The Three Represents and China's Constitution: Presaging Cultural Relativistic Asian Regionalism

Currents International Trade Law Journal, Vol. 14, Summer 2004

Posted: 28 Feb 2004

See all articles by M. Ulric Killion

M. Ulric Killion

Shanghai International Studies University


China is considering an amendment to the 1982 Constitution that incorporates the protection of human rights and private property and Jiang Zemin's Theory of the Three Represents. This article addresses the underlying philosophy for incorporating the Three Represents, as opposed to the efficacy of a constitutional amendment addressing human rights and property rights.

The pending amendment presents an issue of the effect of constitutionalizing party ideology on the directional development and growth of Chinese constitutionalism, sovereignty, nationalism, and even regionalism. The proposed amendment may stem from a conflict between Chinese pragmatism and Western liberalism, if not, a polity struggling for legitimacy. A Chinese pragmatism and Western liberalism at the crossroads resulted in China evolving from old culturalism to new culturalism, as opposed to a Sino-British post-Opium War, shifting from old culturalism to political entity. Constitutionalism, sovereignty and nationalism, also evolved to an entity representative of pragmatism and liberalism at the crossroads, being China's new culturalism. In terms of international law and politics, a new culturalism may result in China redefining for other developing countries and economies a new constitutionalism, sovereignty and nationalism. As a result, the Three Represents also presage viability and breadth of cultural relativistic Asian regionalism, as an alternative to market-led cooperative regionalism, or free trade agreements (FTAs) and regional trading arrangements (RTAs).

Keywords: China, constitution, pragmatism, liberalism, sovereignty, nationalism, regionalism, Asian regionalism, Third World, ideology, culture, culturalism, relativism, three represents, Jiang Zemin, free trade agreements, FTAs, regional trading arrangements, RTAs, free trade areas, customs unions, GATT, WTO

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Killion, M. Ulric, The Three Represents and China's Constitution: Presaging Cultural Relativistic Asian Regionalism. Currents International Trade Law Journal, Vol. 14, Summer 2004, Available at SSRN:

M. Ulric Killion (Contact Author)

Shanghai International Studies University ( email )

620 Gubei Road

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