Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Constitution for Imperial China

China's Peculiar New Constitution - Elaborate Nine-Year Programme for Leading People Gradually to Parliamentary System - Imperial Will Grants It - Leaders of Political Parties to be Appointed by Throne, and Government Must Not Be Crticized, New York Times (October 19, 1908) (byline dated September 15, 1908):
The constitution under which it is planned to lead China from her present form of despotic government to a Parliamentary system of administration is a remarkable and highly interesting document. It ... is of great length. The preamble alone fills twenty pages....

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... It is set forth that the Imperial government shall not be criticized on the principle that the "sacred majesty of the sovereign may not be offended against"....

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Broadly speaking, the document follows the Constitution of Japan as a model. Some of its most striking clauses [including(?) "fourteen laws"] follow:

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"The Ta Ch'ing Emperor will rule supreme over the Ta Ch'ing Empire for one thousand generations in succession and be honored forever."...

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