Zhou and butterfly share one mind, Zhuang and fish feel pleasure with each other; Nature and Human originally are one, Life and death follow the God's order.
Note: English is not my mother language. As a practice, this poem is translated from my poem in Chinese: 游庄子祠。 I hope the experts who master both English and Chinese to offer me some suggestions.
Along Great Wall there were many strong castles, For thousand years there were much less battles; Trades were made in the reception and tribution building, Out of the wall land was ploughed for farming.
Note: English is not my mother language. As a practice, this poem is translated from my poem in Chinese: 访镇北台。 I hope the experts who master both English and Chinese to offer me some suggestions.
As the pride of Heaven, human beings
Know how high the Heaven only if worshiping god;
To the ancient god sacrifices have been continuing on for thousand years,
On mural painted by Wu strips are floating with wind.
Note: English is not my mother language. As a practice, this poem is translated from my poem in Chinese: 拜东岳庙。 I hope the experts who master both English and Chinese to offer me some suggestions.
Note: From the end of 2018 to the present, we have been listening to the declaration of “protecting private entrepreneurs”, but the incidents of private entrepreneurs being infringed repeatedly, until the Dawu incident finally reached a peak. If a government claims to protect people’s security and property rights without catching robbers, “protection” is an empty talk. If we do not take strong measures against the local administrative agencies that violate the Constitution and violate laws, the document of “protecting private entrepreneurs” will be a blank paper. Reissue the article written in 2018.
The developments between the publication of an essay about “private enterprises leaving the party” by a Mr. Wu Xiaoping on September 12th and the address made by Mr. Xi Jinping emphasizing the importance of private enterprises are dubbed by some people as “exhilarating 50 days for the private sector.” To be fair, this is no exaggerating, nor is it normal. How come a common commentator, Mr. Wu Xiaoping, with no official background, could start such a fuss that only the General Secretary of CCP could later pacify? Right after Mr. Xi’s address, the People’s Daily published an article, claiming that the address “gave private entrepreneurs an assurance”, which was heavily ridiculed online. Some say the assurance did not seem to last long, some say it bordered with “I have a bridge to sell you,” some even dug up decades of People’s Daily propaganda and showed that similar assurances had been given out to people for so long. There are some scholars who commented that the expression of “one of our own”, referring to the intimate relationship between the government and the private entrepreneurs, sent a startling signal to cause private entrepreneurs uneasy, because an equal contractual relationship can only be created between those who are “our very own,” and those who are not. Comments like this ensued. Why the fuss?
Confucius said, “At first, my way with men was to hear their words, and give them credit for their conduct. Now my way is to hear their words, and look at their conduct. It is from Yu that I have learned to make this change.” This might just be the real mentality development of private entrepreneurs’ dealing with government policies. In fact, it is written in the Chinese Constitution that “private property is protected”, and “non-state economy is protected”. Party congresses in recent years also wrote in their rout esolutions to “encourage, support, and guide non-state economy in its development with unremitting efforts.” Judging from the last few decades, we have gotten accustomed to various policies, documents, and minutes of addresses from the government to pacify and support private enterprises. Such instances include the old and new editions of the policy documents entitled “36 Suggestions Regarding Non-State Economy” in the times of former President Hu Jintao and former Premier Wen Jiabao, that is the “Some Suggestions on Encouraging and Supporting Non-State Economy by the State Council”. This policy was issued in 2005, and it included several articles on “improve private property protection institution”, “solidify the principle of equal entry and fair treatment”, and “enhancing fiscal and credit and loans to support non-state economy”, etc.. In principle, they were in line with President Xi’s address.
However, before this policy, there were two well-known cases in 2004 where private enterprises’ property rights were violated and suppressed. One was the case of Tieben Company. In this case, the company was sued for investing in and acquiring land in an unlawful way, and its president Dai Guofang was taken into custory, later tried on criminal charges for “purchasing forged special invoices for value-added tax” and sentenced for 5 years. Inn fact, the investment of a private enterprise would be its own economic freedom that needs no one else to approve; besides, the acquired land was firstly approved by the local government, and if there should be any fallout, it should be the government to take accountability. Another case is the oil field case in Northern Shaanxi. In 2003, some local government in this region abruptly nationalized hundreds of oil wells that were formerly operated by private entities, and compensated them by 20% of their investment value. Faced by the mass protests of the investors, the local government abused its public power and sued them on the charge of “crime of picking quarrels and provoking troubles”. After some investors were thrown behind bars, some of the lawyers on their behalf were also detained for “unlawfully disturbing social order” charges. This act by the local government was no different than that of marauders.
Both these cases were different violation of the private property rights of private enterprises, and they both took place around the time when the policy “36 Suggestions Regarding Non-State Economy” were issued. If the promise of “improving private property rights protection” was kept, even if such cases took place, mistakes would have been corrected. The public litigation against Dai Guofang, though not directly related to the project, caused the project to be canceled. The company lost a fortune on the equipment purchased for this project, and the private property rights were harmed instead of protected by the government. Investors in Northern Shaanxi also found them losing big fortune at last. Similarly, their loss was not only due to the inactiveness of the government to protect their property rights, but also due to the violation of property rights by the government. Forget about “enhancing equal entry and fair treatment”, these two cases were straightforward institutional ownership discrimination. By the time the Tieben Company canceled the project, their state owned competitors, such as Baoji Steel and Wuhan Steel, declared their new big scale investment. And the cause for the oil well disruption was easy, the local government wanted to nationalize local energy business. In hindsight, it was not from the policy document but from these two very peculiar cases that private entrepreneurs learned their lessons in the most realistic and terrifying way.
Years later, in 2010, the State Council came up with the new edition of this policy, the key change was the specification in market entry, such as encouraging private enterprises to enter basic infrastructure industries including telecommunication services, power generation, gas, and transportation; public utility including water supply, gas supply, heating supply and waste management; and social enterprises such as healthcare and education. However, in the same time, another case involving Kechiley Investment, an energy investment firm, in Shaanxi Province. This was exactly the area where the State Council meant to encourage private enterprises to enter with the new policy. The case started when the state-owned enterprises tore the contract with Kechiley on the ground that the “the contract was not in line with the relevant policy in the minute of the Shaanxi Provincial Government meetings.” However, the real reason was that the state-owned enterprise found a millions worth volume coal mine reserve in the exploration period and wanted to pocket the profit alone. In 2011, when the Higher People’s Court of the province reopened the case and nullified the contract, Kechiley’s registration license was revoked by the administrative authorities and its legal representative Mr. Zhao Faqi was arrested.
Another major legal case was the case of Zeng Chengjie. Zeng Chengjie along with a real estate developer in Hunan signed a contract with a local government to invest and construct three public stadium and buildings. They also raised public funds when encouraged by the local government. However, when financial policy changed and financial crisis hit, the local government and its officials were the first to leave the party, leaving the private entrepreneur to take the blame. Zeng Chengjie was sentenced to death and his company was sold at a low price to a state-owned enterprise when Zeng’s company was able to pay off the debt and had the will to do so. In this case, Zeng Chengjie lost not only his property rights, but also his life, needless to say there’s anything to do with market entry. Which sent a clearer signal, then, the new policy or Zeng Chengjie’s death sentence? Actually, around 2010, there is another much bigger and more influential event, that was the “Chongqing Crashing Crashing Black Crime”. The black crimes mainly were related to private enterprises, and 13 people were sentenced to death and executed eventually. After Bo Xilai, then Chongqing governor, was taken down on multiple charges, no review or distinction were made on these cases. Li Zhuang, famous lawyer, pointed out that about RMB 100 billion worth of assets was confiscated by the Chongqing Police, yet only around RMB930 million were turned over to the state coffer.
In 2016, the Party Central Committee and the State Council issued yet another policy, Suggestions on Improving the Protection of Private Property Rights Institution and Protecting Private Property by Law, to give another boost when it comes to protecting property, and proposed five principles such as “equal protection”, “comprehensive protection”, “protection by law”, and “mutual participation”. The intention was good, and the words were convincing. A section of this policy entitled “improving the government accountability promise mechanism” emphasized that “for situations where the contract was broken by the government and enterprises’ and citizens’ property rights were violated, compensation, complaint and relief mechanism should be improved, and complaint and relief channels should be established.” However, after this policy was issued, incidents involving violating the property rights of private enterprises went pandemic. For example, party chapters were required to be set up in private enterprises. By the end of 2016, over 68% non-state enterprises set up party chapters. This did not only increase of cost for the enterprises, but also allowed political organizational principles to interfere with the corporate governance structure, which would cause insecurity for private enterprises. By the end of 2017, the act of evicting migrant workers and non-permanent residents and removing rooftop billboards by the Beijing municipal government without noticing people beforehand have caused great damage to private property rights. The victims of these acts were not compensated. And they could not even find the so-called “relief channels”, rendering the policy from the Party Central Committee of piece of scrap.
When Mr. Xi sat down with some private entrepreneurs, he promised to “protect the security of their persons and properties”, and “create an equal competition environment that facilitates the development of private enterprises with enough market room in the areas of market approval and entry, licensing, operations, bidding, and military-civil conversion of industries”, while giving his word to “further cut taxes”. However, almost at the same time, what we saw were another two cases: one concerned the confiscation of eight residential buildings built by Dawu Group, a well-known local conglomerate in Hebei Province, by Xushui District Land and Resources Bureau on the ground of not having the permit before construction; and the other concerned the revocation of the registration license of Beijing Unirule Consulting Co., Ltd, a company of Unirule Institute of Economics, by Beijing Haidian Administration Bureau for Industry and Commerce on the ground of organizing educational training without permit. The first case was a direct violation of the property rights of private enterprises, and the second case was a straightforward refusal to President Xi’s promise in terms of market entry and approval.
It seems that the policy documents and addresses by the decision makers are in contradiction with what we saw in real life. Are these decision makers not sincere or genuine? I don’t think so. In fact, the decision makers know very well that the private enterprises are an indispensable pillar of the Chinese economy and a key source or wealth. As President Xi emphasized, the non-state economy “contributed over 50% of tax revenue, over 60% of GDP, over 70% of technological innovation achievements, over 80% of jobs in urban and rural areas, and over 90% of enterprise entities.” In addition, from the incremental perspective, private enterprises contributed over 90% of the GDP increased margin, and over 100% of new jobs(why over 100%? Because the private enterprises also supplement the jobs lost by state-owned enterprises when they lay workers off.) The decision makers are also aware that the efficiency and innovation capacity of private enterprises are way higher than their state-owned counterparts, and most of state-owned enterprises rely on the development of private enterprises. That is because most of the state-owned enterprises are concentrated in upstream basic industries, such as finance, telecommunication, power, railway, and oil, and only when the downstream industries develop well, will they be able to cut their share of the profit, and they have the monopoly to do so.
However, on the other hand, the decision makers are the direct beneficiary of the tax revenue increases, and the high level executives and administrative officials are, in essence, the same group of people who could trade their positions in times of need. Therefore, the government officials don’t find it reasonable to either constrain the fiscal expenses, or break the monopoly of state-owned enterprises. They would not constrain the abuse of public power, either. In a fairly long period of time, doing so has not produced any telling negative results. The reason lies in the comparison before and after the reform and opening-up. The government took it as a baseline that in the planned economy period, Chinese people were poor, and so was the government, and the tax rate was, therefore, lower. However, with the market economy flourishing and wealth pouring in, and without proper limit of the government power, macro tax rate was raised constantly and administrative monopolies were set up along the way. Those who violate the property rights of private enterprises were also allowed to get away with it. That is why the decision makers know the importance of private enterprise and can not resist the temptation to exploit them anyway.
In a rather long time, protection of property rights does not go against limiting the public power. That is because, the tax rate is raised gradually, and from a very low leve. In the process, private enterprises felt it was still bearable, though their profit margin was dwindling. It was not a serious problem. At first, the violations of private property rights were not so concentrated. People were mistaken to think that they were just separate peculiar cases. However, when the tax rate rose to a certain level, those private enterprises that are not doing so well would feel the pressure first and complain about the tax burden. And abusing the unlimited public power to exploit private business and take their private property goes pandemic and in larger volumes. This explains why private entrepreneurs feel that the tax burden is too heavy and their private property rights are not protected properly. For decision makers, there is the conflict between protecting property rights and letting loose public powers.
As a result, when entrepreneurs begin to worry about their property rights, they don’t invest anymore. Some of them even begin moving overseas for their own good. The accumulated result would, then, influence the macro economic state. As for the first half of 2016, growth of private capital investment witnessed a consecutive decrease to 2.1% in July, 2016, which sent very serious signal to the decision makers. It is fair to say that the Suggestions on Improving the Protection of Private Property Rights Institution and Protecting Private Property by Law was issued, to some extent, to address this issue. The address by President Xi this time also has a lot to do with the current bleak economic situation. What we see is that mastic financial losses are witnessed by private enterprises, and most of their net asset return rate is lower than the sum of risk-free interest rate and reasonable risk profit margin rate. The Chinese economy is apparently taking a downturn, and there is the external pressure from the ongoing trade war with the US. Therefore, what we can see is the utilitarian purpose of the central government in issuing policies that seemed to have the best interest of the private enterprises, while what they really care about is the short term effect, instead of sticking to the principles they set out in those policies. As a response, private entrepreneurs could only go so far and think that these Suggestions were just for the short term relief for the government, instead of for their interest.
At an expert meeting with the National Development and Reform Committee in 2016 on Suggestions on Improving the Protection of Private Property Rights Institution and Protecting Private Property by Law, I emphasized along with some other experts that policy documents would have far less impact than cases. Ever since then, the central government did try to review some cases. Some of the well known cases include the Kechiley case where the company won the lawsuit eventually; the Wu Ying case review resulted in reduction of the defendant’s sentence; the Zhao Shoushuai case review acquitted the defendant innocent; and it goes on and on with the Gu Chujun case and the Mu Qizhong case. Recently, Mr. Liu He, the Vice Premier, stressed that “one act is louder than a dozen programs.” On November 12th, the supreme court issued a Notice on Creating a Good Legal Environment for Entrepreneurship and Innovation for Entrepreneurs(CourtNo.1), reemphasizing the execution of the spirit of the above mentioned policies in the judicial practices. This, apparently, is a major act that aims to make people hear and see, though it still has a utilitarian hue for the short term goal, it signified an institutional change. On the one hand, such an act reminds people of policy movement, or campaign, that does not last long or mean what it says; on the other hand, once demonstrated in the judicial system, cases would be amplified to showcase principles as examples, which could have seminal influences.
However, this is not enough to reassure private entrepreneurs. More importantly, reviewing and redressing some cases are not enough. There has to be institutional assurance that such cases would never occur again. The Notice issued by the supreme court sounds like it was targeting certain people, instead of applying to everyone in the form of written articles in the Constitution or laws. It is definitely not a normal institutional that is to be followed and practiced in due process by judicial bodies. And the phrase “redressing wrong cases” is innately contradictory. If it is known to be a wrong case where justice is not done, then it is a deliberate act to make it a wrong case by the court. From the statistical perspective, it is to admit that the current judicial system is problematic, and the problem lies in the failure to comply with the due process of law. “Redressing” is an administrative goal, and in the process, we can be sure that further ignorance of due process of law will be witnessed. And doing so might inflict new wrong cases. What’s really reassuring is stable expectation for the institution. When one believes that by following the Constitution and the law in due process of law while resisting the interference of administrative entities, still one could get a roughly expected result, then he can be assured.
Then, what is such an institution that matches the stable expectation of private entrepreneurs? Such an institution is one that could limit and counter balance the abuse of public power. “Protecting property rights” is not done when it is said, but is done when a series of institutional structures are set up and a series of operations are undertaken. These operations include complaint, warning, application, litigation, judgement, execution and constrain. In summary, 1) people have the right to complain and express their opinions, a right that is protected by Article 35 of the Constitution; 2) the government administrative entities are limited by the institution, that is when the government interferes improperly, such error can be corrected, and the personnel should be held accountable; and 3) an independent judicial system that is not interfered by the party or the government, and personnel of this system are expected to be committed to handling cases in a just manner.
Allow me to elaborate. Firstly, without the right to complain and express their opinions, people would not even know whether the rights of entrepreneurs are being violated. Therefore, this is the first and foremost right. In hindsight, the right to complain by entrepreneurs has been severely suppressed in recent years. Many cases where property, even life, was jeopardized did not get expressed and discussed publicly. For example, in the Zeng Chengjie case, he was sentenced to death in 2013 and executed in 2015. During this two-year period, no discussion was in the public discourse. According to the assistant of Mr. Zeng’s lawyer, she almost visited all the websites, newspapers, magazines and other public media Chanels in over a year only to be told that there was paramount pressure to cover negative stories or that the superiors would not allow the coverage of this case. In comparison, the Wu Ying case was taken to the media since the beginning. Unirule Institute of Economics also held seminars to discuss the case. And Wu Ying’s sentence was great reduced, from death to life imprisonment. After Zeng Chengjie was executed, Unirule also held meetings which were twice interrupted and changed the venue for that matter. Some experts were even coerced not to attend the meeting. Therefore, the first institutional signal would not be received by entrepreneurs if Article 35 of the Chinese Constitution is not fully implemented.
In addition to the meetings on the two cases, Unirule Institute of Economics also held other seminars on cases related to entrepreneurs, such as cases of Sun Dawu and Kechiley. It is fair to say that Unirule Institute of Economics is one of the few private organizations in China that spoke out for private enterprises. We have also set up a China Entrepreneur Research Centre that publishes Index of the Survival and Development Environment for Private Enterprises every year and organizes seminars on the same topic. In the end of 2016, Unirule Institute of Economics published a Report on the Tax Burden of Chinese Private Enterprises and the Tax Reform that undertook surveys and meetings with over 100 entrepreneurs and 113 valid questionnaires in 4 provinces and key cities. This report found that the tax burden for Chinese private enterprises was too heavy, nearing the “Death Tax Rate”. However, such a finding was immediately suppressed. What’s more serious, Beijing Unirule Consulting Co., Ltd., a company of Unirule Institute of Economics, was revoked of its registration license the same time when Mr. Xi made his address. The existence of this company sent a significant institutional signal. If this company cannot survive, what other reassurance for “one of our own” would ever work?
A second institutional signal is the effective constraint on government administrative departments. One simple and key constraint is that all of these departments should be abided by the Constitution and laws. Article 11 of the Chinese Constitution stipulates that “The state protects the lawful rights and interests of the non-public sectors of the economy, including individual and private sectors of the economy. ” All the administrative departments are but public organs established under the Constitution and should only have the mandate to serve the citizens’ constitutional rights(including non-state property rights). Therefore, one of the most important principles for them to follow is that property rights precedes administrative power. When I see that the Xushui District Land and Resources Bureau believed it had the power to confiscate the private property of a private enterprise, I know this bureau has no understanding of the Constitution and no respect for private property rights. This is not a peculiar case, it is pandemic in mainland China. Otherwise, there would not have been the mass eviction of the nonpermanent residents from Beijing, or the coercive removal or rooftop billboards. Up till today, we are still seeing many administrative departments violating property rights relentlessly without due respect for such rights. Even when such violations are called off, no one was held accountable. Therefore, there is a need for an example incident where the violation by administrative departments is punished.
A third institutional signal is judicial independence. That is the constitutional principle. Article 131 of the Chinese Constitution stipulates that “The people’s procuratorates exercise procuratorial power independently, in accordance with the provisions of law, and not subject to interference by any administrative organ, public organization or individual.” One key indicator is whether private enterprises (and of course all citizens) could get judicial services. Nowadays, one the most widely used tool to interfere judicial independence is to demand the court “not to hear” the litigation raised by private enterprises against the administrative departments. For example, when Dawu Group, a company in Hebei Province, tried to sue the local government administrative departments for removing its billboards, the local court “refused to hear the case”. Apparently, “protecting of property rights” is a widely needed public service which cannot be done by some promise of the political leaders but by the nationwide judicial system. If a court refuse to take a well-founded litigation, there is no measure of relief for the security of property rights of private enterprises. Under such a judicial system, “protecting of property rights” is no more than empty words. Besides, there is a question of whether there will be a just trial even if the court accepts the case. Is it possible to have a just trial with direct and powerful interference from the administration? Apparently not. The due process of law is the first to take the impact.
For instance, in Chongqing’s “Crashing Crashing Black Crime” there was even ridiculous scenes where the consignor report on their lawyers. In Li Zhuang’s trial, a famous lawyer, eight witnesses were prevented from attending the trial. In the second instance of the Wang Chengzhong case in Liaoyuan Intermediate People’s Court, the judge were colleagues of the defendants’ and yet still involved in the trial. In addition to being directly involved in the trial and pressuring the witnesses, what we also see that is commonly practiced is pressuring the non-governmental subjects, such as pressuring the lawyers hired by private enterprises. This indicates that the government departments consider the judicial system their own tool instead of a mechanism that generates justice. In general, Chinese judicial system cannot fully implement the judicial independence principle of the Constitution, and understandably is not trusted by people, especially private entrepreneurs. Hence, in order to change people’s perception of this system, a series of example events should be undertaken, such as 1) punishing the courts that refuse to take well-founded cases; 2) punishing the administrative personnel that pressure lawyers or witnesses; and 3) punishing courts that are not following the due process of law, etc.. It is not hard to find such cases. What’s needed is resolve.
As long as such institutional signals are sent and institutional reforms are undertaken full heartedly, with or without reassurance, people will find themselves reassured. Even though the conventional short term utilitarian goals are being met, the effect of reassurances decreases the more it is used, till such measures become invalid. therefore, even for the purpose of the present situation, the ruling authorities should adopt institutional changes that has a long term perspective. In the meantime, the authorities should also adopt a long term strategy, instead of being trapped with the short term tactics. A shift from focusing on the interest of the authorities’ own to a focus on the interest of everyone is needed. Even though it feels like a change under pressing situations, it is about time that a transcending mentality was adopted. What we see now, be it suppression of expression, indulgence of administrative departments, or distortion of the judicial system, are a mentality of games, that is dealing with problems from the win-or-lose point of view. However, in fact, those who win in this one game will eventually lose in repetitive games. To explain, one would make more misjudgment and mistakes if he suppresses others’ complaints and criticism; one would not gain assets but evidence of crimes when he abuses administrative power to take over other people’s property; the direct interference on judicial independence is likely to lead to injustice to himself in the end. Therefore, a fair institution is the best institution for the ruling authorities as well as for everyone else.
What we see in China today is a perfect demonstration of how the market(private property) is supplemented by rule of law(limit on public power) in principle and in practice. This relation was discovered by Mancur Olson. In an article “Dictatorship, Democracy, and Development”, he wrote “the conditions that are needed to have the individual rights needed for maximum economic development are exactly the same conditions that are needed to have a lasting democracy. Obviously, a democracy is not viable if individuals, including the leading rivals of the administration in power, lack the rights to free speech and to security for their property and contracts or if the rule of law is not followed even when it calls for the current administration to leave office. Thus the same court system, independent judiciary, and respect for law and individual rights that are needed for a lasting democracy are also required for security of property and contract rights.” That is to say the market economy implies the principle of rule of law that constrains the public power. Besides, there is no room for maneuver between protection of private property rights and not limiting public powers. To address the problems we are faced with today, we need a long term strategy.
Confucius once said “I would rather walk my life than talk my life.” Institutions are not abstract. Institutions emerge from the interaction among people. That explains why institutional changes would be accompanied by specific actions and the institutional signals that come with them. We also should believe that people are not significantly smarter than others. If we are to play another game of pacifying and pretending to be pacified, we are merely wasting precious time. In the various specific actions, judicial reform seems to be the most important. Because the judicial institution is one that showcases to the public the just rules of conduct by judicial cases, instead of one that supervises everyone and interferes with their affairs every minute. The latter cannot be implemented, because it cannot decide who is suppose to supervise whom. The just judgement of a case benefits the authorities more than a judgement that favors the authorities(such as local governments), because it wins the authorities credibility and integrity. In this light, in the dire situation where private enterprises are not doing well and Manny private entrepreneurs are losing confidence in the economy, it is only right to turn the table by implementing constitutional rights, judicial independence, and limiting administrative powers as a start for further reforms.
Translated by Mr. MA Junjie, This essay was first published by FT Chinese on December 5th, 2018: http://www.ftchinese.com/story/001080522?full=y
Chanyu dreamed unifying all of countries, Strong army shocked Han Dynasty; However the One who can unify doesn't love killing Lonely ruin left among desert is Tongwan City.
Fire surges as ice,
Water waves without sound;
Everything keeps changing,
The unchanged is the way of God.
On mountain, the favorite of benevolents， There are different beauties of plants; Canyon is colored by the wind of autumn, Under sunshine leaves are as if poem.
On June 27, 2020, I saw SOS for help from two places, one from Shanshuizui community and the other from Wayao Village. Both said that there would be up to a thousand of police and employed demolition personnel to besiege the community and carry out illegal demolition.
Shanshuizui community is located in Yesanpo, Laishui County, Hebei Province, with Juma River in front and Ruyi Peak in the back, with pleasant scenery. This is a villa area with complete legal procedures. Its opening sale of 2012 was a proud project of the local government at that time. However, on April 21, 2020, the Management Committee of Yesanpo scenic area suddenly posted a notice on demolition violation, claiming that the residential buildings in Shanshuizui community were “illegal buildings” and ordered the owners to demolish them within three days. In the face of doubt, the local government responded with “it was legal at that time, but it is not in line with the plan now”, and its ignorance of the rule of law made it to be laughed nationwide. The owners rushed back to fight against illegal demolition. They created the public WeChat account of Shanshui Speaking, published rights protection articles, and held an oath to “defend the Constitution and protect the homes”. They were in a standoff with the local administration for two months. During this period, the government unilaterally proposed the compensation scheme and induced the owner to sign. But we don’t know the specific arrangement of the compensation plan, nor have we heard of any negotiation.
Wayao is the name of a village in Changping District of Beijing. The villa area of Wayao Village is composed of several communities on the mountain south of Wayao Village, including Authors’ village, Shanzuo courtyard, Guanyun, Russian style garden and Presburg. It is said that there are more than 1800 households in total. Wayao villa group was first developed with the theme of “Wayao Cultural Industry Creative Park”. It is a key project launched by Changping District Government in 2003. There were dozens of writers and artists in the earliest Authors’ village. Wayao Village has attracted more than 1000 senior intellectuals, most of whom are university professors, writers, actors, doctors, and financial circles, political and legal circles. They have put in more than 3 billion yuan to settle down in Wayao Village with their savings or even the money from selling downtown houses. These villas are jointly built by Wayao Village and developers, and sold in the form of franchise members’ right to use them. In 2012, the court ruled that the villa in Wayao was illegal, and the owners refused to accept it. Some people filed an administrative lawsuit, but there was no information afterward. On June 15, 2020, some houses in the community were pasted with “forced demolition notice”, which limited the owners to move out and demolish them within 7 days.
Sure enough, on the second day of SOS, on June 28, 2020, Laishui county government launched an attack on Shanshuizui community. According to the Shanshui Speaking, “at 6 o’clock in the morning, the Laishui county government led more than 1000 staff members and more than 1000 special policemen forcibly entered Shanshuizui community. Four people have been arrested and many people’s mobile phones have been robbed. Two owners fainted. An old man had a heart attack. The number of injured is still unclear. If somebody’s voice of opposition is louder, he or she would be captured out What’s more, someone even stepped on one of the female owners and (June 28, 2020) in order to force the residents and cover up the illegal behavior of the demolishers, they cut off water, power and power in advance. In order to facilitate access from the riverway beside the residential area, the demolishers also destroyed the dam and let the water run out (Shanshui Speaking, June 27, 2020). After June 28, many owners lost contact, and Shanshuizui’s WeChat public account, “Shanshui Speaking”, was also “voluntarily cancelled”.
In the early morning of June 29, 2020, information and videos I got showed in Changping, Beijing, police and demolition workers attacked Wayao Village again. Five police cars led the way, followed by hired demolition workers pushing into the residents’ lines. The owners fought hard to defend their homes. During the attack, the demolishers used hot pepper water and tear gas to drive away the anti-demolition owners. A woman was knocked down and trampled, some residents were injured, and some residents fainted in the tense confrontation. More than a dozen owners are said to have been kidnapped, including Cao Bisong, a physicist at Tsinghua University. In this process, the forcible demolition also took the means of cutting off the network. Police and employed demolition personnel finally captured the villa area of Wayao, and quickly illegally demolished dozens of houses, and continued to block the villa area. On July 2, power was cut off in Wayao villa area, and on July 7, many houses were pasted with “notice on demolition within a time limit” issued by Changping court.
Of course, from the perspective of legal procedures, there are still some differences between Wayao villa area and Shanshuizui community. Laishui Yesanpo Scenic Area Management Committee’s “Notice of demolition within a time limit” on April 21 is only an administrative penalty. The owners have the right of administrative reconsideration and administrative litigation, and the effective period of administrative litigation is to October 20. Therefore, this forced demolition is obviously in violation of the Administrative Compulsory Law. In 2012, Changping District Court has ruled that some villa areas in Wayao are “illegal buildings”. Because the owners didn’t receive the written judgment, their legal response is somewhat scattered, resulting in this forced demolition in the name of the court, and court vehicles and police were deployed. However, the two forcibly demolitions did not give fair compensation to the third party in good faith, so there was no legality of the forcibly demolitions on the whole (detailed later). The most serious violation of the two evictions is the public use of up to 1000 police officers to intervene in the demolition. The police was originally set up to protect citizens’ constitutional rights. To use the police for forced demolition is to use it for the purpose opposite to the constitutional purpose, that is, to abuse the police force. What’s more, it also violates the State Council’s ban on “using public security police to participate in forced land acquisition and demolition” (General Office of the State Council, 2010).
The second serious violation is the use of financial funds to hire a large number of demolition personnel to act as thugs. Since forced demolition is illegal, employing personnel to participate in forced demolition is an illegal contract, and the acts of these demolishing personnel are also illegal. The financial revenue comes from the tax payment of citizens, including those whose houses have been forcibly demolished. It is intended to be used for the government to fulfill its constitutional obligations, rather than for other aspects, especially for the forced demolition in violation of the Constitution and the law. The forced demolition by employing personnel also violates the Budget Law and exceeds the scope of financial funds. The two forced demolition incidents employed hundreds even thousands of demolition personnel. It is said that tens of millions of Yuan were spent in the illegal demolition of Changping tile kiln. While deterring residents from defending their homes, they are also challenging the Constitution and the laws.
The third noteworthy point is that in addition to the previous illegal acts of water and power failure, the two forced demolition incidents also increased illegal acts such as shielding mobile phones, spraying hot pepper water, throwing tear gas, and damaging dams. The act of shielding mobile phones first violates the freedom of communication and expression protected by the constitution, which makes mobile phone users unable to transmit information for help to the outside at the time of crisis. At the same time, it covers up the illegal acts of the local government, and also violates the “crime of damaging public telecommunications facilities” in the criminal law. Only when the police are authorized to spray hot pepper water and throw tear gas can they be implemented cautiously in the public sphere. The hired demolition personnel are not the police, but the private sector personnel, so they have no right to use such “weapons”. What’s more, they were used in the invasion of Wayao community, and they had already entered the private territory of the owners of the community, which became an illegal act of attacking others. According to Article 114 of the criminal law, “the penalty is not less than three years but not more than ten years.” In a word, the two forced demolition incidents, especially the demolition of Laishui County, took more illegal actions and reached the peak in the history of forced demolition.
Why do they dare to commit so many illegal acts? Is there a “Imperial Sword” given by the superior administrative department, to make them not be afraid of breaking the law? I thought so before. However, I recently saw a record on the Internet about the “national call conference on rectifying illegal villas”. I don’t know whether it is true or not. If it is true, it will not be so. Although, I hold a negative attitude towards the premise of this “conference call”. The theme of the whole conference, that is, to “rectify illegal villas” is a problematic administrative goal. Villa as a form of residence should not be “rectified”. Especially in China, the word “villa” is quite ambiguous. In the eyes of many populists, the demolition of a villa is at least not sympathetic. However, the Chinese “villa” refers to the city people’s houses in the countryside, which is a kind of ordinary residence, corresponding to the house in English. Especially in today’s city land prices soaring and private cars have become popular, to buy “houses” in the suburbs is a way to avoid high house prices, not to inconvenience life, but also to live decent form. Therefore, the implication of “renovating villas” to crack down on powerful or corrupt officials obviously conceals the fact that most villa owners are middle class or even lower income people.
The main reason for rectifying villas is to “protect the environment”. But the house in a society has higher value and significance, it contains personality right and property right, including family affection and cultural value. Although sometimes it may conflict with “environment”, the solution is not to rectify or demolish, but to develop new solutions or methods under the premise of protecting the right of residence, with the goal of ensuring the harmony between human settlements and the environment. Of course, what’s more important is that if the construction of villas in the past is really in conflict with the environment, new rules can be used to limit the increment, instead of demolishing the houses that people have lived in for many years. The latter is obviously, not to say the worst, the clumsiest solution. In this “record of the call conference”, a notice issued by the State Council in 2004 is also used as the standard to judge whether the construction is “in violation of the law”. This is to place the administrative departments’ documents above the laws, and it is also a problem that the administrative officials cannot distinguish between the government documents and the law. However, there are also some statements in this “record of the call conference” that are worth affirming and can be used to reduce the destructiveness of the current illegal demolition campaign.
For example, the first is the definition of “illegal villa” by Mr. Lu Hao and Mr. Han Zheng. If the definitions of Lu Hao and Han Zheng are put together, the scope is very narrow. One is “great damage to the ecological environment”; the other is “intertwined with substantive and procedural violations”, and it was built after 2004. According to the definition of “illegal villas”, both Wayao villa area and Shanshuizui community are not qualified. According to legal theory, if we want to prove that these two places have “great damage to the ecological environment”, Laishui county and Changping district government should bear the burden of proof.
According to data, the area where Wayao villa is located was originally a mountain wasteland, and its geological structure is andesitic porphyrite and marl. If the status quo is better than the original mountain wasteland, there is no “destruction”. We did not find the “2012 Changzhi Zi No. 25 administrative ruling” mentioned in the Changping court’s “deadline demolition notice” and the relevant “Beijing land and land (Chang) sub Bureau punishment Zi (2011) No. 58 punishment letter”. We don’t know how Wayao villa district “destroyed” the ecological environment. However, judging from the fact that the two documents were not made public, the government at least failed to fulfill the burden of proof for the determination of “illegal construction” in Wayao villa area. Only in the reply letter from Changping District natural resources and Planning Bureau to Wayao residents, we can see that it implies that Wayao Village is classified as “ecological control area” in the “Beijing urban master plan (2016-2035)”. However, in the previous planning, it was “conditional construction land”. This kind of planning change not only violates the provisions of the Urban and Rural Planning Law to solicit experts and public opinions (Article 26), but also classifies the areas with a large number of residential buildings into “ecological control areas”, which obviously contains malice. What’s more, “Law does not rule the past.”
There are mountains and water in Yesanpo scenic area where Shanshuizui community is located. Therefore, Shanshuizui gets its name and the owners buy their houses. Human settlement and environment are so mutual promotion and complement each other. In the “notice on demolition within a time limit” on April 21, the Management Committee of Yesanpo did not cite any legal provisions or any illegal evidence. It just arbitrarily said that “the illegal villas located in Xiazhuang village and Duya village, Sanpo Town, Laishui County will be demolished.” It doesn’t even have the form of legitimacy. And we did not see any words related to “Shanshuizui” on the website of Laishui county government and its Bureau of natural resources and planning, that is to say, it did not provide evidence, how to identify “great damage to the ecological environment”?
And then look at “substantive illegality and procedural illegality interweave”. The so-called “procedural illegality” refers to the failure to comply with the legal procedures for building and buying and selling houses. In the market economy, the commercial housing is obtained through purchase, and its legal procedure is to sign a contract with the seller, fulfill the contractual obligations, pay the house price, and the other party delivers the house, which should be regarded as fulfilling the legal procedure. If the house seller needs to purchase relevant resources, such as land, when building a house, it should also perform due process of law, pay money to the land seller, and ensure that the purchased land is not prohibited by law from building houses. In this sense, the owners of Wayao villa and Shanshui Zui community have obviously fulfilled the legal procedures. Of course, the “procedural violations” referred to in the “record of call conference” focus more on the legal procedures of land use, but we also do not see the evidence from the government. And if there is any defect, it is not the responsibility of the owner, but the builder-seller. As for Shanshuizui community, it is the so-called “complete five certificates”, and there is no “procedural violation”.
The so-called “substantive violation” means that the illegal act has caused bad results. Here, it overlaps with “great damage to the ecological environment”. The fact is, after the formation and development of Wayao villa area, the owners have improved the local ecological environment through hard work and introduction of Technology (all franchisees of Wayao cultural and creative industry cluster area, 2018). According to the previous discussion, since Laishui county government and Changping District government did not provide evidence, and there was no cross examination process, it was impossible to determine that Shanshuizui community and Wayao villa district were “substantially illegal”. It should also be seen here that Lu Hao’s definition is that if there are both “procedural violations” and “substantive violations”, that is, “procedural violations” and “great damage to the ecological environment,” then the premise of remediation, even the most severe means of remediation, “forced demolition” would be formed. If there is only “substantial violation” or “great damage to the ecological environment”, but there is no “procedural violation”, the actor should not be punished, but remedial measures should be considered. For example, the drainage of buildings with risk of water pollution should be rectified to ensure that the water source will not be polluted. If the appearance of the building causes damage to the scenic area, the appearance of the building can also be changed. If there is a real need to change the location of the building, since the original location is agreed by the government, the government should also compensate another similar location of land.
If it is only a “procedural violation” but not a “substantive violation”, that is, there is no “great damage to the ecological environment”, which means that the construction of the building has not caused damage to the parties, neighbors and society, and should not be “rectified” or even “forcibly demolished”. Lu Hao also stressed that “for procedural violations, it should be classified according to the approval procedures obtained and the actual situation. ” If a building brings good results, it is in line with the natural law. The so-called “legal procedure” that does not conform to the natural law is only a kind of artificial law, which is inevitably lower than the natural law. At this time, in order to maintain the current legal system, we should warn and criticize procedural violations, and instruct them to complete legal procedures, but there is no reason to “rectify” or “forcibly dismantle”. In a longer period of time, unreasonable “legal procedures” can also be reformed. As in the whole period of reform and opening up, reform measures often do not conform to the legal procedures at that time. However, due to the good results of reform and opening up, the “procedural violations” during the reform will not be investigated, but the Constitution and laws may be gradually changed in the process of legislation and amendment in the future.
Only when “substantive illegal” and “procedural illegal” exist at the same time, can “illegal construction” be identified and “rectification” be considered, but it is not necessary to “forcibly demolish”. Because the house is a valuable property, and constitutes an important condition for the survival of residents, it should not be demolished if it cannot be demolished. Even if it is necessary to demolish, the original residents should be settled before demolition. In addition to forced demolitions, there are many punitive measures and remedial measures. On this basis, using Han Zheng’s definition, that is, the villas after the “State Council notice” in 2004, the number of illegal villas that need to be renovated is less than 1 / 10000, and only a few cases should be forced to demolish.
The second place that can be used for reference in the record of “national call conference on rectifying illegal villas” is that Lu Hao emphasizes “protecting their litigation rights.” “They” are the owners threatened to demolish. Therefore, even if some local governments improperly expand the scope of the so-called “illegal villas” for the sake of political performance competition and profit seeking, there are also legal constraints to reduce or even completely eliminate forced demolition. The owners of Shanshui drunk were only told to be forced to demolish on April 21. According to the administrative compulsory law, they have the right to carry out administrative reconsideration and administrative litigation, and the effective period of administrative litigation is six months, that is, before October 20, if they file an administrative lawsuit, they can not forcibly demolish. Obviously, the Laishui county government of Hebei Province invaded Shanshuizui community on June 28, far from reaching the validity period of administrative litigation, so it should not demolish by force. In 2012, the Changping court found that the Wayao villa was illegal and was to be demolished. It was only issued to the building seller of the villa, Wayao Village, without notifying the owners with significant interests. As a result, they had no way or difficulty in effective legal response and could also be regarded as incomplete legal process. Therefore, on June 29, Changping District dispatched police and demolition personnel to attack Wayao Village It’s illegal.
Lu Hao also pointed out that “the responsibility of the government should not be simply shifted to market entities and individuals, and the compensation should be reasonable.” If we follow this principle, even if the local government has broken through the identification of “illegal villas” and bypassed the due process of legal relief of the parties concerned, they should compensate the bona fide third party before forcibly demolishing. The so-called “bona fide third party” means that there is no fault in the transaction process, and only believes in good faith that the products sold by the seller are legal. However, if there are legal problems with the other party’s products, such as a stolen car, when the original owner recovers it, it should not damage the bona fide third party, the cash buyer. However, in almost all cases of illegal demolition, the result is to damage the buyer of the house. If it is really a “illegal villa”, the builder is usually the cooperation between the local village and the developer, and the owner is only the buyer. If the government declares the building “illegal”, it is illegal for the builder and the seller to obtain or use the land. When selling, there are many local government officials to help promotion, and the owners of the houses could not know those houses are illegal when purchasing, so they are absolutely bona fide third party.
Therefore, even if it is “illegal construction”, according to the legal principle, after the third party in good faith “obtains the ownership of the movable or real estate, the original owner shall not ask the transferee to return the property, but can only ask the transferor (the possessor) to compensate for the loss.” Apart from various legal constraints, the legal power of a government agency to demolish a house can be broken down into three steps. The first is to declare the ownership of the house illegal; the second is to transfer the property right to its own name; the third is to demolish it. This is equivalent to government agencies becoming “original owners”. However, according to the protection of the bona fide third party, the original owner can only ask the transferor (seller) to compensate for the loss. Since “return” is not required, the property right of the owner’s house is still legal. Only by placing the building under its own property rights can the government demolish the building itself, that is, the government can not demolish the house owned by others. It can only be demolished after the original builder and the seller “compensate for the loss” to a bona fide third party and transfer the property right of the house to its own name.
The so-called “compensation for losses” does not only mean “compensation according to market value”, because the market price of a commodity is formed on the margin, that is, the person who offers the lowest price within the balanced quantity of supply and demand. Therefore, anyone who does not want to sell his house under the existing market price will definitely value his house higher than the market price. In particular, the residences that have lived and operated for many years have condensed family affection, cherished good memories, precipitated courtyard ingenuity, and cultivated community culture. Therefore, it is several times, dozens of times higher than the market price. As US Judge Posner said, “due to the cost of demolition and the emotional or special needs for his property, the value given to his property by the owner is often greater than the market price If the government expropriates their property and only gives them market price compensation, these people will feel hurt. ” Therefore, “fair market price is fair compensation” only when it is for “public use” (quoted from Zhang Libin, 2007) if not, the compensation should be higher than the market price.
However, in reality, the seller of Wayao villas, Changping District, is unable or unwilling to compensate. The grass-roots government that declared the Wayao villas “illegal construction” was the government department that sold the villas at the time of the sale. Wayao villa district was identified as “cultural and creative industry cluster area” by Changping District in 2009. The district government provided supporting funds for the infrastructure of Liucun town government. Jin Shudong, the then district chief, personally helped to promote the villa district. Even if the seller and the government are not integrated body, they are inextricably linked. Therefore, even if we assume that the Wayao villas are “illegal buildings”, the “original owner” (i.e. the government) claims compensation from the illegal “transferor” (i.e. the seller), that is, the Liucun town government itself “claims compensation” to itself, which has nothing to do with the owners of the Wayao villas. They are protected by law as bona fide third parties. If the government wants to demolish the Wayao villas, it must make full compensation in advance. It is illegal to make compensation even on the day after the demolition, because it damages a third party in good faith. However, in Changping District Court, the sellers and purchasers of villas are called “executed person” and “illegal construction user” respectively in the notice of demolition within the time limit, which deliberately obliterates the relationship between the “Transferor” and the “bona fide third party”. Is it not using the control of judicial power to get rid of the compensation liability of Changping Liucun town (transferor) to the owner (bona fide third party) ?
The problem is that since according to Lu Hao’s definition of “illegal villas”, the “litigation rights” of the parties are “protected” and their legitimate rights and interests are protected, and “reasonable compensation should be made for them”, and then the final decision on whether to forcibly demolish the villas should be made according to the actual situation, few villas could be demolished. Recently, Hanbi building in Qingdao, Aoshan international in Changping, Yunju in Banshan, Fairy Tale Hill House, wooden house in Oubei, Laishui Shanshuizui, Wayao villa district, etc., which have been illegally demolished recently, will hardly be regarded as “illegal construction”, and would not be forced to demolish before the judicial process is completed, nor before the owner as a goodwill third party has not been fully compensated. But in fact, they were illegally demolished. Why? Let’s note that in the record of the “national call conference on illegal building of villas”, Lu Hao said, “we should leave policy space for the local government” and “we can’t allow one-size-fits-all kind.” This seems to be a good principle. This is that the local government has the discretion in “rectifying illegal villas” and can have a lot of space to tradeoff. This is a good thing. We can start from the long-term interests of the region, ease the impact of the above instructions, protect the interests of local people and stabilize the development of the local economy in the context of the bleak economy and epidemic situation. However, the results we see are quite different. Why is this?
This is because a matter, good or bad, as long as it is a task of the government, it must be regarded as a political achievement of the local government. Even if it is not publicly assessed, it is also a factor to be taken into consideration when officials are promoted. Therefore, local governments will try their best to achieve “political achievements”, and what they are good at is to make use of the government’s advantageous functions and resources, which is mainly the advantage in violence. The most extreme violence is forced demolition. Although it does not show direct violence in many cases, either persuasion or threat will more or less borrow violence as a backing to have an impact. When the party is coerced by the government, the result will be worse than the voluntary behavior. For example, Wang Anshi of the Northern Song Dynasty carried out the Young Crops Law, which was intended to help the poor when they have no money. However, once this was regarded as a political achievement of local officials, they forced the poor to borrow money by any means, and the rich guaranteed them. In the end, the poor couldn’t pay back the money, and the rich people guaranteeing went bankrupt. If local officials consider not only “political achievements”, but also “politics”, the word “worse” should be added because it not only means to gain recognition with “achievements”, but also to “show loyalty” with “excessive implementation” to gain additional opportunities.
In today’s Shandong Province, the situation of farmers under “merging villages and Living together” movement is getting worse and the people are in dire straits. Some people even say that it is “good intention to do bad things”. As mentioned above, even “good intentions” are bound to “do bad things. “Because the urbanization of the countryside should be carried out in the form of market, that is, the individual can calculate according to their cost and income, and decide whether to transfer their family residence to other places. As long as the houses in the countryside can be freely traded, as long as the people can move and settle freely, the process will show the result if the time is long enough, just as the urbanization in Chinese mainland has been in the forty years since the reform and opening up. Just as the government has no ability to formulate a production plan better than the market allocation, it also has no ability to find the optimal allocation of land in space. Therefore, it is a kind of “Fatal Conceit” for government officials to promote merging villages and living together. What’s more, Shandong officials are not so pure. Some analysts say that their purpose is to obtain the income from the sale of construction land quota (He Xuefeng, 2020). In fact, if the land released can sell the construction land quota, the beneficiaries should not be the government, but the land owner farmers. In fact, it is illegal for the government to do so, and it is a snatch of farmers’ land interests.
“Performance competition” is obviously an important motivation. In the “policy space” of the local government, there may be a great impetus to lean towards the direction of evil rather than the direction of good. Taking 1 / 10000 as a reasonable ratio, the Beijing municipal government publicly declared that “more than 4000 hectares of land is planned to be demolished and vacated” (Beijing Development and Reform Commission, 2020), that is, 40 square kilometers, about 2.8% of Beijing’s built-up area of 1485 square kilometers. It should be noted that this is only a one-year forced demolition plan. From 2013 to 2019, about 190 square kilometers have been demolished (Geng Nuo, 2017; Beijing Evening News, 2018; Zhang Nan, Zhang Ao, 2019). Therefore, on the whole, the planned area of demolishing illegal buildings in Beijing is about 15.5% of the total area of the built-up area. Making a “plan” of the demolished building area in advance violates the definition of “illegal villas” by Lu and Han, which is 1550 times of the estimated value of 1 / 10000. Moreover, Professor Sun Liping pointed out that the mayor of a district in Beijing complained to him that his task in one year was to demolish a million square meters of houses. “No matter where it is demolished, as long as one million square meters are demolished, the district chief will continue to be in his office, otherwise, let another person who will be able to demolish the one million square meters to be the district chief.” This clearly shows that the “policy space” given by the central government to the local government has become a vicious space for the “performance competition” with the “demolition area” as the quantitative index.
Of course, there are more direct and explicit interest motives than the Shandong government wants to sell construction land indicators for self-interest. For example, in 2017, a large number of houses were forcibly demolished in Xihongmen Town, Daxing, Beijing, which caused a shocking event of “driving out foreign residents” at home and abroad. The direct reason is the urban consolidation and the “reduced development” of Beijing. In fact, the town government takes advantage of this to directly seize the land of rural collective. At that time, Xihongmen Town was the only pilot project of “rural collective land entering the market” in Beijing, and “rural collective” was mainly the concept of collective organization with village or natural village as the unit. However, because Xihongmen Town was close to the urban area of Beijing, the land market value was extremely high, which caused the salivation of the town government. In the northern suburbs of Beijing, there is also a clear motive for land grabbing. For example, the market value of land in Beiqijia area, Changping District, Beijing is very high, but in 2020, the government will only pay compensation for land acquisition at 200000 yuan per mu. In the same town, the price of a piece of land listed for sale in 2018 is as high as 37.77 million yuan per mu (Beijing natural resources and Planning Commission, 2018), with a price difference of more than 100 times. Changping District has a special position in Beijing, because it is close to Chaoyang District and Haidian District. It is the tradition of Beijing that the upper wind and upper water are the good direction. The suburbanization extends naturally to Changping District. As a result, Changping’s population more than doubled from 2000 to 2017, and land prices also increased rapidly. Therefore, the land price of many residential areas built 10-20 years ago is not what it used to be. This may be one of the reasons why Changping District has the most illegal demolition and the worst means in Beijing.
The question is, according to the principles of “protecting litigation rights” and “protecting legitimate rights and interests”, there should be few forced evictions. Why are illegal evictions so rampant in places like Beijing? As long as we take a look at the tone of these administrative superiors, we can see that such a statement is a kind of unilateral self-discipline without compulsory requirements, which can only be found in the minds of local officials. If they do not have this “heart”, there will be no punishment, and the legitimate rights and interests of owners and litigation rights can not be protected. So the legal protection is greatly discounted. The reason why they say this is because, first, they should be politically correct on the surface. If there is a problem, they can use this as a shield to evade their responsibilities; second, as administrative officials, they do not want to be restricted by the Constitution and laws. If they punish local governments for breaking the law, they will recognize that the Constitution and the laws also constrains them. Third, administrative officials may also want to expand the scope of forced demolition, but they do not want to bear direct responsibility. Therefore, they connive at local officials’ violation of the law, but will not really punish their illegal acts.
Of course, since “policy space” is the discretionary space of local governments, it means that different local governments are more friendly or malicious because of their different personalities, and there will be different results. We also see that there are some places where illegal demolition is more prominent. Generally speaking, in addition to moral considerations, forced demolition is inversely proportional to wisdom. The more stupid and prone to illegal demolition, the larger the scope of forced demolition, and the worse the means of forced demolition. This is because violence is the simplest way. If happening to have public violence in hand, even a fool can use it. Because he doesn’t know how to work without violence. It takes wisdom to reconcile conflicting interests in public governance and political structures and to propose peaceful solutions. Second, the more knowledge is lacking, the more we will only see the immediate interests and ignore the long-term interests. Those local officials who try their best to demolish houses only see that catering to the current “leader’s intention” may be promoted, but they can’t see that this only highlights their tool value and will not be respected. Once there is a problem, they are more likely to be taken as scapegoats. Thirdly, such people also lack vision. They don’t know that it will be his lifetime nightmare, if he seriously damages civil rights in order to flatter leaders.
Therefore, on the one hand, we are sure that there are still some places worthy of borrowing in the “national video and telephone conference on illegal building villas” in order to curb illegal demolition. On the other hand, we should also point out that none of these places worthy of affirmation has played a role in practice. Fundamentally speaking, a government should not regard the demolition of the so-called “illegal villas” as its task, let alone hold such a meeting. If there is a “illegal villa”, only as a judicial case, the relevant local natural resources management department may file a lawsuit. As long as the government carries out a campaign on one thing, it will inevitably lead to bad results. This is because in a society, the scale and energy of the government are too large. Once it is started, it will inevitably break the equilibrium formed by the market, and the result will be bad. According to the TV series “Qingpingyue”, Emperor Renzong of Song once patronized a candied fruit shop with good intentions. As a result, the raw materials of the candied fruit shop became expensive due to other people’s competing to follow suit, leading to bankruptcy. In spite of the fact that in the campaign launched by the government, it has often been stressed that “attention should not be overdone” and that “voluntariness” should be emphasized, but it doesn’t work. At that time, there were some problems in Wang Anshi’s Young Crops Law, and the Song Dynasty repeatedly stressed that people could not be forced to borrow money, but this tendency still could not be stopped. Su Shi criticizes that “it is just an empty paper that the loan cannot be borrowed forcibly.”
The same is true in recent decades of history. In the process of agricultural collectivization in the 1950s, farmers were “voluntary” in principle, but in fact they were forced. Mo Yan’s novel “Life and Death Fatigue” vividly describes the scene. If local officials saw Mao Zedong waiting for the establishment of one million cooperatives by 1955, would they wait for farmers to “volunteer”? Therefore, if the government takes an issue as its task and says that it allows the people to “volunteer”, it is actually self-deception. After media exposure and criticism by scholars, the leaders of Shandong Province quickly came out to stop the movement and reiterated “respect for the wishes of farmers”. In fact, this is another “voluntary”. According to an entrepreneur who knows Shandong very well, he was very happy with the suspension of “merging villages and living together”. Later, “after asking other friends in Shandong, he realized that he did not stop the” dismantling the village and living together. ” (Lu, 2020) therefore, if we really want to stop this kind of government behavior of forcibly demolishing under the banner of “merging villages and living together”, the only way to stop this kind of government behavior is to completely stop the combination of villages. The government should return to its very duty to provide a safe, just and orderly institutional environment for the market to play its role.
Of course, to say “give local government policy space” also allows us to see clearly one thing, that is, the illegal demolition of specific areas is directly caused by the local government, which should bear the main legal responsibility. In fact, I only emphasized theoretically that the local government, especially the top leaders of the party and government at the district and county level, should bear legal responsibility for illegal demolition. I once stressed to Dai Binbin, Secretary of the Huairou District Committee of the Communist Party of China, “In Huairou District, if a brick is illegally demolished, and a resident is knocked off a hair by the demolisher, it must be your legal responsibility.” Now this assumption is more practical. Since the “national call conference on the illegal villas” on the one hand proposed that “in accordance with the law and regulations”, to “protect their litigation rights”, “to protect their legitimate rights and interests”, “to make reasonable compensation for those should be compensated”, on the other hand, “to give policy space to the local government”, this means that all acts of forced demolition that seriously deviate from the above-mentioned principles are committed by the local government In the “policy space”, these acts not only violate the Constitution and law, but also violate the requirements of higher administrative departments. Therefore, the top leaders in these areas should bear the legal responsibility of illegal demolition.
So, how to solve this problem? The central government puts forward an improper government goal, but it is used to putting forward unilateral constraints, suggesting that its subordinates respect the Constitution and law, while the local government ignores the Constitution and laws for the sake of political performance competition and land finance, and the central government does not punish them. The problem seems to be unsolved. Because there is no solution, there is a solution. The so-called “no solution” is the illegal forced demolition of Laishui county government and Changping District government. Now it seems that there is no institutional constraint. The so-called “solution” is that they will eventually encounter constraints, which is the resistance of the people forced to demolish. When Laishui County forced demolition team to attack Shanshuizui community, they met resistance. Some owners were injured in the resistance, some people were illegally kidnapped, and the police and other demolition teams finally rushed in. When the demolition team of Changping District attacked Wayao Village, they met with stronger resistance. The police and the employed demolitions took out chili water to spray the resisters, threw tear gas shells, the defenders used shit packs to fight back, and some sprayed into the invaders with sprayers. After a period of stalemate between the two sides, Wayao villa area was finally captured. Although the demolishers have achieved “victory” in both attacks, they not only encounter the obstruction of the owners with their bodies on the road they invade, but also the people behind the demolishers also receive a strong signal from the home defenders: This is my legal residence, this is my home, please leave!
The “victory” of the demolishers only relies on temporary advantages, that is, stealing the name of the government, abusing police force and administrative resources, 10 times the number than that of resistance, and more powerful “weapons”. But this is a team that has no fighting spirit, is too shy to show up and dare not face up to it. Through the video, we can see that at the intersection, the resisters shout “get back” to the police. A person in the shape of an official turned his back when he was scolded by the house owners, and deliberately did not let others take pictures of her face. And those who demolish people, most of them are cheated, only know how much money to give a day. Among them, a number of minors were temporarily employed by the security company, and their ID cards were withheld and no wages were paid for two months. It is said that 800 temporary personnel were recruited during the invasion of Wayao, and more than 300 people ran away after knowing the truth. All the time, the person with the greatest legal responsibility has been hiding behind the scenes.
This shows that, even with intuition, we can feel the illegality of this demolition. If we can sort it out, the illegality of these two acts of forced demolition lies in the following aspects:
1. On the identification of “illegal construction”, the two local governments have not given evidence of “great damage to the ecological environment”, even if there is, it has not been publicized on the Internet;
2. The governments of the two places have not pointed out where the owners of Shanshuizui community and Wayao villa area violate legal procedure; punishing the citizens who are just in the procedure is equal to violating the legal procedures themselves;
3. The owners of Shanshuizui and Wayao villas, as the third party in good faith, did not get reasonable compensation;
4. Before putting up the notice of demolition within a time limit, the parties concerned were not given the “right of statement” and “the right of defense” (Article 8 of the Administrative Compulsory Law); in some villa areas of Wayao, even the “Notice of demolition within a time limit” was not posted, some houses were demolished forcibly;
5. After the parties file administrative reconsideration or administrative litigation, or before the expiration of the administrative litigation period, violate Article 44 of the Administrative Compulsory Law to forcibly demolish Shanshuizui community and Wayao villa area;
6. The use of police in forced demolition violates the provisions of the police law of the people’s Republic of China to “uphold the constitution” (Article 26), and shall not “illegally deprive or restrict the personal freedom of others, illegally search other people’s bodies, articles, residences or places” and “beat others or instigate others to beat others” (Article 22); it also violates the State Council’s “police shall not intervene in forced demolition” Prohibition;
7. Employing demolishing personnel to participate in the demolition violates the provisions of the Budget Law on the scope of financial expenditure (articles 27 and 93);
8. In the conflict with the owners, the employees of forced demolition take away some owners and deprive them of their personal freedom, which is an illegal kidnapping Act (article 239 of the criminal law);
9. The use of steel forks, hot pepper water, tear gas and other utensils by the police and the employed demolition personnel in the conflict with the owner is a serious violation of the owner and violates the “intentional injury crime” (Article 234) of the criminal law;
10. Before and during the forced demolition, the demolisher violated the administrative compulsory law and cut off water and electricity in Wayao villa area and Shanshuizui community (Article 43, paragraph 2);
11. The demolisher blocked the mobile phone and partially cut off the network, which violated the crime of damaging public telecommunication facilities (Article 124) of the Criminal Law;
12. The demolisher of Shanshuizui community also destroyed the adjacent dam, thus violating the “crime of breaking water” (Article 114) of the criminal law;
13. The demolisher blocked the residential area and restricted access, which violated the “crime of illegal detention” (article 238) of the criminal law.
14. The most important thing is that the two evictions have seriously violated the owners’ constitutional rights of personal freedom, housing rights and property rights.
In general and in a narrow sense, the forced demolition of Shanshuizui community in Laishui County and the demolition of Wayao villa area in Changping District are “abusing public power and seriously violating property rights on a large scale”. In my letter to Dai Binbin on April 3, I explained that “the abuse of public power” refers to the use of the administrative power of the government, including the resources of public violence, for acts and purposes that violate the Constitution and the laws and violate citizens’ constitutional rights.” Judging from the above-mentioned 14 articles, the two cases of forced demolition, from the determination of “illegal construction”, administrative action procedures to forced demolition, were unconstitutional and illegal, so they must be criminal acts of “abusing public power”. These behaviors obviously do not meet the requirements of “national call conference on illegal villas”, “protect their legitimate rights and interests”, “protect their litigation rights” and “make reasonable compensation for the compensation”. According to common sense, Changping District and Laishui County of the people who have legal responsibility for forced demolition should be subject to administrative punishment before legal punishment. Even if I have different opinions on the above-mentioned 14 articles, we should at least stop the demolition action, investigate these two illegal demolition incidents, and punish them according to the investigation results. Otherwise, the central government will lose its authorities and the lawlessness of local governments will not be stopped.
Since the government does not protect property rights but infringes upon them, the anti-demolition action of owners of Shanshuizui and Wayao is just, that is, self-defense. It is an act taken to stop illegal infringement in order to protect the personal, property and other rights of oneself or others from the ongoing illegal infringement (Article 20 of the criminal law). Above this is the natural law, which is everyone’s instinct and natural right to defend his own freedom, property and life. However, we can see in the video that Changping court claimed with a high pitched loudspeaker that the owners’ resistance against them was “obstructing public affairs”. Later, it was heard that the owners who were kidnapped in Wayao will be punished as “obstructing public affairs”. If the police force is used for the purpose of violating the Constitution and the law, it is obviously not “public affairs”, and to call the abuse of public power as “public affairs” is an insult to “public affairs”. In doing so, they are violating another one of the citizens’ rights for their having violated one, in an attempt to stop the victim from speaking. The reason why the two local governments can do this does not mean that they are legal, but only that they have the technical and financial ability to abuse public rights to infringe on citizens’ constitutional rights without being punished immediately, which was originally entrusted by citizens for their temporary use. It’s used against citizens, which is illegal use. This judgment will not be temporary. As long as the environment is suitable, the Constitution and laws will work.
According to the record of “national call conference on illegal villas”, this result is not expected by the central government. If it adheres to the road of legalization proposed by the Fourth Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee, and if it really wants to protect the “legitimate rights and interests” of owners and “protect their litigation rights” as they said, but there is no way to restrict them for a while, I would suggest that we should start with protecting the “litigation rights” of Shanshuizui and Wayao owners. This is not only the administrative reconsideration and administrative litigation that they refuse to accept the “illegal construction” cognizance, punishing the administrative officials and departments who interfere with the court’s acceptance; but also includes the owners’ lawsuit against any local government’s illegal behavior in the process of the two illegal demolition incidents, including those violating the Criminal Law, such as destroying public communication facilities crime, crime of illegal detention, crime of breaking dam, etc., while the object of action is the actual legal responsible person, that is, the top leaders of the party and government of these local governments, the realization of the requirements of “teleconference” will be effective soon. Because they’re tearing down houses as well as the rule of law in this country.
The real effective system is the balance between the groups of people with conflict of interest, which ultimately depends on the fight against the infringement of rights. The property right system has existed in the world for thousands of years. It is the result of the interaction between generations and generations of the people. The reform and opening-up started under the background of planned economy. It refers to the systems of the United States and other western countries, the experience of Taiwan and Hong Kong in China, and the heritage of traditional China’s property rights institution. These property rights institutions themselves are the institutional equilibrium formed by the long-term interaction of various interests. At the beginning of the reform and opening up, the rulers accepted the market system based on the property right system and regarded it as the decisive mechanism of resource allocation. In the period of planned economy, people’s original inherent rights were deprived completely, so the process of reform and opening up is characterized by “opening up” and “allowing”, which is shown as the return of civil rights. But this situation will be misunderstood as a gift from the government to citizens in the short term. Today’s officials do not remember the government’s respect for the property rights system at the beginning of the reform and opening up. They believe that the rights of unilateral “opening” and “allowing” can also be “withdrawn” and “restricted”. This actually creates a state of “no property rights”.
There are similar misunderstandings among citizens. Some people attribute the improvement of their situation under the market system to the “good policy of the party”, without thinking about what it will be like once their rights are “withdrawn” and “restricted”. When illegal evictions happen to them, they suddenly realize that the rights that are not guaranteed by the rule of law will disappear as soon as possible. And the rule of law is not only a set of constitutional and legal provisions, but also requires citizens to practice, that is, when their rights are violated, they should come forward, activate the Constitution and laws, and protect their rights. The recent action of Wayao and Shanshui Zui owners to defend their homes under the banner of the constitution will be an important time node, which marks people’s awareness that rights are not given unilaterally, but are protected. The action of the owners of Wayao and Shanshui Zui is a great action to form a more solid property right system and implement the rule of law. The sacrifices they have made for this should be praised and tear. I also hope that the people in power can realize this. If the slogan of “building a country ruled of law, a government ruled of law and a society ruled of law” is sincere, we should see that the strength of citizens to defend their rights is the necessary strength for the rule of law, and to jump out of the narrow vision of administrative officials’ interest groups. To impose fair punishment on those who violate the Constitution and illegally demolish houses will make the promise be fulfilled possible.
Beijing Evening News, “in 2018, 40 million square meters of illegal construction will be demolished in Beijing. What are the identification standards?” , February 26, 2018.
Shanshui Speaking, “SOS: emergency call for help the owners of Shanshui Zui community are still losing contact “, June 28, 2020.
Shanshui Speaking, “Green mountains and green waters”, June 27, 2020.
Beijing Development and Reform Commission, “Beijing plans to demolish and vacate more than 4000 hectares of land this year”, January 15, 2020.
Beijing natural resources and Planning Commission, “Land transfer results”: “North Yandan village, Beiqijia Town, Changping District”, December 17, 2018.
Geng Nuo, “The city’s five-year cumulative demolition of illegal buildings will exceed 100 million square meters,” Beijing Daily, February 15, 2017.
General Office of the State Council, “Emergency notice on further strict management of land acquisition and demolition, and earnestly safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of the masses” (gbdcd  No. 15), May 15, 2010.
He Xuefeng, “Why is Shandong possessed to spend a huge amount of money to merge villages, demolish farmers’ houses and build communities?” China real estate strategist, May 16, 2020.
Lu Jiankun, “My investment experience in Shandong”, wechat official name “Shangdong people in Shanghai”, June 27, 2020.
“A letter to leaders of Beijing Municipal Party committee and municipal government on the governance and improvement of Wayao cultural and creative industry cluster zone in Changping District”, December 18, 2018.
Zhang Libin, “expropriation and compensation of private property by the government in American Law”, Chinese lawyer, August 2007.
Zhang Nan, Zhang Ao, “interpretation of the report of the two sessions of the people’s Congress of Beijing in 2019: breaking down the annual target of 4000 hectares of land for demolishing and vacating”, Beijing Evening News, January 14, 2019.
July 8, 2020, Forget-talk Hill Study
Lonely for a long time, The boundary wall are crowded by visitors in autumn; Defense towers have no fighting air, When frosty leaves flare.
Recently, I read several articles on Sino US relation and found that the authors use the word “China” in different senses. “China” refers to a historical organic whole composed of generations of Chinese, or refers to the present China, or to the Chinese government, or even to some special interest groups in China. The term “Chinese culture” is related to China as a “historical organic whole”, but it is often used to refer to the cultural characteristics of current China, even the political characteristics of China. When it comes to the game between China and the United States, some people often can’t tell what is win or loss. In fact, ” game” has two levels, one is within a rule, and the other is between rules. People often fail to see that the victory of a game within a rule may be a failure in the game between rules. From the perspective of time, it can also be divided into one game and long-term multiple games. The victory of one game may lead to the failure of multiple repeated games. If these kinds of confusion overlap, some people will regard the current benefits obtained by an interest group violating the rules of just conduct as the victory of Chinese culture. In this paper, we discuss China as a historical organic whole, take the basic value of Chinese cultural tradition as China’s cultural characteristics, and look at the win and loss from the perspective of game between rules and multiple games.
Mencius said that benevolence is invincible （仁者无敌）. “Benevolence” is kindness. Its bottom line is the balance of rights among people, and it is also a peaceful way to solve conflicts. “Benevolent” refers to those who implement benevolent governance. The benevolent governance is the rule of benevolence or the institutions of good, which can also be referred to as “rule of constitution” in this paper. Following the word “rule of law,” “rule of constitution” is a more fundamental part of the rule of law. The “invincible” has two meanings. One is “no rival”, which is the opponent in the competition, invincible means “fighting all over the world without rival; the other is” no enemy “, the antonym of friend, that is, the persons whom cannot exist on the earth same time. The rival is the competitor, both sides may have the enhancement in the competition; between the enemies is this ebb and that flow, the enemy’s development is our threat. In the language of the Communist Party of China, “rival” means “contradiction among the people”; and “enemy” means “contradiction between the enemy and ourselves”. Mencius said “invincible” contains these two meanings, more importantly, “no enemy”. But sometimes, “no rival” and “no enemy” are complementary and interdependent. Benevolence is invincible, that is, those who practice benevolent governance have no enemies; for the rule of benevolence is only to solve conflicts peacefully, not to create enemies. Peaceful solutions will also minimize coercion, resulting in a society that is prosperous and creative because of a high degree of freedom, then may have no rival.
The highest level of a country’s development is not to dominate the world, but there is no rival nor enemy. This is not achieved by making concessions to the conflicting parties, but by following the rule of constitution, which can be simply summarized as market system, rule of law and freedom of expression. Market system can be condensed into competition on property rights. Under the premise of protecting property rights, the result of competition may be to create new wealth; only when property rights are safe can we make long-term investment and focus on innovation. Under the rule of property rights, resources can be allocated effectively, production enthusiasm can be stimulated, and innovation ability can be fully stimulated. Personal income increases, wealth pours out, and the country becomes prosperous. To ensure the market rule is implementation of the rule of law. The essence of the rule of law is to restrict the abuse of power by institutions or individuals who hold public power. Otherwise, they will seize property rights, monopolize the market and destroy the rule of the competition on property rights. Among the various constitutional rights to be protected by the rule of law, the most important one is freedom of expression, because other constitutional rights can not be protected and implemented without it. If it is not freely expressed, even if the constitutional rights are violated, they will not be known by the society, and there will be no way to protect them. Therefore, freedom of expression is a simple way to judge whether there is the rule of constitution or not.
The above point of view has been proved by the facts of the Chinese mainland in the past seventy years. According to the world bank, the per capita GDP of the Chinese mainland fell to the second in the world during the planned economy period, and it was 307 US dollars in 1978 (unchanged price in 2010), while in the more than 30 years after the reform and opening up, it returned to second in the world and 9.52 trillion US dollars in 2016 (unchanged price in 2010). The institutional meaning of reform and opening up is marketization and legalization. The concentrated embodiment of the interaction between the two is property rights. Property rights are the basis of market competition and protected by rule of law. After reform and opening up, a competitive market with property rights has taken shape; the Constitution and legal texts have been improved to protect citizens’ constitutional rights; and there is more and more space for freedom of expression. Only in this way has China’s miracle been created. As a giant country, China, based on its huge economic aggregate, devotes a certain proportion of its national wealth to national defense, and gradually approaches the state of “no rival”.
In addition to efficiency and justice, an important difference between planned economy and market economy lies in its degree of compulsion. The plan will inevitably deviate from the allocation of resources determined by the market, so it can only force people to obey. The market economy allows people to freely decide their production and consumption behaviors. Freedom means equal rights and peaceful settlement of differences, while coercion means inequality among people, which is actually the settlement of disputes by violence. The Chinese mainland’s planned economy was built on the basis of cracking down market behavior in the criminal name, “illegal transactions”. According to records, in 1964, Hu Yaobang, then Secretary of the Shaanxi provincial Party committee, reviewed more than 9500 “speculators” (Yan Ruping, 2003), and the overall number is conceivable. Even in 1982, more than 30000 people were convicted of “speculation and profiteering” (Han Yong, 2009); it was not until 2009 that the crime name was finally abolished. Therefore, in the market economy, there is competition between people, while in the planned economy, people are actually hostile. To push this logic of planned economy abroad is to export coercion and hostility. For example, in order to maintain the monopoly of oil interest groups, the government must control the import and export of petroleum products. Behind this is coercion. It is also equivalent to regarding those in the world who want to break the monopoly as enemies.
The rule of law, in addition to providing fair adjudication and encouraging people to comply with the rules of due conduct, can also eliminate hostility. Before the establishment of the rule of law, conflicts between people are more likely to use private violence, and there will be revenges generations of generations. Before the reform and opening up, the law was regarded as a tool of class rule. In the extreme period of the Cultural Revolution, the apparent judicial procedures were not observed, and thousands of people were convicted or even shot without due process of law. According to the statistics of the CPC Central Committee, there were about 1.728 million abnormal deaths during the Cultural Revolution, of which 135000 were sentenced to death (quoted from Yang Jisheng, 2013). The rule of law not only emphasizes the imitation of Dao and natural law by legal principles, but also emphasizes the due process of law, not for threat, revenge or emotional vent. This will make people recognize that justice is a fair mechanism in the settlement of conflicts. Therefore, although the parties to the conflict may disagree with the ruling, they will not continue to be enemies of each other. Although judicial decisions may sometimes have to be enforced by force, they are not to be resorted to violence. The closer a court ruling is to justice and the more it can be accepted by both parties, the less coercive force it needs to use in its implementation. The rule of law has ended the mutual retribution of resentment, which has made all people in society no longer enemies to each other. Therefore, to follow the rule of law is to follow the “non-hostile” rule, otherwise the “hostile” rule will apply.
Freedom of expression is to express one’s ideas or opinions in a nonviolent way, instead of violence or other coercive means, or to suppress others’ expression. The government is an organization authorized to use public violence. The government suppresses the freedom of expression through legislation, policy-making or direct action, which is to use violence to suppress the freedom of expression. Therefore, the first amendment of the constitution of the United States stipulates that Congress shall make law “……abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press… “. That is the restriction on this tendency of the government. Therefore, the principle of freedom of expression is a peaceful and non-hostile rule. If this rule is violated, it is tantamount to indulging the government to use public violence to suppress the expression of different opinions, which is a non-peaceful rule. In extreme times, it means bloody killing. For example, during the Cultural Revolution, countless people were punished for their words, Zhang Zhixin even was executed for her speech. Isn’t it hostile to put people with different opinions to death? If we push the violation of freedom of expression abroad, we can’t tolerate other people’s different opinions, or even criticize the suppression of free expression, and threaten to impose “sanctions” on the products of the critics to enter the domestic market, which is equivalent to suppressing the freedom of expression with public violence. Because the restriction of market entry depends on the coercive power of government departments.
To respect the rule of constitution means to follow the rules of the market, the rule of law and the principle of freedom of expression, that is, to follow the rules of the game between rivals; otherwise, it is not to follow the rules of the game between rivals, which means that the rules between enemies are applied. The application of the rules between the enemies is to carry out class struggle at home, infringe property rights and human rights with public violence, safeguard monopoly and the direct control of national resources by the government; export violent revolution internationally, restrict free trade with government power, infringe on the property rights of other countries, and even use government resources to interfere in the freedom of expression of other countries. The successful opening of the Chinese mainland after 1978, in fact, depends on the end of the planned economy in the domestic reform, and no longer the use of law as a tool for class struggle, the gradual establishment of the rule of law system, and the freedom of expression to a certain extent. Since the market economy is based on voluntary transactions between people, the rule of law ends private retaliation, and settle down disputes by peaceful means, and free expression means replacing fists with tongue, there will be no enemy. As long as we apply the constitutional rule upheld at home to the international community, we will find that there will be no enemy in the world. Market rules, the rule of law and the principle of freedom of expression can be combined with similar rules in other countries, and the rules between competitors rather than those between enemies can be applied.
Conversely, without enemies, constitutional rule can pass unimpeded. This is because the rules of competition on property rights are originally peaceful rules, and they are also rules that minimize coercion, and those of freedom. The rule of law is an effective guarantee for competition on property rights, and the only coercion it must use is the punishment for violations of rules. Freedom of expression is the main principle of maintaining the rule of law. If all countries follow the rules of competition on property rights, the rule of law and the principles of freedom of expression, they will jointly constitute a worldwide commodity market and idea market due to the nature of peace and compatibility, thereby enhancing the interests of all countries. Therefore China can enjoy a broad international trade platform and obtain huge trade dividends. That being the case, why be an enemy? For example, between China and the United States, the requirements of the United States—opening the market, removing subsidies from state-owned enterprises, protecting patents, and opening up the Internet—are consistent with China’s rule of constitution, that is, the direction of marketization and rule of law since the reform and opening up. China’s implementation of the rules of competition on property rights will benefit China and grow into a strong and peaceful country, and therefore at least a country with “few rivals in the world”; at the same time, this rule does not conflict with the rules of other countries such as the United States. How can China and the United States be enemies?
With no rivals and also no enemies, this is the way that China as a whole develops in future. Isn’t this a good thing? Why is there still a situation that undermines the rule of constitution? This is because, from the perspective of the long-term benefits of the “historical organic whole”, this is a good thing; but from a time period or a part, it may not be a good thing. From the perspective of special interest groups, such as state-owned enterprise monopoly groups or administrative abuse groups, it is not a good thing. If enjoying monopoly power in a huge market where wealth is constantly flowing out, it is obviously beneficial to monopolize interest groups; if administrative coercive means can be used to increase tax rates and infringe the property rights of citizens or enterprises, it will also be beneficial to administrative abuse groups. Therefore, we can see that as China’s reform and opening up was ending, the monopoly over oil, power, telecommunications, railway and other industries has not been broken, but has been strengthened; the macro tax rate has increased 12.9 percentage points in the 20 years from 1997 to 2017; more and more vicious cases of infringement of property rights by administrative departments through confiscation and forced demolition. When property rights are threatened and competition cannot be fair, more and more entrepreneurs are unwilling to increase investment or even continue production, and economic development will suffer serious setbacks.
The infringement of property rights by the government is an important sign, which not only shows that the market system has been subverted, but also that the rule of law is not in place, or even retrogressed. Although the Constitution and laws protect citizens’ constitutional rights in texts, the most important problem is that these texts cannot be effectively implemented. First of all, we can’t stop the illegal behavior of the administrative department in advance. For example, in recent months, the homes of tens of thousands of citizens in Beijing, Shandong and Hebei have been illegally destroyed. The Pingyao government in Shanxi has illegally confiscated more than 200 ancestral houses (Liu Jingyu, 2020), and Shantou Chaoyang Natural Resources Bureau has illegally confiscated the “Yingzhiyuan” (Xiaohui, 2020) with an investment of 1 billion yuan. What is more shocking than these bad consequences is that these local governments violate the due process of law without obstacle. The illegal demolition of Changping District and Huairou District of Beijing directly violates more than 20 legal provisions (Shenghong, 2020). The confiscation of Pingyao government in Shanxi Province is based on the invalid provincial Party Committee document issued in 1958. The confiscation procedure of Shantou Chaoyang natural resources bureau is to use a piece of A4 paper without official seal or specific provisions of the Land Management Law (see figure below). What is more heinous is that the Public Security Bureau of Cili County, Hunan Province, openly blackmailed Wuhan Yuancheng Company. After being refused, it arrested the personnel of the company and handed it to Cili procuratorate for prosecution (Lin Feng, October 3, 2020); it openly turned law enforcement and judicial institutions into tools for plundering property.
What’s worse, after the administrative department of the government violates the due process of law and infringes on the civil rights, it further violates the law and prevents citizens from using judicial services to safeguard their rights. For example, when the injured party carries out administrative reconsideration, administrative litigation or judicial action for compensation, in most cases, it encounters the situation of “not accepting”, delaying to respond, and even returning the application for reconsideration unopened (Sheng Hong, 2020); in many cases, the lawyers of the parties are threatened by the administrative department to withdraw from their contracts with parties. The administrative department also ignored the provisions of the administrative enforcement law and took illegal actions to confiscate or forcibly demolish citizens’ houses before the judicial process was completed. When some citizens are accused and their personal freedom is restricted, the law enforcement agencies can not abide by the due process of law, inform their families in time, allow lawyers to be present in time, and allow the parties to obtain bail pending trial. They are often detained for a long time and cannot avoid extorting confessions by torture and torture before trial. For example, Chu Jian, vice president of Zhejiang University, did not obtain bail in the first nine months of his detention and did not see his family members or any lawyers (quark shows, 2016). Another example is Dr. Tan Qindong, who was arrested across provinces by the company’s local police after criticizing Hongmao’s liquor on the Internet, and was tortured beyond recognition in the detention center for three months (Shi Aihua, 2018).
The most serious act of violating the rule of law and abusing public power is the violation of Article 35 – freedom of expression of the Constitution. This also creates conditions for the administrative sector to violate property rights and human rights. For example, the administrative departments strictly restrict the flow of information on the Internet, and fight against intimidating Internet users to cover up corruption and abuse of power and suppress criticism. In this way, a large number of abuse of rights cannot be disclosed, cannot cause the attention of the society and the public, and get indulgence. This kind of public opinion control is effective, from top to bottom, from official to ordinary people. Even one person who complained on the Internet that the food in the canteen of county hospital is not good was detained by the administration; the Goubuli general store in Wangfujing threatened to call the police for the poor evaluation on the Internet. This suppression of freedom of expression has contributed to the massive violations of citizens’ housing and property rights. For example, after the illegal capture of Wayao villa area in Changping, Beijing on June 28, several dozen residents were illegally detained and have not been released so far. Some people said that one of the charges was being interviewed by the media. Even the words of the residents of Wayao miss their homes have been deleted quickly online. As a result of this severe repression of freedom of expression, residents fear to speak out, and the administration is more reckless. About 1800 homes in the villa area of Wayao have been destroyed in less than two months. In recent years, many property rights of private enterprises have been violated and entrepreneurs have suffered from the injustice. But as far as I know, the seminars on private enterprises have been intervened and stopped several times.
Deviating from rule of constitution has weakened the economic strength of the Chinese mainland. For instance, the actual economic growth rates in 2018 and 2019 were below zero (flood, 2019a, 2019b); according to the data of Dacheng Enterprise Research Institute, private investment in Chinese mainland decreased by 19% in 2019 compared with that in last year, while in August 2020 it dropped by 9.9% compared with the same period last year, and the total investment volume in the whole country was reduced by 113 billion 700 million yuan (2020). This makes future economic growth lose momentum. At the same time, the application of the rules to protect monopoly and infringement of property rights to the international community increases the nature of hostility. For example, state-owned enterprises monopolize interest groups not only do not open their markets to other domestic enterprises, but also to foreign enterprises. And “not opening the market” needs to control the customs and the Internet, which needs to be realized by the government’s coercive force, which violates the competition rules of property rights. If this practice is extended to foreign countries, the relationship between countries can not be maintained on the basis of peaceful and competitive relations. Another example is that when disputes with foreigners are involved, if due process of law is not followed, it is impossible to guarantee a fair judgment on them. The threat and retaliation motive are highlighted, which also increases the hostile nature. For another example, when there are different opinions and verbal conflicts with other countries, applying pressure by means of trade restriction is actually the use of government means to solve idea problems. If the rule of constitution is broken, then there will be “rival” also “enemy”.
If we say that China’s foreign relations since the reform and opening up are based on the competition rules with property rights, special interest groups break these rules at home and treat similar foreign affairs with the same attitude, they will destroy the international competition rules on property rights. In this way, it will destroy the rule basis of China’s international relations. Since not following the rules of fair competition, China and other countries, Chinese enterprises and enterprises in other countries are not competitors, but hostile relations. It is impossible for counterpart country to apply the competition rules on property rights to China and Chinese enterprises. Because hostile relations involve coercion, military means may be used to resolve disputes internationally. At this time, military technology cannot be used as a commodity in the market and shared with adversaries; some strategic resources, such as chips or oil, cannot be traded as general commodities. Further, it is necessary to stop scientific research cooperation and exchanges on potential military uses. In fact, any basic theory, though seemingly far away from practical application, may at any time become a practical military technology, just as quantum theory was quickly used to make atomic bombs in World War II. Therefore, decoupling in scientific research is an inevitable logic between hostile countries.
In the past three decades, China’s rapid catching up in technology really depends on the sharing of international science and technology platforms and the division of labor in the world market. Only for many years, this kind of international institutional environment is a kind of non-compulsory market or academic environment, “the Supreme Master is too good to be known”. Many special interest groups believe that they can enjoy such an environment unconditionally without following its rules. This is not for China’s overall interests, but for the interests of the group. They want to bring the unfair rules formed at home to the international community. On the one hand, special interest groups hold public power, on the other hand, they refuse to withdraw from the market, so they can enjoy the efficiency and wealth flow brought by the market system, on the other hand, they can use public power to directly divide the larger share of market cake and even directly cut the property of private enterprises. The government is maintained by levying taxes on the market. To establish monopoly and infringe property rights by compulsory means is to infringe the market with resources from the market. In the world, if someone wants to get the benefits of market trading and academic exchanges, but does not follow its rules, and finally uses the benefits to break the rules, this will not be tolerated. Therefore, the restrictions imposed by the United States on foreign students and visiting scholars involved in military sensitive technology are predictable.
Once China’s sharing of international academic exchange platforms and the trading of strategic materials are restricted, China’s weakness in military science and technology will immediately be highlighted. This is because although the patent system in Chinese mainland has made great progress, the existing research system is mainly the national fund plus patent system. Patent system is mainly the technological innovation system that private enterprises rely on. Naturally, it is mainly applied technology, especially non core technology patents. State funds are mainly allocated to state-owned scientific research institutions and state-owned enterprises. But more than 90% of them are used in applied technology research, and only about 10% are used in basic theoretical research. This is the opposite of the United States. Moreover, state-owned institutions are neither fair nor efficient in allocating funds, so it is difficult to allocate funds to truly innovative people. Some data show that in 2016, only 7.4% and 2.6% of the total human resources and funds invested in R & D were invested by state-owned institutions, and only 3% of all valid patents were obtained (Sheng Hong, 2019c). Therefore, national research funds can not effectively promote the scientific research in Chinese mainland. It is a very wrong idea that the government often claims to “overtake on a curve”. Because real innovation is unpredictable, we don’t know where the “curve” is, let alone “overtaking”. The allocation of funds to a certain field in advance will often miss target. Therefore, this scientific research system is bound to lack of innovation.
While an academic platform that can constantly emerge scientific talents and theoretical innovation needs various material conditions, but the most important condition is the rule of freedom of expression. This is because any theoretical innovation may lurk in any possible direction, and any unintentional expression may inspire people’s brain. If the freedom of expression is limited, the freedom of thought is also restricted. If you don’t have free thinking, you will lose a lot of opportunities for innovation. The emergence of a new subversive theory is not one which can be planned out, but stands out from countless random reveries. Therefore, a society, which has more than 6000 sensitive words on the Internet to be limited, requires university professors to learn political reports and believes that scientific research can be developed in the form of military decrees, is doomed to be unable to take a comprehensive lead in scientific research. Therefore, under the background of reform and opening up, following the same rules of competition with other countries, China is able to share the knowledge of international academic platform, and acquire sophisticated technology products through international trade. It is impossible to surpass the leading countries by violating this rule. Becoming an enemy by suppressing the freedom of expression, one can’t be the rival of others. If we want to be a society of theoretical innovation, we must start from the freedom of expression.
What’s worse, because special interest groups disguise their own interests as national interests, they form hostile relations with other countries in the name of the country. At the same time, they regard this situation as hostility of other countries to China and shift the responsibility to others, which will further deteriorate the relations between countries and let the whole country and its people bear the consequences. For example, to regard other people’s criticism of the violation of market rules and the rule of law by special interest groups as criticism or even insult to China. Not only in words, but also using the purchasing power of the domestic market to coerce criticism. This is to push the practice of suppressing and expressing freedom at home to the international community. They can neither calmly think about the positive meaning of these criticisms, but also further more serious mistakes are revealed. In covering up the violation of market rules by restricting the freedom of expression, in general, the former is a more serious mistake than the latter. In order to cover up a mistake, a bigger one is exposed. If a human society cannot have multiple voices and criticize each other, the society cannot function effectively. To impose this mistake on the world is the deepest infringement on the world. Therefore, the practice of special interest groups to suppress international criticism can only further deteriorate the international image of the Chinese mainland and become more hostile to relations with other countries.
At this point, if there is no reflecting on how to get to this point, situation may move towards the direction of real hostility. In fact, there are already people clamoring for war, even nuclear war, at home. For example, Mr. Hu Xijin and Mr. Zhao Shengye. In fact, the mistake in their formulation is not how crazy their ideas are, but that they fail to explain “why we should fight a nuclear war”. From the previous analysis, if China follows the rule of benevolence, is it necessary for China to become the enemy of other countries? Should other countries regard Chinese mainland as an enemy? Isn’t it the saddest thing for mankind that they still don’t know what they fight for after a bloody war? For territory? There is no territorial dispute between China and the United States. For the benefit of trade? China and the United States have reached a phased agreement. For ideology? China’s constitutional texts and the official documents of the Communist Party of China on marketization and legalization affirm market rules, rule of law and freedom of expression, which are not very different from the mainstream culture of the United States. For the criticism of the Chinese government by the US government and the public? These are all criticisms to those deviate from the market rules, the rule of law rules or the principle of freedom of expression. If we think that it is long-term interests of China as a historic whole to respect rule of constitution, should these criticisms not be regarded as external criticisms to safeguard the long-term interests of China as a whole?
Now many people are thinking about what to do after the Sino US decoupling or the outbreak of war. This is the wrong place to put their energy. A pressing matter of the moment is the return of the Chinese mainland to the rule of constitution. To be specific, it is to return to the track of reform and opening up for more than 30 years, which is the way forward towards the urle of constitution. Only by following the rules of the game between the rivals can we avoid hostility. In 2013 and 2014, the third and fourth plenary sessions of the 18th CPC Central Committee emphasized marketization and legalization respectively. Although there are still many problems, the general direction is right. The problem in recent years is that, in practice, the administrative departments of the government do not respect the rule of the constitution, but on the contrary, abuse public power to safeguard monopoly, infringe on property rights and human rights, and suppress freedom of expression. However, in term of the text, it is not only violated of the Constitution and laws, betrayed of reform and opening up, but also abandoned the promise of the rule of law and market opening by the Chinese Communist Party. Returning to the road of reform and opening up, it can not only be declare orally, nor can deceive the world with some seemingly reform forms. The touchstone of whether to return to reform and opening up is to infringe or protect property rights. As mentioned above, property right is a comprehensive symbol of marketization and legalization, and also the institutional heritage of more than 30 years of reform and opening up. If property rights cannot be protected, the declaration of “reform” is false. Only by protecting property rights can the Authorities really return to the rules of the game between the rivals, but not the enemy; there will be no need to discuss decoupling or war.
Of course, there is competition between rivals. Competitors will not only compete according to the rules of the market, but also compete by means outside the market. For example, by legal means. However, as long as the rule of law is applied, it can be an rival in the judicial process. The law is judged by a neutral third party and implemented by authorized public violence, so as to avoid direct violent conflict between the two sides. The two sides can also express their dissatisfaction and criticism to the other party through language, so as to win the support of public opinion and finally have a substantial impact. However, government resources must not be used to monopolize and manipulate public opinion and distort information. Under this constitutional framework, disputes between peoples and between countries can be resolved peacefully. Of course, competitors may not abide by the rules and attack each other by hostile means. This requires not only verbal criticism, but also the principle of reciprocity, that is, to prevent and punish it by the same means, so as to bring it back to the rule of constitution. At this time, no rival can guarantee no enemy. In the long run, the rule of benevolence can maintain that there are neither enemies nor rivals. Therefore, the competition between rivals is ultimately manifested in the competition on rules, that is, to see who is closer to the rule of constitution, more able to maintain the competition on property rights, fair justice and freedom of expression. If China wants to surpass the United States, it cannot deviate from the rule of constitution, but be closer to the rule of constitution than the United States.
To win the game by violating the rule of constitution, in a larger context, is a failure, because the violation of constitutional law fundamentally damages the overall interests of a country. For example, if using the method of detaining the other party’s personnel to “exchange” Meng Wanzhou, even if succeeded, it is also the biggest failure, which is the failure of the game between rules. The detained Canadians have neither obtained bail nor been allowed to meet their families and lawyers for a long time, which is obviously in violation of China’s own legal due process. The biggest obstacle to the implementation of the rule of law in Chinese mainland is not following the due process of law. As mentioned above, Chu Jian of Zhejiang University was detained for a long time without seeing a lawyer. Dr. Tan Qindong was tortured in the detention center because the due process of law could not be followed. If law enforcement agencies do not implement due process of law, they will inevitably use judicial and law enforcement forces for their own purposes by threatening, retaliating and emotional venting, which are not the purpose and form of law. In fact, whether to follow the due process of law is the watershed of whether to implement the rule of law or not, and also the watershed between rival or enemy. An authority that does not follow its own due process of law is not a legitimate government. If this situation is shown to other countries, it can not be regarded as a country that practices the rule of law, and therefore can not eliminate hostility. Therefore, the attempt to obtain the current convenience by violating the due process of law, even if it seems to win for a while, it also loses in the game between rules.
The rule of constitution is also a long-term stable equilibrium, so it can not be achieved by one game. For example, in international relations, an attempt to gain the current advantage by violating international agreements, or to obtain benefits that cannot be obtained by peaceful negotiations through military means is to win a one-off game, but to lose multiple games and lose the opportunity to form a stable equilibrium result. In modern society, the final settlement of disputes between countries must be reached with the consent of all countries concerned, and it cannot be achieved through war. Some people think that China can win in a war in a certain place. Even if winning, what will it do afterwards? It can only increase the hatred between countries and open up new confrontation, but cannot solve the fundamental problems. Therefore, insisting on peaceful negotiation instead of using force is an important form to win multiple games for a long time. If we firmly believe that our rights “since ancient times” are true, and if we use our wisdom to resolve conflicts, the outcome of peace negotiations may be beneficial us while both sides are happy. Even if there is no result for the time being, the continuation of the negotiation will not hinder normal exchanges with other countries and the mainstream trend of domestic development. The most important thing is that peace negotiations avoid winning a game with war and losing the chance to settle disputes by peaceful means for a long time.
We should also see clearly that the interests of monopoly interest groups, the behavior of administrative abusive groups, and even the violation of international agreements or general norms by the administrative departments are not the requirements of “China” as a historical organic whole; the criticism of them is not an offence to Chinese culture. The rule of constitution is not only a common rule in the world, but also highly compatible with Chinese culture. “Benevolent governance must start from delimiting property rights”, “benefit people for their benefiting themselves” and “the way of Yao and Shun” of taxation” is the expression of economic liberalism. Propriety is the foundation of politics, and propriety is the foundation of administration”, which emphasizes the use of etiquette as a customary law to govern the society; and the common law is also developed from the customary law; etiquette and law are the same social rules, the difference is only voluntary or compulsory implementation. The ancient maxim of “Heaven listens through the people’s ears” and “the speaker is innocent, the hearer is enough to abstain”, the admonishment spirit and the spirit of scholar bureaucrats of “Any error of the Emperor should be criticized” and “Sound to die rather than silence to live” are the principles of freedom of expression in the sensitive field of political criticism. China’s cultural tradition of international relations is not nationalism, but cosmopolitanism. This includes the mind of “one family in the world”, the pursuit of “persuading people with virtue”, the practice of “people near is happy and those far away come”, the expectation of “one who does not love killing can unify the world” and the ideal of “world civilization”. How can the Chinese cultural tradition justify the act of violating the rule of constitution and leading to hostility with other countries?
In terms of cultural form, traditional China is a state of etiquette. The first sentence of the book of rites is “don’t disrespect, think deliberately, and speak calmly.” Respect is the core of Chinese culture. Even if there is a major conflict with other countries, we should think carefully and speak stably. He Huaihong said that even if the Zhou people were worthless, there was one thing worth affirming: they were elegant. Even before wars two countries should also use the Book of Songs to fight against each other. In today’s diplomatic situation, we are puzzled about what “diplomatic language” is, and we can’t see the elegance of the state of etiquette. But we saw that their speech was vulgar but complacent, they used threats to refute criticism, used unconstitutional and unreasonable words to argue, made personal attacks from time to time. “Filial Piety” said, “respect one person to make thousands of people happy.”. In particular, disrespect and even personal attacks on the leaders of other countries will not only lose the demeanor of a great power, but also lose the wisdom of China, causing tens of millions of people to be angry. This form of “diplomacy”, which deviates from the traditional Chinese culture, pursues the external face, tries to be quick at the moment, violates the rules of benevolence, and does not hesitate to lose important diplomatic relations and friendship. Is this “Chinese”? Diplomacy originally means “non-hostile” relations, but this kind of “diplomacy” often confuses the enemy and the enemy, and takes the initiative to push the rival to the enemy. When the negotiation is frustrated or the competition fails, the other party will be regarded as the enemy; and this kind of hostility will also prompt the other party to regard itself as the enemy.
Now the administration also realizes that it cannot be decoupled from the United States. It’s not hard. As long as we return to the road of reform and opening up, this is the road to the rule of constitution. Constitutional governance has existed in the text of Constitution and laws in Chinese mainland. The Constitution stipulates that China implements a “market economy”; the Constitution says that in order to build a “country ruled by law”, that “all acts violating the Constitution and laws must be investigated”; Article 35 of the Constitution stipulates freedom of expression; and the Constitution also emphasizes that “the state protects the ownership of citizens’ legitimate income, savings, houses and other legitimate property.” The Chinese mainland has the rules of property rights, the rule of law and the principle of freedom of expression, and has been in this direction for more than thirty years since the reform and opening up. It is only in recent years that the above-mentioned phenomenon of violating the constitution has appeared. What the rulers have to do is to restrain themselves from violating the rules of benevolence, they also should no longer pretend that they have not seen the above-mentioned serious violations of the Constitution and laws, resolutely stop such acts and punish the administrative departments and local governments that carry out these acts, otherwise they will have to bear legal responsibility. One of the key points of this is to strictly abide by the due process of law, to ensure citizens’ right to boycott and resist the violation of due process of law, and to punish the administrative organs or officials who violate the due process of law.
Respecting the rule of constitution in China is the strongest “non-hostile” signal released by the Chinese mainland. It is natural that China’s rule of constitution has a smooth connection with that of the United States and other countries, and exchanges in the rules of freedom and peace. Even among competitors of other countries, some people want to call China “enemy” in order to gain advantages in competition. However, if China really implements free trade with tariff equivalence, follows due process of law when treating foreign parties, and follows the principle of freedom of expression internationally, it will break the illusion of “enemy” with practical consequences. At this time, China will not be the enemy of other countries, including the United States, but also enjoy the benefits of the world’s commodity market and ideological market, so as to approach the situation of no rival with its huge scale. However, the tradition of Chinese cosmopolitanism and the world’s pursuit of permanent peace make the ability of the invincible not to invade other countries or win in hegemony, but to maintain the realm without enemies. This is to fight against attempts to violate the Constitution by force. When market rules, rule of law rules and the principle of freedom of expression can be effectively maintained, the situation without enemies can last forever. Further improvement requires competition among countries on the basis of constitutional rule, that is, to see who can find and implement better constitutional governance and better resolve conflicts between countries by peaceful means. A constitutional China may win the competition: invincible in the world.
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(October 17, 2020 in Fivewoods Studio)