A question that emerged during the course of the recently concluded Round Table on the Implications of the 19th Chinese Communist Party Congress (here, here and here) the speakers wondered, collectively, about the extent and character of the evolution of CPC thinking, and the CPC Basic Line, with respect to Socialist Rule of Law and Socialist Constitutionalism. The question arose in the context of a discussion around the question of the extent which the Work Report delivered by Xi Jinping and the resulting final Resolution of the 19th Congress reflected a downshifting of the importance of the state constitution and constitutionalism in general from the Basic Line of the CPC itself. As interesting was a follow up question around the effects of any such downshift on the relation between the state and the political constitutions of China.
We have started to pursue research along those lines. I produced a preliminary report and assessment of Chinese Constitutionalism: The Emerging Idea and Practice of Constitutional Governance in the 19th CPC Congress Report (HERE). My sense was that the 19th CPC Congress Report evidenced a clearer movement toward what I had previously described a Chinese political constitutionalism, in which the State Constitution assumes an administrative character subordinate to the overarching political constitution of the Communist Party Constitution. That separation of administrative and political functions serves as the bedrock of emerging Chinese constitutional structures (here, here, here, and here).