《新華社》在上月底公布《中共中央關於修改憲法部分內容的建議》,當中涉及多個具爭議性的重要修憲建議,而最觸目的無疑是取消國家主席的任期限制。中國現行的《八二憲法》是在文化大革命後,經過「全黨深入反思」所制定的。是此修憲不單不符民主精神,更與《八二憲法》的精神有所違背,反而推使中國進一步走向「黨管一切」,甚至習近平個人的集權。修憲建議將於昨天開幕的全國人大中審議,普遍預料將獲得通過。修憲一旦通過不單是中國政治改革的一大倒退,對中國長遠發展也帶來巨大的危機。是此 Snapshot 將列出修憲的四個主要建議和其對中國政局的影響。

Xinhua News Agency announced ‘Central Committee of the Communist Party of China suggestions of changes to the Constitution’ at the end of last month. Many of the suggestions proved controversial; the one about removing the presidential term limit particularly attracted international attention. The 1982 Constitution China has now is established after the Cultural Revolution, a product of the collective reflection of the Party. The amendments to the Constitution proposed recently are not solely undemocratic, because it is a big step towards consolidating Xi Jinping’s personalistic rule; but they also betray the spirit of the 1982 Constitution. The proposed amendments to the Constitution will be discussed in the National People’s Congress which was inaugurated yesterday (5th March 2018), and it is widely predicted that the amendments will pass without much difficulty. The amendments to the Constitution constitute not only a big step backwards for China’s political reforms, but also a threat to China’s long-term development. This Snapshot will outline the four main proposed amendments and how they will affect the political landscape in China.

 

【取消國家主席任期限制】

《八二憲法》規定國家主席的任期一屆五年,連任不得超過兩屆,被視為鄧小平最重要的政治遺產之一。修憲建議取消國家主席的任期限制,亦即習近平可以終身連任國家主席。官方對於取消任期大致提出了兩個理由。第一、現時中共總書記、中央軍委主席的任期並無限制,如人大發言人回應記者提問時表示「憲法對國家主席的相關規定,也採取上述做法,有利維護習近平在黨中央的權威和統一領導,有利於加強完善國家領導統治。」第二、如人大副委員長向人大解釋修憲時表示,「這次徵求意見和在基層調研過程中,許多地區、部門和廣大黨員幹部群眾一致呼籲修改憲法中國家主席任職期限的有關規定」。

以上論述是否真確和是否足以推翻國家主席任期限制令人懷疑。有關的消息傳出後,中國網絡上出現了不少震驚和反對的聲音。「吾皇」、「終身」、「不要臉」、「移民」等檢索詞都被屏蔽。網絡上流傳「我為什麼想當皇帝——袁世凱採訪手記」的文章(內容諷刺是此修憲內容)也被刪除。但令不少學者意外的在於習近平一舉推翻鄧小平任內設立的多個政治規矩和傳統。習上台以來,集
大權於一身,推翻了集體領導;以反貪拿下孫政才,廢掉了傳聞中的指定接班人;如今在兩會上除了有傳將會使王岐山擔任國家副主席,打破「七上八下」的潛規則外,更無限期延長自己的任期,鄧小平思想至少在政治上似乎已經變得有名無實。

《八二憲法》之所以規定國家主席任期,目的就在於防止中國回到一人獨裁的時代,避免文化大革命的災難重演。如今連這個保護欄也被廢了武功,中國的政治前景實在令人擔憂。有學者預計雖然是此修憲會令中國政策和發展方向更具持續性,但中國將步入「毛澤東後期」,出現阿諛奉承、政策停滯,也會增加國際社會對於「中國威脅論」的恐懼。

【Removing presidential term limit】

The 1982 Constitution stipulates that the length of a term of presidency is five years, and the President can only serve two terms at most. This term limit is seen as one of Deng Xiaoping’s most important legacies. The removal of presidential term limit means that Xi can potentially serve for life as the President. The Party has two explanations for this proposed amendments. Firstly, the positions of General Secretary and Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Party, positions conventionally served by the President and the real sources of power for the largely ceremonial role of the President, do not have any term limits. Secondly, as the Vice Chairperson of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress explained, every level of the Party has been consulted in the process, and the proposed amendment is the consensus.

Regardless of whether the explanations are credible, internet users in China reacted with shock and disagreement to the news. Search terms such as ‘Emperor’, ‘For life’, ‘Shameless’ and ‘Emigration’ are censored. An article titled ‘Why I want to become the Emperor: interview with Yuan Shikai’ went viral on the internet. With its obvious meaning of mockery, it was soon removed from the internet. However, what shocked academics is the utter disregard for the legacies of Deng Xiaoping Xi has shown. Since Xi rose to power, he failed to follow the principle of ‘collective leadership’. Using the name of anti-corruption, Sun Zhengcai, the alleged successor to Xi, was arrested. Except that Wang Qishan is rumoured to be the next Vice President, Xi did not name any successors, breaking the tacit rule of ‘seven up eight down’, which is that a member of the Politburo stays when he is 67 years old, and resigns when he is 68. Deng Xiaoping’s thoughts are becoming merely meaningless words on the Constitution.

The rationale behind the presidential term limit in the 1982 Constitution is to prevent China from returning to the personalistic rule of Mao, the era of Cultural Revolution. Now that the only legal protection against that is gone, the future of China is extremely worrying. Although some academics argue that enabling the President to serve more terms will increase the consistency of policies and direction of development, but others have argued that this is the beginning of the ‘Post-Mao era’, where nepotism and ineptitude thrive, and policies die.

 

【習近平思想入憲】

中國憲法的序言羅列了從毛澤東起到江澤民的治國方針為「指導思想」。而一如所料,「習近平新時代中國特色社會主義思想」在十九大被加入黨章後,亦將和胡錦濤的「科學發展觀」,一同被加入憲法序言。一月份,中共召開二中全會(第十九届中央全體委員會第二次會議)討論修憲,並在公報解釋修憲的原因,當中指出:「把黨的十九大確定的重大理論觀點和重大方針政策特别是習近平新時代中國特色社會主義思想載入國家根本法,體現黨和國家事業發展的新成就新經驗新要求...,為實現中華民族偉大復興的中國夢提供有力憲法保障。」

有關建議一旦通過,習近平將成為繼毛澤東後,第一位在任的中共領導人能把自己的思想冠名加入憲法。分析指出,雖然習思想的具體內容語焉不詳,但習近平將自己的思想、名字加入憲法,無疑是希望確立自己的地位,與過去的領導人相提並論,使黨內外都無法挑戰他的權威和意識形態,甚至可以使他與毛澤東、鄧小平置於同一個政治高度上。

雖然習思想沒有被放在一本語錄之內,但是有關的書籍滿街皆是,打著習思想為旗幟的口號街知巷聞,而各級官員、機構,甚至學生也需要研讀習思想的內容。這些做法無疑助長了對於習近平的個人崇拜,其力度雖然不可與文革同日而語,但對於法治以致一個健康的公民社會已經帶來巨大的潛在威脅。

【Xi Jinping’s Thought adopted by the Constitution】

The Chinese Constitution lists the philosophies of leaders from Mao Zedong to Jiang Zemin as China’s guiding thoughts. As predicted, as ‘Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era has already been added to Party Constitution in the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China’, it is proposed to be added to the Constitution along with Hu Jintao’s ‘Scientific Outlook on Development’. The Second Conference of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China this January produced an announcement to explain the reasons behind the amendment--“Major theoretical achievements, principles and policies adopted at the 19th CPC National Congress, especially Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, should be incorporated into a revision to the Constitution. New achievements, experiences and requirements of the development of the Party and nation should be embodied in the revised Constitution.”

If the amendment is passed, Xi will become the first leader after Mao who proposes to add his political thought into the constitution. Some commentators point out that although the content of Xi Jinping Thought is not clear, the fact that Xi is adding his name and political thought into the Constitution demonstrates that he wishes to consolidate his position within and outside the Party, and raise it to be on a par with previous leaders, including Mao and Deng.

Although Xi does not have an equivalent of the Little Red Book, but books about his philosophy are seen and sold everywhere. Slogans of all levels of officials, organisations and students’ education curricula are centred around Xi’s thought. The enshrinement of Xi Jinping Thought in the Constitution is no doubt a step towards a cult of personality. Although an analogy cannot be drawn between the current situation and the Cultural Revolution, Xi’s move can threaten a healthy political regime and civil society in the long run.

 

【憲法內文確立共產黨執政】

修憲內容中建議憲法條文第一條第二款新增了一句「中國共產黨領導是中國特色社會主義最本質的特徵」。在毛澤東時代,憲法正文中多次中國共產黨領導,定名中共的執政地位,甚至指出「公民的基本權利和義務是擁護中國共產黨的領導」。文革結束後,《八二憲法》除了序言中「中共執政」的事實陳述,將正文中有關共產黨的論述全部刪除。

是此修訂明顯是一次歷史倒退,使得中國回到「黨天下」的局面,把自鄧小平時期(尤其是趙紫陽)的政治改革一掃而空。前中紀委書記王岐山在去年兩會便談到:「在黨的領導下,只有黨政分工、沒有黨政分開。」在兩會之前召開的三中全會中通過了《深化黨和國家機構改革方案》,公報中指出「深化黨和國家機構改革的首要任務是,完善堅持黨的全面領導的制度,加強黨對各領域各方面工作領導,確保黨的領導全覆蓋,確保黨的領導更加堅強有力」。BBC的報導中形容這個所謂深化改革方案,「實際上是不改革方案,是反改革方案,也就是說,是和中共十一屆三中全會所確立的改革方向背道而馳的」。中共這樣的論述不單和以往一般重申黨的領導地位,更強調黨要進入社會各個層面和單位,包括企業,使自由經濟進一步收窄;同時,政府和黨的影響滲透到人民生活的每個層面,使個人自由進一步收縮。

【Refirming one-party rule】

A clause is proposed to be added to Article 1 Section 2 of the Constitution, ‘The leadership of the Communist Party of China is the quintessential characteristic of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics’. During the Mao era, the Constitution establishes the rule of Communist Party in numerous instances. It even stipulates that it is a citizen’s basic right and duty to support the leadership of the Party. After the Cultural Revolution, the 1982 Constitution is stripped of many of those references, except stating that the Communist Party is the ruling party.

This amendment is again a regression, reversing Deng’s and especially Zhao Ziyang’s political reforms to separate the state and the party during their times in power. Former Secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection Wang Qishan made the statement two years ago that ‘Under the leadership of the Party, there is only a distribution of labour between the party and the state, not a separation.’ In announcing the passing of the ‘Plans to Deepen the Reform of the Party and the Government Institutions’, the National People’s Congress pointed out that the primary mission in deepening the reforms of the Party and the government institutions is to maintain the all-round leadership of the Party, thus strengthening the leadership of the Party. Quoting BBC China, this reform proposal is in fact an anti-reform proposal. Its conservatism runs counter to the principles of reform established in the 11th National People’s Congress. The narrative adopted by the 13th National People’s Congress not only reaffirms the leadership position of the Party, it also emphasises the significance of party in all areas and levels in society, overshadowing individual liberties.

 

【設立國家監察委員會】

是此修憲另一重要改革在於設立與人民法院、檢察院同級的國家監察委員會,統整和擴大反貪的工作單位。目前中共反貪的主要機關為中紀委,但是紀委只屬於黨的機關,無權監督非中共黨籍人士。而國家的反貪機關可謂「九龍治水」,涉及監察部、檢察院的反貪、反瀆職部門、審計署等。是此改革將反貪的國家機關整合成監察委員會,同黨的紀律檢查機關「合署辦公」。

這次改革從正面來看能夠「整合反腐敗資源力量,擴大監察範圍,豐富監察手段,實現對行使公權力的公職人員監察全面覆蓋」,對於打貪和建立所謂「不敢腐、不能腐、不想腐」的風氣可能有幫助。但是,更令人擔憂的是,這個改革擴大了共產黨對於公民的控制,而監察委缺乏制衡的權利也是對法治赤裸的破壞。監察部部長楊曉渡早前沒有否認監察委將會受黨的領導;他更表示監察委直接向黨中央報告工作,接受黨領導、由黨監督,實現黨的統一領導。這項改革變相令不屬於共產黨黨員的公民,尤其是原本較難管的國企高層,甚至基層群眾性政治組織,也受制於黨的管理,能夠以「反貪」為名抓捕,可謂實施「黨管一切」的第一步。此外,監察委擁有龐大的權利,從談話查詢,到凍結、搜查、扣押等。雖然具體權限仍有待詳細的法規公佈,但現行試點的監察委主任表示他們有權在查辦期間留置嫌疑人最高6個月,甚至有權審查法官和檢察官。此舉明顯違反了最基本的法治精神,縱容以公權限制個人權利。

【Establishing National Supervision Commission of the People's Republic of China】

The proposed National Supervision Committee shares the same legal status as the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate. The aim of the Committee is to coordinate and expand the anti-corruption efforts. The main institution that deals with corruption currently is the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. However, it is only a party institution, so its jurisdiction does not extend to officials that are not Party members. This reform combine government agencies that already handle corruption cases, including the Ministry of Supervision, the anti-corruption unit of the Supreme People's Procuratorate, Anti-misfeasance unit and the National Audit Office.

The positives of this reform are that anti-corruption efforts can be combined and strengthened, given that their area of jurisdiction will be expanded to encompass all officials. This will further discourage the culture of corruption. However, the worrying side of the reform is that the Communist Party’s grip on the lives of citizens will be firmer, and the sheer power possessed by the Committee paralleled by only few other institutions can potentially damage the rule of law. The Minister of Supervision Yang Xiaodu did not deny earlier that the Committee will be under the leadership of the Party. He stated that the Committee will report directly to the Central Committee of the Party, led and monitored by the Party, demonstrating the all-round leadership that the Party has. This reform means that individuals that are not members of the Party including the board members of enterprises owned by the state, even the members of political organisations, will fall under the area of jurisdiction of anti-corruption efforts. Also, the committee possesses a lot of power, from interrogation, asset freezing, to searching and detainment. Although the exact powers possessed by the Committee have yet to be announced, the provisional Committee has the right to detain a suspect for up to six months, and the right to interrogate judges and prosecutors. This move is a betrayal of the spirit of rule of law, and a threat to the rights of private individuals.

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