Vol. XXXVII No. 2

Foreign Policy and the Chinese Constitutions During the Hu Jintao Administration

Abstract: This Article is a close examination of how China’s dual constitution system—that is, the nexus of governing power as outlined between the State Constitution and the Communist Party Constitution—provides both jurisdictional and substantive guidance to Chinese foreign policy makers. It especially focuses on the Hu Jintao administration (2002–2012) as the foremost example of grounding foreign policy in the dual constitutions of China. With the success of the Hu administration, the Chinese constitutional law of foreign policy has become theoretically a unique extraterritorial projection of “the rule of law with Chinese characteristics,” with room for future development by both liberals and realists. Part I of this Article begins by introducing the jurisdictional and substantive bases of the Chinese constitutional law of foreign policy. Part II sets out the specific contributions of the Hu Administration, and explains the linkage between the Scientific Development Outlook, the Socialist Harmonious Society platform, and the Peaceful Development strategy. Part III posits how the Chinese constitutions may have informed foreign policy decision-making regarding some of the biggest challenges of the Hu Jintao era. Finally, this Article predicts that the principal constitutional challenge that China will face in the foreseeable future is securing the vast amount of resources it needs to maintain its domestic development while maintaining harmonious relations with the rest of the developing world.

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