The Olympic Dream of a Hundred Years Has Come True, How Long Until the Journey to the Constitution is Completed?

Beijing based lawyer Liu Xiaoyuan (刘晓原) writes in his blog, translated by M.J.:

A hundred years ago, “Tianjin Youth Daily” asked three questions that stunned the nation: When will China send an athlete to participate in the Olympics, when will China sent a team that represents the country to participate in the Games, when will China itself host the Olympic Games?

The 24th years after those questions were raised, in July 1932, China, with the world’s largest population, sent a single athlete Liu Changchun to participate in the one the Tenth Olympic Games held in Los Angeles. On August 16, 1936, China sent its representing team to the Eleventh Olympics.

During times of internal warfare, the Chinese people have achieved two Olympic dreams; the only one remaining is the hosting of the games.

August 8th, 2008 at 8:08 PM, the 29th session of Olympic Games held its opening ceremony in Beijing, 204 national and regional delegations joined this celebration, and the one hundred year old Olympic dream o f China has finally been realized.

Inspired by the realization of the one hundred year old Olympic dream, I am thinking of the hundred year old dream of a Constitution for China.

In June 1901, Liang Qichao issued a “Proposal for the Constitution,” he believes that currently in the world there are three types of rule, absolute monarchy, constitutional monarchy, and constitutional democracy, and of the three, the best is “constitutional monarchy.”

Persuaded by those lobbying for a constitution, the conservative government of the Qing Dynasty decided in July 1905 to send five ambassadors to “all nations to the east and west of the seas, to seek the ways of politics, and from them choose the most fitting.”

The five ambassadors traveled respectively to Japan, the United States, Britain, France, and Germany to learn about politics. After these studies, the ambassadors opened their minds greatly, and reached a surprising conclusion: the reason that foreign nations are flourishing is that “they have adopted a constitutional government.” The weakness of China is rooted in its authoritarian government; if it wants to be stronger and wealthier, it must “adopt constitutional governance.”

In 1906, the Qing government decreed that it would try to emulate constitutional governance, and the nation entered a period of preparation to set up a constitution, transitioning from feudal autocratic politics to the bourgeois democratic politics, carving a new path never before seen in Chinese history.

On August 27, 1908, the Qing Empire distributed the “draft of the constitutional framework, and confirmed that the country will adopt the separation of powers in the form of legislative, administrative, and judiciary branches. From then on, the Chinese people have been dreaming for the completion of a real constitution.

From 1908 to 1949, a total of nine drafts of the constitutions were issued. After the founding of the People’s Republic of China, four sets of constitutions were established. While saw may laws were developed, at the end, a real constitution is still not realized.

For the dream of a constitutional government, one generation after another of courageous souls have searched, wandered, bellowed, and paying a painful price in loss and sacrifice. The one hundred years of an arduous road traveled for a genuine constitution, in retrospect, one cannot but think of this journey with nostalgia and helplessness.

China is a world sport power, when will it be a power of democratic rule of law?


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