Social Credit, Big Data and the Interplay Between the Party and the State Constitution

The weight and importance China’s new leadership will afford to the Party Constitution and State Constitution will set the broader policy background against which big data governance and social credit will evolve.

Signals of a fast evolution of social credit have been visible for some time. Xi Jinping’s Work Report mentioned several of the elements which, together, constitute social credit. Regulatory development in this area has been extraordinarily fast, too.

At the same time, perceptions about a downshifting of the State Constitution have emerged, and were discussed during and after a Round Table on the 19th Congress held at Penn State. These perceptions imply the assumption that earlier Congresses of the CCP had placed a stronger emphasis on the State Constitution than the 19th Congress. This is a comparative assumption, which provokes the question of whether such a trend can be identified.

To answer this question, the entire developmental trajectory of the nexus between the Party Constitution and the State Constitution was traced, as this trajectory is reflected in work reports to the CCP Congress.

To perform a deeper examination of this trend, a data set of references to the political constitution and the administrative/operational constitution made by organs of the CCP is being developed for the period between 1949 and 2017. References are being coded according to the framework used in “Chinese Constitutionalism”

  • References to the State Constitution’ are textual references to the Constitution of the PRC;
  • ‘References to the Party Constitution’ are references to the Constitution of the CCP as an autonomous source of law;
  • ‘Mixed references’ are references describing the nature and function of the Party Constitution, the State Constitution, and the nexus between them.

This paper describes trends in Chinese constitutionalism as they emerge from the Work Reports delivered between 1949 and 2012 to the Congress of the CCP, and it can be downloaded here.

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