Speaker: Thomas Kellogg (Open Society Foundations)

For much of 2013, a vigorous and wide-ranging debate has raged in intellectual circles in China over the need for constitutional reform. The debate has seen the emergence of three camps: the socialist constitutionalists, who favour a gradualist reform path that adheres to the current constitution; the liberals, who are sceptical that meaningful reform can and will take place under existing constitutional arrangements; and the Leftists, who have vigorously attacked reform proposals as no more than thinly-veiled attempts to undermine the one-Party state.

This debate, which reached its apex during the summer months, has now quieted somewhat, with socialist constitutionalists reasserting their position as the voice of the moderate mainstream. Though the outpouring of commentary has not led to any specific reforms, nonetheless it did demonstrate the strong consensus among academics and intellectuals in favour of constitutional change. The debate also highlighted the frustration among many intellectuals over the glacial pace of legal and political reform over the past decade, and served as a vehicle for public outreach and education on the meaning of and prospects for constitutional development in China.

All are welcome, no registration is necessary. For more information, please contact Dr. Rogier Creemers (convener): rogier.creemers@csls.ox.ac.uk.