Item #3141 Projet de Constitution pour la République Chinoise présenté M. Ma Liang Président du Comite d’Études Constitutionnelles de Pékin par J. J. Barroud Docteur en Droit Professeur de Droit a l’Université de Pékin. Ma Xiangbo, Jean Julien Barraud, Liang.
Projet de Constitution pour la République Chinoise présenté M. Ma Liang Président du Comite d’Études Constitutionnelles de Pékin par J. J. Barroud Docteur en Droit Professeur de Droit a l’Université de Pékin.
Scarce Constitution Draft of the Early Era of the Republic of China

Projet de Constitution pour la République Chinoise présenté M. Ma Liang Président du Comite d’Études Constitutionnelles de Pékin par J. J. Barroud Docteur en Droit Professeur de Droit a l’Université de Pékin.

Pékin [Beijing]: Imprimerie des Lazaristes, 1913. First edition. In modern blue cloth, gilt title on spine. [4] [I]–XXIII [1] [1]–22 [2] [1]–61 [3] p. Fine condition.

Extremely scarce draft of a constitution for the early Republic of China.

Modern China was born after decades of political reform and innovation at the dusk of the Qing dynasty and the victory of the 1911 Revolution. With the first Provisional Presidents Sun Yat-sen and Yuan Shikai China was to be transformed from an empire into a republic. In 1912 the Provisional Constitution came into effect, however, in the political turmoil, Yuan Shikai sought to amend or revise it in his favor and also to counter the Constitution proposed by the Kuomintang. Eventually, a so-called constitutional compact was instituted in May 1914 and ultimately, Yuan declared himself Emperor of China in 1915 and ruled for a short period of 83 days soon before his death.

The present project of the constitution was prepared at this troubled period in 1913 by Ma Xiangbo (Ma Liang), the President of the Committee of the Constitution Studies in Beijing (Comite d'Études Constitutionnelles de Pékin) with Jean Julien Barraud (1881–?) a French professor of law at the Beijing University. The draft is divided into three sections, a general introduction to the idea of constitutional law, with several references to the French and American Constitutions, the actual draft of the constitution, and a large section of explanatory material, again with references to the aforementioned basic laws. The draft consists of 23 articles, and defines China as a unitary constitutional republic, with a presidential system where the President is elected by a bicameral parliament.

The main author of the draft was Ma Xiangbo (Ma Liang; 1840–1939), a Chinese Jesuit, scholar and educator, and government official. Ma Xiangbo was the founder of the Aurora Academy, a Catholic university in Shanghai in 1903, the Fudan University also in Shanghai in 1905, and — at the request of Pope Pius XI — the Fu Jen Catholic University in 1925 in Beijing. After the 1911 Revolution Ma was appointed chief magistrate of Nanking, and for a short period in 1912 served as the President of the Beijing University. Ma was a long-time associate and advisor of Yuan Shikai but strongly opposed his monarchical aspirations.

Extremely scarce work, we could trace only one copy in institutional holdings, at the Hoover Institution.

Literature: Howard L. Boorman, ed. (1967). Biographical Dictionary of Republican China. Vol. 2. New York: Columbia University Press. pp. 470–472.

Price: €28,000.00

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