The Chinese Dream, the Dream of Constitutional Governance

Southern Weekend

Between heaven and earth, time blossoms.

This is our first meeting in 2013, we hope you have been lit up by dreams.

In 2012, you guarded your own life, they defended their own work. Defending their work meant that they defended the dreams in their lives.

In 2012, the buzz about constitutional governance reverberated around the Imperial Halls: “The life of the Constitution lies in its implementation, the authority of the Constitution lies also in its implementation.” We expect that the Constitution will grow teeth, and that constitutional governance will be born soon. Only in this way will it be possible to accomplish this difficult transition of an ancient country to which time has brought great change. Today, the time has come to fulfil dreams. Having undergone the nightmare of the “Cultural Revolution”, where constitutional governance was lost, we have spent thirty years of time to progressively return to logical thinking and common sense. From the remunerative contract responsibility system to individual small business, from township and village enterprises  to “people’s enterprises”, the right of compatriots to autonomously arrange their lives has been slightly returned, we have created flourishing cities, and harvested food to fill warehouses.

We again perceive what is true and what is false, we know what is good and bad; we are burning with ardent love for public justice, and yearn for liberty. In the face of brute force, we join hands, and march through difficult times together, welcoming that life turns for the better.

Today, we finally may raise our hearts from the thick dust of history, and lift our heads from the trivialities of daily life, again march the long march of constitutional governance of our ancestors, and renew the magnificent dreams of our ancestors.

More than 170 years ago, we began to awake from the pipe dream of the Celestial Empire. We were first defeated by England, and then by Japan. The common people increasingly had no livelihood, and a sense of humiliation deeply stung the scholars of China. Protect the country! Protect the race! From foreign affairs to a constitutional monarchy, from constitutional drafting to revolution, from instruments to institutions and to culture, these indignants did not stint to thoroughly overthrow “the Confucius shop”, and uproot their own civilization.

After the Xinhai revolution, the Qing Emperor abdicated, and the ancestors finally established the first republic in Asia. But a free, democratic and strong Constitutional china did not come in the wake of this.

At home and abroad, there war one war after another; among the masses, brutality did not cease.

For a while, the people were far from benevolence, far from justice, far from the heavenly path, and far from a persistence in liberty.

For a while, the people saw the wrong as right, things were deliberately misrepresented, and the vitality of tens of thousands of people was severed.

Beautiful dreams, mountains and rivers were smashed to pieces. Liberty and constitutional governance were both hidden.

After going through an aeon in the human world, in which human nature was dimmed, we still are a people that can dream, and have hearts that can dream.

Today, we absolutely do not only dream about material wealth, we also hope for spiritual plenty; we absolutely not only dream that the country can become strong and wealthy, we hope even more that its citizens can find self-respect. A new people and a new country is saving the nation from extinction and enlightening it. No one can do without others, no one can overpower others. Constitutional governance is the basis for all beautiful dream.

Only by honouring the commitment of constitutional governance and sticking to rights, will it be possible for everyone to lead a tranquil life brimming with colour with a heart like the sun and the moon; will it be possible for widowers, widows, orphans and the childless to feel the warmth of the winter sun and not quiver like a string; will it be possible for “urban management” and peddlers to talk and laugh with each other; and will it be possible for housing to become a castle for oneself and family members;

Only by honouring the commitment of constitutional governance, limiting and dividing power, will citizens be able to loudly proclaim their criticism of public power; will it be possible for everyone to live freely according to their inner beliefs; and will we be able to build a free and strong country.

Only by honouring the commitment of the great dream of constitutional governance, will everyone be able to dream individual dreams. And this requires that we start with the matters at hand, start from guarding lives  at this very moment, and must not leave these important tasks to our children and grandchildren.

Many people have always deeply understood this point, many people already have striven to realize this point.

It is not just the outstanding who dream, it is those who are good to dreamers who are outstanding.

Your inborn right is to be permitted to dream, and to fulfil this dream!

Applauding your dreams and making extra efforts for the dream of this country, is the dream of many news people, and is their just ambition. They are devoted to news and even more devoted to their inner feelings. They wish that you also have a rosy-coloured dream; freedom to achieve yourself, and complete that which heaven bestowed on you.

There is always the dream that all people can become dignified people, both when they are in high position, and when they perform in the street; there is always the dream that everyone will have love in their hearts, even criminals may not necessarily be extremely evil, there are always compassionate hearts moving freely; there is always the dream that class is only a driver to lead people to freely circulate, and no longer a moat of suspicion, jealousy and hatred; there is always the dream that this five thousand year old civilization will endure without end, and will bring a new, crystal clear fountain to improve the modern condition of humankind…

Only by fulfilling hundreds and thousands of dreams will it be possible to comfort the deep-rooted anguish of this century.

After hanging around for 170 years, how difficult it is for dreams to come true! After 170 years, there are still people thirsting for conscience to sprout new buds, and to revive the essence of the Mandate of Heaven; there still are people who persistently demand that rights are born one by one, that politics returns to the right, and that public justice will flow freely. There still are people who are convinced that, regardless of how many difficulties there are, in the end, dreams will lead to a good system of constitutional governance, where sincerity and excellent customs will be in fashion.

The ancestors endured great hardships in their work, were trampled upon and died for their cause. Today, they descendants continue this ideal, and light the lamp to advance.

Fulfilling dreams, naturally requires learning from the wisdom of earlier worthies, to become reconciled with the beliefs, habits and feelings of the ancients. Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism, Legalism and Mohism, these various schools of thinking are all sources; Zhou, Han, Tang, Song and Ming, every dynasty has something worth having.

But this does not mean to revive antiquity, the ancients cannot give us everything we need in the present. It is just the cast that we must no longer lightly criticize the ancestors, and but calmly absorb matters and proceed, in order to let China’s civilization flourish with new flowers and grow new fruits.

Fulfilling dreams naturally requires the assimilation of foreign experiences. Therefore, we must earnestly examine Greek democracy and Roman rule of law, learn from Anglo-American constitutional governance, and pursue modern science, technology and civilization.

But this also does not only mean that we must be the top student of a Western civilization, Westerners have Westerners’ evolutionary path, similarly, they may not necessarily be able to directly give us all we need today.

We must stand on our own land, and together with the people of all nations, live a sort of new life that merges the past and the present, and create a new sort of civilization that combines the Chinese and the Western. In this surge of the old , the new, the Chines and the Western, we must respect the common values of humankind, and must also not be afraid to dream our own new dreams.

We praise the ancients, and commend neighbours, not because they are so perfect, but because we know that their eyes are brimming with happiness, and that liberty flows in their hearts.

The Chinese people ought to have been free people. The Chinese dream ought to have been constitutional governance.

Only under constitutional governance will it be possible for the country to continue to become strong and wealthy, only under constitutional governance will it be possible for the people to become truly formidable. Only by fulfilling the dream of constitutional governance will it be possible to strive for national sovereignty abroad even better, and safeguard the freedom of the nation; will it be possible to even better strive for civil rights at home, and safeguard the people’s freedom. And the freedom of the country must, in the end, rest on the freedom of the people, it must rest on the fact that everyone may speak their hearts, and everyone may have dreams in their hearts.

Born as human beings, who could not ardently love liberty? This liberty is not only to speak of rights aimed at power, it also refers to forgiveness aimed at retaliation, it means wisdom aimed at ignorance, it means humanity aimed at tyranny, it means virtue aimed at injustice.

When the great path prevails, all under heaven belongs to everyone; the myriad beings will be at ease, and all have a just life. This is the dream of the ancients, the dream of the ancestors, and it is the dream of many people today.

The Chinese Dream, the dream of liberty, the dream of constitutional governance.

The myriad beings decay fast, but the dream lives forever. The myriad beings, are born, and do not perish because of dreams. Dreams are produced endlessly, because even when you are defeated a hundred times, the one hundred and first time, your heart may be filled with the hope not to die. Still, there are people who listen to your dream, who expect you to dare to dream. You crawl up from suffering, they root for you; you gain a beautiful life, they root for you… They have no other capital, they only persist in dreams; they have no other advantage, they only pursue truth.

A true word can be heavier than the entire world, a dream can let lives burst forth with radiance!

《中国梦,宪政梦》

天地之间,时间绽放。
这是我们在2013年的第一次相见,愿你被梦想点亮。
2012年,你守护自己的生活,他们守护自己的工作。守护这份工作,就是在守护他们对生活的梦想。
2012年,庙堂之上发出的宪政强音嗡然回响:“宪法的生命在于实施,宪法的权威也在于实施。”我们期待宪法长出牙齿,宪政早日落地。惟如此,才能成就这个沧桑古国的艰难转型;惟如此,国家与人民,才能重新站立于坚实的大地之上。
今天,已是能够梦想的中国,今天,已是兑现梦想的时代。经历过宪政缺失的“文革”梦魇,我们花费三十多年的时间来逐渐回归常理与常情。从土地联产承包责任制到个体户、乡镇企业到“民企”,稍稍归还国人自主安排生活的权利,我们便创造了繁华城市,收获了满仓粮食。
我们重新体认什么是真,什么是假,是其是,非其非;我们重燃对公义的热爱,对自由的向往。面对暴虐强力,我们双手相握,一起走过艰难时刻,迎接生活转机。
今天,我们终于可以从厚厚的历史尘埃中挺起胸,从琐碎的日常生活中抬起头,重走先辈的宪政长征,重温先辈的伟大梦想。
一百七十多年前,我们开始从天朝上国的迷梦中醒来。先败于英,后败于日。百姓愈加民不聊生,耻感深深刺痛中国士人。保国!保种!由洋务而君宪,由立宪而革命。从器物到制度再至文化,激愤者不惜彻底打倒“孔家店”,决绝地将自己的文明连根拔起。
辛亥革命后,清帝退位,先辈们终于建立了亚洲第一个共和国。但是,一个自由、民主、富强的宪政中国并没有随之而来。
国家内外,战争连连;人群内外,残酷不断。
一度,人们远离仁,远离义,远离天道,远离对自由的坚守。
一度,人们认错为对,指鹿为马,万千生灵生机断绝。
美梦与山河,齐齐破碎。自由与宪政,双双消隐。
度尽人世劫波,深味人性幽暗,我们依然是能做梦的人,有颗能做梦的心。
今天,我们断断不只梦想物质丰盛,更希望性灵充盈;我们断断不只梦想国力能强盛,更希望国民有自尊。新民和新国,救亡与启蒙,谁也离不开谁,谁也不能压倒谁。而宪政便是这一切美梦的根基。
兑现宪政,坚守权利,人人才能心如日月流光溢彩;鳏寡孤独才能感受冬日暖意而非瑟瑟发抖;“城管”与小贩才能谈笑风生;房屋才能成为自己与家人的城堡;
兑现宪政,限权分权,公民们才能大声说出对公权力的批评;每个人才能依内心信仰自由生活;我们才能建成一个自由的强大国家。
兑现宪政大梦,每个人才能做好个人的美梦。而这需要我们就从手边做起,就从守护此时此刻的生活做起,而不要将重任留给子孙。
很多人一直深深懂得这一点,很多人早就努力践行这一点。
不是杰出者才做梦,是善于做梦者才杰出。
你的天赋权利就是可以梦想,并且兑现梦想!
为你的梦想鼓掌,为这个国家的梦想加油,这就是很多新闻人的梦想,是他们不大不小的野心。他们忠于新闻,更忠于内心。愿你也有个玫瑰色的美梦;自由成就自己,完成天之所赋。
总会梦想人人都可以做一个有尊严的人,不论身居高位,还是街头卖艺;
总会梦想人人内心有爱,即使罪犯也未必穷凶极恶,总有恻隐之心自由闪动;
总会梦想阶层只是引人自由流动的动力,而不再是相互猜忌和仇视的天堑;总会梦想这五千年文明生生不息,为改善人类的现代处境,捧出一掬甘冽清泉……
兑现这一千一万个梦想,才能抚平这一百多年的刻骨痛楚。
兜兜转转一百七十年,美梦成真何其难!一百七十年后,依然有人渴望良知萌新芽,重温天命之谓性;依然有人坚持要求权利一一落地,政治复归于正,公义自在流淌。
依然有人相信,不管多难,梦想终会落实为宪政良制,风行为敦敦美俗。
先辈们筚路蓝缕,践义成仁。如今,后人承继其志,燃灯前行。
兑现梦想,自然要借鉴前贤智慧,与古人的信仰、习俗和情感和解。儒释道法墨,百家皆是源泉;周汉唐宋明,代代皆有可取。
但这决不是要复古,古人不能给予今天所需的一切。只是不再轻易贬损先辈,平心静气地吸收转进,以让中华文明开新花,结新果。
兑现梦想,自然要吸取世界经验。所以要认真审视希腊民主,罗马法治,借鉴英美宪政,追赶现代科技文明。
但这也不是仅仅作一个西方文明的优等生,西人有西人演进的轨迹,同样未必能直接给予我们今天所需的一切。
我们要站在自己的大地上,与各国人民一起,生活出一种古今相融的新生活,文明出一种中西合璧的新文明。在古今中西的激荡中,要遵循人类共通的价值,也要不惮于做自己的新梦。
称美古人,赞扬邻居,不是因为他们足够完美,而是因为我们熟悉他们眼中洋溢的快乐,心底流淌的自由。
中国人本应就是自由人。中国梦本应就是宪政梦。
宪政之下,才能国家持续强盛,宪政之下,才有人民真正强大。兑现宪政梦想,才能更好地外争国权,维护国家的自由;才能更好地内争民权,维护人民的自由。而国家的自由最终必得落脚于人民的自由,必得落脚于人人可以我口说我心,人人可以用心做美梦。
生而为人,谁能不热爱自由?这自由,不仅是权利针对权力而言,也是宽恕针对报复而言,是般若针对无明而言,是仁爱针对暴虐而言,是有道针对无道而言。
大道之行,天下为公;万物自在,各正性命。这就是古人的梦想,先辈的梦想,也是今天很多人的梦想。
中国梦,自由梦,宪政梦。
万物速朽,但梦想永在。万物诞生,因梦想不灭。梦想就是生生之几,就是当你失败了一百次,那第一百零一次充实你内心的不死之希望。
依然有人倾听你的梦想,期待你敢于做梦。你从苦难中爬起,他们为你加油;你尝尽人世冷暖,他们为你加油;你收获美好生活,他们为你加油……他们别无所资,惟有对梦想的执着;他们别无所长,惟有对真相的追求。
一句真话能比整个世界还重,一个梦想能让生命迸射光芒!

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4 thoughts on “The Chinese Dream, the Dream of Constitutional Governance

  1. Pingback: The Chinese Debate on Constitutionalism: Texts and Analyses (II) | China Copyright and Media

  2. Pingback: Rogier Creemers: The Constitutionalism Debate in China | UK Constitutional Law Group

  3. Pingback: I·CONnect – The Constitutionalism Debate in China

  4. Pingback: Censorship has not killed Weibo

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