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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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A Confucian Constitutionalist State

A Confucian Constitutionalist State

The Constitutional Role and Contemporary Significance of Republicanism Under a Symbolic Monarch

(p.71) Chapter 3 A Confucian Constitutionalist State
A Confucian Constitutional Order

Jiang Qing

Princeton University Press

This chapter turns to the third feature of Confucian constitutionalism: the symbolic monarch. It describes the state as a mysterious body from a distant past, and present-day people have an obligation to maintain it and hand it down to future generations. A leader chosen by the current generation such as an elected president cannot express the state's historical legitimacy because the state also belongs to past and future generations. Whereas a hereditary monarch descended from a noble and ancient lineage is most likely to embody the historical and trans-generational identity of a state. In a modern-day Confucian constitutionalism, the tricameral legislature would exercise real political (legislative) power, the Academy would exercise supervisory power, and the monarch would exercise symbolic power.

Keywords:   Confucian constitutionalism, symbolic monarch, historical legitimacy, trans-generational identity, symbolic power

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