[Book review of:] Su Li 'The Constitution of Ancient China'

Cong-rui QIAO

Research output: Contribution to JournalBook/Film/Article/Exhibition reviewAcademic


It is widely accepted that holding the exercise of government powers accountable to a State’s constitution necessitates the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.1 This has rendered constitutional studies popular with human rights and democratic movements burgeoning since the 1990s.2 Meanwhile, public interest in the emerging powers have been growing as a result of the latter’s rising economic and geopolitical preponderance. In this context, China’s governance norms and practices are developing into a focus of academic inquiries across the globe.

Among the relevant studies, a recent book stands out by Professor Zhu Suli (pen-named Su Li), an influential Chinese jurist: The Constitution of Ancient China. This book contains nine chapters, five being the author’s introduction, three topic-specific analyses and response to his critics, and the remaining four being others’ critiques. In this review of that book, I focus on Su Li’s own contribution, first introducing his non-conventional approach to the constitution, and then explaining how it illuminates constitutional aspects of ancient China. Finally, I briefly comment on the book’s limitations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-208
Number of pages4
JournalCross-cultural Human Rights Review
Issue number1
Early online date23 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

Special Issue: UDHR


  • China
  • Chinese constitution
  • Chinese history


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