Social revolution of the constitution
The cultural translation of the Weimar Constitution in the Republic of China (1919-1949)
With the gradual globalization of law in modern times, there is an increasingly interwoven influence between political lives and legal systems. In global constitutional history, cases are many concerning the interaction of different constitutions. As the most important constitution of the twentieth century, the Constitution of the German Reich, also known as the Weimar Constitution, marks a major change in Western constitutional ideas, structures and even specific systems.
As the paradigm of new constitution in Europe after World War I, the Weimar Constitution had also influenced the constitutional movements in the Republic of China (ROC) and become a significant intellectual resource and institutional model when China’s intelligentsia tried to establish its own constitutionalism. In the constitutional movements throughout China during the 1920s and 1930s, the various draft constitutions made by governments, or civil societies or even some individuals were more than often modeled after the institutional design and basic principles of the Weimar Constitution. When the effort for institutional transplant failed in the early years of the ROC, the Chinese intellectuals had an in-depth reflection on the Weimar Constitution and the constitutional model of China. The Weimar Constitution, so to speak, has a profound impact on modern China’s choice of constitutional model as well as its national transformation.
This research approaches social revolution from a perspective of cultural translation. The analytical object includes both the overall process and the rich details of the reconstruction of constitutional norms, especially in the economic field. The approach of cultural translation goes beyond pure text translation and further explores the reception process of the Weimar Constitution in establishing the Constitution of the ROC where there existed tensions, confrontations, hard decisions and innovative transformations. The research focuses on both China’s reception of the Weimar Constitution and its institutional creation based on its own tradition and reality.