Worship the Rule of Constitution, Invincible in the World / Sheng Hong

Note: The deterioration of Sino US relations is believed to be due to the United States mistakenly treating the Communist Party of China as an “imaginary enemy”. This expresses the desire not to be an enemy of the United States and is sober and wise. However, if we only blame the US side, I am afraid it will not help. Whether the “enemy” is imaginary or real depends not only on whether there is a direct armed conflict at the moment; It also depends on whether the rules followed contain fundamental conflicts. For example, anti-market monopoly and regulation, unrestricted violation of civil rights by administrative power, regulatory regulations and actual blockades that restrict freedom of expression need be implemented by violence. If these violent rules are continuously expanded, they will inevitably one day conflict with the rules of market, rule of law and free expression followed by other countries, and violent means may be used. Therefore, violating the rules of the market, the rule of law and free expression is a declaration of hostility. Conversely, returning to Deng Xiaoping’s line of reform and opening up and adhering to the rules of constitution is the most eye-catching non hostile declaration.

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)

Author: flourishflood

Economist, Confucianist

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