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A Confucian Constitutional OrderHow China's Ancient Past Can Shape Its Political Future$
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Jiang Qing, Daniel A. Bell, and Ruiping Fan

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691154602

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691154602.001.0001

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The Way of the Humane Authority

The Way of the Humane Authority

The Theoretical Basis for Confucian Constitutionalism and a Tricameral Parliament

(p.27) Chapter 1 The Way of the Humane Authority
A Confucian Constitutional Order

Jiang Qing

Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses Western-style democracy. Although democracy—more specifically, a form of government that grants ultimate controlling power to democratically elected representatives—is built on the separation of powers, the separation is a matter of implementation rather than legitimization. In a democracy, legitimacy is based on the sovereignty of the people. However, the chapter objects to the idea that there is only one source of legitimacy; one political alternative is the Confucian Way of the Humane Authority. According to the Gongyang Commentary, political power must have three kinds of legitimacy—that of heaven, earth, and the human—for it to be justified. All three forms of legitimacy must be in equilibrium, but the chapter notes that the equilibrium is not one of equality.

Keywords:   Confucian way, humane authority, Western-style democracy, legitimacy, sovereignty, Gongyang Commentary, political power

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