Yu Haocheng completes massive treatise on democratic politics and the rule of law in China
Yu Haocheng, a distinguished Visiting Scholar with the UCLA Center for Chinese Studies, has completed a massive (616 page) book, in Chinese, Human Rights and Constitutionalism (Renquan yu xianzheng; Boston: Foundation for China in the Twenty-first Century; copyright 2000, but issued in 2003).
The fruit of decades of thought and study, the book is a sweeping and magisterial analysis of the main issues in governance in China over the past half century and a passionate argument for the rule of law. It treats, among other subjects, human rights and other legal safeguards, constitutionalism and the rule of law, the Chinese Communist Party’s one-party dictatorship, political reform in China, and federalism in China.
In his English-language foreword to the book, Andrew Nathan, professor of political science at Columbia University, writes:
A hundred years ago, all patriotic thinking Chinese agreed that constitutionalism was the accepted way to save the nation. Today, that idea is much less widely accepted. . . . Yet Mr. Yu believes this is still the right idea of China. As he never ties of pointing out, China has many healthy principles of government written into its present constitution and laws. . . What is lacking is the commitment by those in power to obey their own system of laws. How can that problem be solved? The role of thinkers like Yu Haocheng is crucial to continuing to remind the rulers and the public of how the leaders are breaking the law and how the law should be kept. This is still the best route of development for China to grow peacefully out of its current political troubles into a stable future.
Yu Haocheng is one of several Chinese thinkers, both abroad and within China, who are convinced China must take the road to constitutionalism. In February of this year, Yu and three other prominent proponents of constitutionalism — Liu Junning, Wang Juntao, and Wang Dan — held a public forum at UCLA on constitutionalism and political reform in China .
Published: Saturday, May 03, 2003
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