Chinese (Anti-)­Constitutionalism

Many (Verfassungs-)blog posts on China, be it on tweets, white papers, or the Social Credit System, criticize legal institutions and realities by highlighting their difference from “Western” or constitutionalist traditions. This makes it rather easy for the explicitly anti-Western and anti-constitutionalist official Chinese system of thought, Sino-Marxism, to reject any criticism – either as Eurocentric, (legal) Orientalist, and “culturally hegemonic” or as ignorant of “theoretical basis” of the Chinese system. Knowing Sino-Marxism, which provides powerful political but only limited analytical tools, is thus crucial for transnational and global constitutionalists in order to defend their values without being accused of a lack of understanding – also in the current case of Hong Kong.

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The Hong Kong Judiciary and Beijing’s Temper Tantrum

On 18 November 2019, Hong Kong’s Court of First Instance held that parts of the Emergency Regulations Ordinance, and the Prohibition on Face Covering Regulation enacted pursuant to the Ordinance, violate the territory’s Basic Law – its constitutional instrument. Beijing’s response to the ruling was the equivalent of a temper tantrum. Viewed in light of the Court’s judgment and Beijing’s lengthy history of undermining the Hong Kong judiciary, Beijing’s latest outbursts amount to nothing less than a declaration of war on the territory’s common law legal system.

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