Constitutionalism Research Institute was established in June 2004 as a successor to the former Center for Studies of Peoples Congress and Foreign Legislature established in September 1998 as an affiliate of Peking University School of Law. The Institute is dedicated to the development of constitutionalism, rule of law and political democracy in China. We focus on theoretical and empirical comparative studies concerning Peoples Congress, foreign legislature and protection of people’s fundamental rights.
II. RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
* To facilitate the institutional reform of the Peoples Congress
* To improve electoral systems toward democracy
* To enhance institutional protection of people’s fundamental rights
*To conduct research on constitutional theories and disseminate constitutionalism
1. Seasonal Workshops
We plan to hold small workshops (no fewer than four times per year) for experts to discuss topical issues in democracy, rule of law, and human rights as the Chinese society develops. These occasions will serve to observe related theoretical developments, to provide authoritative opinions, to analyze causes and effects of these issues and to propose corresponding resolutions.
2. Research Projects
- To select important theoretical and empirical constitutionalism issues and conduct academic investigation and research.
- To seek cooperation with domestic or foreign institutions
- To engage respected scholars in organizing and carrying out targeted research projects.
- Methodologies: fieldwork, archival research, domestic and oversea visits, workshops, evaluation, publications.
- Goals: to influence the development of Chinese constitutionalism.
- Duration: one to three years for large projects.
3. Constitutionalism Forum
The forum consists of a series of lectures. We plan to invite domestic and foreign scholars in areas of human rights, rule of law and democracy to give presentations at least twice during each semester, aiming to educate the public about constitutionalism, and explore ways to establish constitutional government. This forum will provide a valuable avenue for the development and dissemination of constitutional and democratic theories and practices.
4. Legal Consultation to the Peoples Congress
Based on our think tank comprised of domestic and foreign scholars, we aim to provide detailed and thorough consultations to the Peoples Congresses at various levels in respect of constitutionalism with our expertise. We will offer assistance in solving theoretical and practical problems relating to law drafting, supervision, election and representation, etc.
5. Exchange and Training Programs
With the advantage of our close connection with outstanding Chinese and foreign experts, we are engaged in international exchange programs in the fields of the protection of fundamental rights and perfection of Peoples Congress institution, and offer training programs to experts on legislation, election and people’s representatives.
The website of the Institute, www.e-cpcs.org, timely reports the Institutes activities and academic achievements, discusses legislative developments and hot topics in constitutionalism, publishes up-to-date researches, and presents important information on Peoples Congress and foreign legislatures, etc.
The Institute publishes Peoples Congress and Legislative Research Series containing research reports, monographs, dissertations, and translations to timely display our research achievements.
Three task groups have been formed under the Institute: the Center for Studies of Peoples Congress and Foreign Legislature, the Center for Protection of Fundamental Rights Studies, and the website of the Institute (www.e-cpcs.org).
As an open-end research institute, it is composed of scholars from Chinese University of Politics and Law, Peking University, Tsinghua University, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and the Legislative Office of the Standing Committee of the National Peoples Congress. The Institute applies important research projects upon the needs, invites outstanding scholars to conduct research, publishes academic articles, and submits legislative proposals and suggestions to the NPC Standing Committee. The Institute carries on research projects as its routine work.
The Institute has created the following positions: Chairman of Counsel, Academic Counsels, Director, and the Committee of Academic Research. Chairman of Counsel and Academic Counsels provide guidance for the Institute. The Director leads the Institute and reports to the Committee of Academic Research. The Committee makes decisions on research guidelines and directions, supervises research projects, and conducts evaluation.
Chairman of Counsel:
Jiang Ping, Professor , former President of China University of Politics and Law, former representative of the NPC Law Committee
Zhang Chunsheng, member of the NPC Law Committee
Ying Songnian, Professor, National School of Administration, member of the Internal and Judicial Affairs Committee of the NPC
Chen Guangzhong, Professor, Chinese University of Politics and Law
Guo Daohui, Professor, China Law Society
Li Buyun, Professor, Institute of Law, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
Chen Albert Hung-yee, Professor, Law School of University of Hong Kong
Paul Gewritz, Professor, Yale Law School, Director of Yale China Law Center
Cai Dingjian, Professor, Chinese University of Politics and Law
Committee of Academic Research:
Cai Dingjian, Jiao Hongchang, Wang Renbo, and Li Shuguang, Professors, Chinese University of Politics and Law
Wu Gaosheng, Director of the Secretary Bureau of the NPC Standing Committee
Chen Sixi, Director of the Office of State Law at the Legal Work Committee of the NPC Standing Committee
Wang Chenguang, Professor and Dean of Law School of Tsinghua University
Li Lin, Research Fellow, Institute of Law, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
Zhang Qianfan, Professor, Law School of Peking University
V. OUR ACHIEVEMENTS
The Center for Studies of Peoples Congress and Foreign Legislature, the predecessor of the Constitutionalism Research Institute, has carried on its academic activities effectively since 1999. To help the institutional building of the People’s Congress, many research projects have been accomplished.
Many workshops have been successfully held focusing on hot topics in democracy, rule of law, and the institution of the Peoples Congress.
April 9, 2005
"Auditing and Supervision in U.S. Congress Budgeting"
A former official in the Office of U.S. Congress Budget gave the speech, which provided an opportunity for Chinese to learn from foreign experience how to audit and supervise the Peoples Congress’ budgeting.
November 13-14, 2004
Workshop: "Infeasibility Study and the Oversight of the CPPCC" in cooperation with the Publisher of Solidality of the Central Committee of the Nationalist Revolutionary Party; research on how to strengthen the supervision of democratic parties over the government decision-making through infeasibility investigation of government construction research projects.
June 20, 2004
Workshop: "How to Protect Property Rights after the Constitution Amendment"
Provided helpful proposals to stress the legislation enforcement and build up government credibility.
April 11, 2004
Workshop: "Opportunities and Challenges to the Peoples Congress"
Discussed the recent issues faced by the Peoples Congress and put forward suggestions.
December 7, 2003
Workshop: "Anti-discrimination on Employment "
Conducted analysis on this social phenomenon, discussed the definition of and testing approaches to such discrimination, and brought out corresponding proposals.
September 28, 2003
Workshop: " The Protection of Property Rights in House Demolition"
Upon recently emerged illegal house demolition, carried out proposals to facilitate property rights.
June 7, 2003
Case study on the three law Doctorates request to the NPC Standing Committee to conduct the constitutional review on the Urban Homeless Sheltering and Dispatch Act.
Proved the legality of the request, discussed the illegality of the Act, and analyzed the trend of this case.
May 15, 2003
Teleconference: "Rule of Law and Citizens Rights Protection in Emergency"
Emphasized on the human rights protection during the SARS period and put forward a suggestion to enact Emergency Act.
February 9, 2003
Workshop: "Taking Further Steps to Perfect Our Legal System"
Provided many concrete suggestions to the NPC Standing Committee for its Five Year Legislation Plan.
December 15, 2002
Workshop: "The Enforcement of the Constitution"
Researched on how to facilitate the enforcement of the Constitution in daily life and in court
October 20, 2002
Workshop: "Illegal Activities in Elections and Their Solutions"
Put forward suggestions on legislation and its enforcement against illegal activities in elections.
January 20, 2001
Workshop: "The Impact of Chinas Entry into WTO on Legislation"
Suggested on the development of legislation after Chinas entry into WTO.
July 3, 2001
"The Impact of Interest Groups on Legislation in the U.S. Congress"
Jonh Chwart, president of a U.S. lobby firm, gave the speech which also discussed the public participation in legislation in U.S..
Workshop: "Conflicts of Laws and Their Solution"
Called upon the public to question regulations allegedly disobeying the Constitution, in accordance with the Legislation Law.
October 21, 2000
Workshop: "The Modification of Judges’ Law and Procurators’ Law and Judicial Reform."
Advised on unifying judicial examinations. This proposal has been accepted during the modification of these two laws in 2001.
March 3, 2000
Workshop: "What Problems in Making the Legislation Law"
coordinated with the National School of Administration，put forward a proposal that the Legislation Law should clarify that any compulsive measures on citizens freedom ought to be exclusive legislative rights of the National Peoples Congress. The proposal has been adopted by the National Peoples Congress in passing the Legislation Law.
Workshop: "Peoples Congress Supervision over the Judiciary on a Case-by-case Basis"
Discussed and analyzed issues emerged from the Peoples Congress case supervision, advised to regulate its case supervision function.
Workshop: “The Reform of the Peoples Jury Institution”
Conducted feasibility study on rebuilding Peoples Jury institution.
A series of conferences have been held regarding important theoretical and empirical issues in the institution of Peoples Congress, democracy, and rule of law and gained conspicuous accomplishments.
December 1-2, 2004
Conference: "Information Exchange in Legislative Hearing"
in cooperation with Law Committee of Peoples Congress of Chongqing City. Delivered speeches in legislative hearing and exchanged information between local Peoples Congress, and carried out feasible suggestions on how to promote and improve legislative hearing.
August 20-22, 2004
Conference: Constitutionalism and the Peoples Congress System.
in cooperation with Institute of Political Development and Governance of Peking University and the Standing Committee of Peoples Congress of Gansu province, Discussed important issues of constitutionalism and establishment of Peoples Congress.
January 11-12, 2004
Transnational Conference: "Supervision and Judicial Fairness".
in cooperation with Yale China Law Center and UCLA Law School. Discussed the impact of supervision on judicial fairness and judicial independence, and advised on how to reform supervision institution on justice.
Conference: "Information Exchange on the Situations and Reform of Election".
In cooperateon with Election Commission of Peoples Congress of Jiangsu Province. Summarized the work experience from the substitution of representatives of Peoples Congress in the whole country in 2003, delivered speech about local elections, analyzed the challenges to election in the future, and put forward advises to facilitate election institution in China.
Project Training: “Supervision and Judicial Fairness".
in cooperation with Law School of UCLA .Instructed 18 trainees from the NPC Standing Committee, the Supreme Court, the Supreme Peoples Procuratorate and provincial Peoples Congress, High Court, Procuratorate, discussed the contents of the project research and unified research methods and techniques.
October 12-13, 2001
Conference: "Reform of Election in China".
Invited 40 officials and experts from office(s) taking charge of electoral legislation and enforcement at the NPC Standing Committee, Policy Study Department at Central Committee of CPC, Ministry of Civil Affairs, and election offices at Standing Committees of provincial Peoples Congresses and researched theoretical and empirical issues on the facilitation of China’s Election Reform.
November 2-3, 2001
Conference: “International Conference on Legislative Hearing”.
in cooperation with U.S. National Democratic Institute(NDI), Introduced foreign practice by oversea experts, and drafted Model Law on Legislative Hearing Regulation as a sample document for provincial legislation-hearing practice.
December 4-5, 2000
International Conference: "Legislation- Hearing ".
in cooperation with NDI, invited legal experts from the United States and Germany to introduce their legislation-hearing systems.
International Seminar: "The democracy and Scientificity of Legislation"
in cooperation with NDI, delivered speeches by legislative experts from the NPC, the United States, and the Great Britain in terms of legislative institution and procedures, and conducted case training.
December 14-15, 1999
Conference: "The Development and Reform of Peoples Congress in the Past Two Decades"
Discussed the achievements and experience of Peoples Congress during the past two decades and its future development.
3. Research Projects
The most important task of the Institute is to organize large research projects. Following are those projects we designed in the past years:
(1) Legislation hearings
This project is a meaningful one. The center cooperates with the NPC Legal Work Committee and NDI to promote the enforcement of legislation hearing in China and facilitate the democracy and procedure of it. The Institute has arranged totally four legislation hearing lectures, conferences, and information exchange workshops. From 2000 to 2004, experts and Congressmen from the U.S, Britain and Germany were invited to introduce their legislation hearing practices. Provincial Peoples Congress exchanged the information and experience. The Model Law of Legislation Hearing Regulation had been discussed and drafted as an important reference for the provincial Peoples Congress. Many articles, reports and essays about legislation hearing had been completed. The book Public Participation in Legislation: International Experiences, as the projects result, had been published.
(2) Election Reform
Organized by the Center, more than 10 experienced domestic election experts participated in this large investigation project. From 2000 to 2001, the task force conducted fieldwork on current situations of election in China, analyzed the electorates psychology and behaviors, and advised on the democratic processes of election. The research report, A Report of China Elections, has been published in 2003 and found a strong echo at home and abroad.
(3)Supervision and Judicial Fairness
This large project has been accomplished by the Center in cooperation with the Law School of UCLA, Yale China Law Center, and the Asian Foundation. From the various angles of the judicial oversight by the People’s Congress, courts and the procuratorates, the task force recorded and analyzed, on a case-by-case basis, the impact of supervision on the judicial fairness and judicial independence. Some useful advice had been proposed. As a result of this project, Supervision and Judicial Fairness was published.
4. The Constitutional Forum
The Institute has held to this date three constitutional forums:
(1) Reform of the National People Congress System,
by Zhang Chunsheng, member of the Legal Committee of NPC, and Chen Sixi, Director for Office of State Law in Legal Work Committee of the NPC Standing Committee, March 2005.
(2) Social Transition and Constitutional Reform in Hungary,
by Professor Andras Sajo, member of the Constitution Drafting Council, former Legal Counsel to the President, March 2005.
(3) The Judicialization of Chinese Constitution and Its Implementation, by Professor Cai Dingjian, May 2005.
(1) The Working Series of the Peoples Congress, published by the Chinese Rule by Law Press, 1999. (It collected all important historical works of the National Peoples Congress from 1949 to 1999 and provided a valuable reference for Peoples Congress at various levels as well as domestic and international scholars)
(2) Research Series of the Peoples Congress and Foreign Legislature ( coming out gradually):
Supervision and Judicial Fairness, by Law Press, 2005. (edited by Dingjian Cai).
Public Participation in Legislation: International Experiences, by Law Press, 2005. (co-edited by Dingjian Cai and Ying Shang).
A Report of China Elections, by Law Press, 2003. (edited by Dingjian Cai).
Foreign Legislature and Legislation Procedure, by China Procuratorial Press, 2001. (co-edited by Dingjian Cai and Gangjian Du).
The Development and Reform of Peoples Congress in the Past Two Decades, by China Procuratorial Press, 2001. (co-edited by Dingjian Cai and Chenguang Wang).
5. Website and Archives
The website (www.e-cpcs.org) opened in 2001 and was re-edited in 2004, which gained information of about 8 million Chinese characters. On the website, there are web links, such as Activities (to introduce activities held and research conducted by the Institute), Information of Peoples Congress (to introduce meaningful explorations by Peoples Congress at various level, and reflect important information), Hot Topic Workshops (to discuss hot topics of Peoples Congress and Constitutionalism), Research on Peoples Congress and Constitutionalism (to publish articles in areas of Peoples Congress Institution and Constitutionalism), Foreign Legislature (to present the institutions of foreign legislatures), Peoples Congress Archives (to collect related regulations, information, and archives). The website intends to disseminate information about Peoples Congress and foreign legislature, discuss hot topics of Peoples Congress and Constitutionalism, publish excellent research papers, and periodically inform the public of activities of the Institute.
The Institute has established information exchange channels with the NPC and provincial Peoples Congresses and obtained more than 10 related magazines and journals by endowment. The Institute has also collected many books for Peoples Congress research as well as some specific documents.
VI. FUTURE PLANS
At present, the Institute has formed an effective organization structure with strong research capability, high academic reputation and many academic partners.
On-going projects include:
* Long-term project: "Peoples Congress and Legislative Research" with the auspice of Ford Foundation. Set out project research on important theoretic and empirical issues regarding Peoples Congress and held workshops on urgent issues of democracy and rule of law to facilitate research exchange.
* "The Enhancement of the Function of Peoples Congress" in cooperation with Yale China Law Center. Mainly researched on how to strengthen the supervision power of Peoples Congress.
* Anti-discrimination in employment: collaboration between the Netherlands and China with support from Utrecht University and the Netherlands Embassy. The project will proceed through three steps: first, to conduct academic research and social investigation on anti-discrimination in employment; second, to disseminate information and conduct training on anti-discrimination in employment; third, to facilitate equal employment legislation and remove existing regulations containing such discrimination. China Law and Development Consultants Co.LTD participated in some parts of the project.
The rise of constitutionalism studies is a turning point in the process of parliamentary and legislative studies, which shows a progressive trend of Chinese political civilization. We sincerely hope that the Institute will help advanced constitutional development in China, provide a platform for scholars to research Peoples Congress and constitutionalism and open up an information channel between China and the world in constitutionalism studies. We also wish that all those who are concerned with Chinas Peoples Congress and constitutional developments would actively participate and support us.
As the Center for Studies of Peoples Congress and Foreign Legislature, we have obtained generous support from the following: related offices at the NPC Standing Committee, Law School of Peking University, China University of Politics and Law, Law School of Tsinghua University, King & Capital Law Firm, Ford Foundation, Netherlands Embassy, Yale China Law Center, Asian Foundation, etc. We highly appreciate their kind support and look forward to continually benefiting from them in the future.
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