Fulfilling Constitutionalism with Everyone’s Action / SHENG Hong

When this year just started, constitutionalism was a highly discussed topic among common people. This is an encouraging fact for us, the advocates of constitutionalism. However, many people, including ourselves, have a misunderstanding of constitutionalism. First of all, it is often regarded as the issue at the state level, implying that there is little relation between the common people and constitutionalism.

In fact, it is the opposite. Constitutionalism is a structure between different levels of rules. The general principle of constitutionalism is that lower rules should obey higher ones, which exists on every level of society ranging from world to family. For example, the family order is more important than the property institutions.

Since constitutionalism can be implemented at all levels, it also involves every individual, while constitutionalism only works at the state level, ordinary people can not reach it. One can implement constitutionalism at once if it can be implemented at his level. Every level of the society is composed of many people, who need to deal with the relationship between various principles. The Confucian idea of self-educating, family’s perfecting, state’s governing, and world’s peace realizing, contains family’s perfecting. But that is not an easy task, as in order to realize family’s perfecting, we must implement constitutionalism in the family.

Starting from ourselves, we can promote constitutionalism as well as improve people’s constitutional consciousness. Experiencing the benefits of constitutionalism by ourselves will increase our expectations on the positive effects that constitutionalism can have on different areas of and levels of society and thus popularizing constitutional consciousness. If most people have such experiences and reach a consensus on constitutionalism, it will not be difficult to promote constitutionalism. Even those people who are against constitutionalism will change their opinions when they benefit from constitutionalism.

As a small unit in our society, Unirule Institute of Economics is always following the principle of constitutionalism in decision-making, operating and managing. In a manner of speaking, we are performing a small constitutional experiment. It is believed that our staff is all very excellent, but we must realize that we are all ordinary people, who have their shortcomings,, which should be remedied by institutions. It is the constitutional institutions which can constrain the human’s weakness and enlarge and aggregate their advantages. We now advocate constitutionalism without sadness for there are some critical voices expressing refusal towards constitutionalism. for we know very well that each of us could be a practitioner of constitutional reform. An increasing number of small units like Unirule following principles of constitutionalism will brighten the future prospects for China’s constitutional reform.

January 15, 2013,  Guangzhou