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China's Comparative Constitution

By: Bui Ngoc Son

The academic field of comparative constitutional law has recently had greater engagements with China’s constitution. This Article explains the modes, conditions, and factors of these engagements. The country-studies of China’s constitution echo and complicate recent comparative debates on transnational constitution making and the varieties of constitutionalism. Comparative constitutional scholarship formulates new concepts, such as constitutional entrepreneurship and constitutional dissonance, to understand China’s constitution. Additionally, it explains China’s constitutional divergence from the most similar

case, namely Vietnam, and its unexpected constitutional similarities with the most different cases, such as the United States and the United Kingdom. Finally, this scholarship discusses China’s constitution as a difficult case of constitutional authoritarianism, a prototypical case of authoritarian constitutionalism, an outlier case of party-state constitutionalism, and an illustrating case of global constitutional trends, such as the statist constitutional model and presidential term-limit evasion. The comparative engagements with China’s constitution are due to the increasing sociopolitical significance of the country’s constitutional text and the institutional trend of its living constitutional order, as well as the recent jurisdictional, substantive, and epistemological expansion of comparative constitutional law. The comparative engagements are principally animated by scholars’ intellectual curiosity to explore the unknown regarding China’s constitutional dynamics and partially by the need of its constitutional development and particular outlooks on constitutional justice.


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