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Constitutional Background

One distinct feature of the constitution is the priority of socialist public property over the "system of exploitation of man by man" (Art. 6).  Throughout the economic amendments of recent years, that feature has been kept in the constitution.

The 'Chinese Declaration of Human Rights', a 1979 document of the Chinese Human Rights Alliance, has been published on Democracy Wall on Peking's  Tian'anmen Square.  It is no official document.

Executions: China executes more people each year than the rest of the world together. 1996, there were still 68 crimes punishable by death (up from 21 in 1980) and 6,100 AI-reported death sentences with 4,367 confirmed executions under a "strike-hard" campaign.

Separatism and other chinese entities: The Uighurs, a nationalist minority of Turkic origin (numbers varying between 9 and 22 million), consider China's government in the north-western province Xinjiang (East Turkestan) as occupation and strive for regaining the independence they had in 1944-1949 as the 'Republic of East Turkestan'.  They are supported by Uighurs in neighboring Kazakhstan where an exiled Regional Uighur Association under Kakharman Khozhamberdi is located. China's population policy in the area (forced abortion, encouraged Uighur-Chinese marriages) has led to a majority of Chinese in the region where formerly were only about 5% ethnic Chinese.  There are separate pages for the unacknowledged chinese countries of Tibet (occupied by China) and Taiwan (declared a "renegade province" by China).

History and News

  • 14 March 2004: 10th National People's Congress (NPC) adopts fourth constitutional amendment entailing a general provision about human rights (Art. 33) among further economic reforms.
  • Nov 2002: Jiang Zemin transfers the post of chief of state and party to Hu Jintao.
  • 15 March 1999: Third constitutional amendment.
  • 19 Feb 1997: Deng Xiaoping dies at age 92.
  • 1 Oct 1995: A new law bans all advertisement for baby milk products.  It is supposed to encourage breastfeeding.
  • 19 Aug 1995: On this 50th anniversary of japanese capitulation, the "grey" opposition of China under inofficial leader Wang Juntao will launch a campaign for japanese compensation.  It will also legally participate in local elections throughout China.
  • 19 June 1995: Chinese dissident and longtime prisoner Harry Wu, now US citizen, is arrested trying to re-enter China.  China refuses consular contact.
  • 29 March 1993: Second constitutional amendment.
  • 4 June 1989: Massacre on Tian'anmen Square ends student movement for democracy.
  • 1937: An estimated 300,000 Chinese were killed by Japanese soldiers in Nanjing.
  • 12 April 1988: First constitutional amendmend.
  • 4 Dec 1982: Constitution adopted.
  • 1944-1949: Republic of East Turkestan exists as an independent entity in the north-western province Xinjiang.

For methodology see: Comparing Constitutions and International Constitutional Law.
© 1994 - December 15th, 2010 / For corrections please contact A. Tschentscher.