power to revise constitution content.

Revision mode: alteration, abolition, increase

Revision procedures

To be proposed by NPC Standing Committee or by one-fifth or more of NPC deputies

To be passed by a two-thirds majority vote of all NPC deputies

Amendments to the Constitution are to be promulgated by NPC Presidium

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