Environmental Constitutionalism in China: A Constitution without Constitutionalism?

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China has a long tradition of constitutionalising environmental protection, as seen in the state duties to protect the environment since the 1980s. Particularly, in its constitutional amendments in 2018, China has enshrined ‘ecological civilisation’ construction. Yet, the Constitution of China is often commented as a constitution without constitutionalism. My paper examines the constitutional environmental provisions in China, as well as the underpinning constitutional theories. I argue that framing China as a state without constitutionalism is narrowly approached from a liberal perspective. More importantly, environmental constitutionalism in China, whilst being manifested as the state mandate to construct ecological civilisation, goes beyond the traditional rights and courts approach favoured by liberal constitutionalism. Ultimately, an analysis of environmental constitutionalism in China sheds light on how environmental constitutionalism as an environmental concept could be formulated beyond liberalism, a doctrine that is frequently used to describe constitutionalism yet arguably leads to today’s large-scale environmental challenges.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
Publication statusUnpublished - 26 Mar 2024
EventSLSA Conference - University of Portsmouth
Duration: 26 Mar 202428 Mar 2024


ConferenceSLSA Conference

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