Chapter 1 of the Chinese Constitution Simplified

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November 20, 2021

Article 1

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is a socialist state governed by a people’s democratic dictatorship led by the working class, based on an alliance of workers and peasants.

It is led by the Communist Party of China.

No organization or individual can damage the socialist system.

Article 2

All power in the PRC belongs to the people through the:

  • National People’s Congress (NPC)
  • local people’s congresses (LPCs)

Article 3

PRC institutions use democratic centralism.

The NPC and the LPCs at all levels shall be created through democratic election.

All administrative, supervisory, adjudicatory and procuratorial organsof the state shall be created by the people’s congresses and shall be responsible to them and subject to their oversight.

The division of functions and powers between the central and local state institutions shall honor the principle of giving full play to the initiative and motivation oflocal authoritiesunder the unified leadership of the central authorities.

Article 4

All ethnic groups of the PRC are equal.

The state shall protect the lawful rights and interests of all ethnic minorities and uphold and promote relations of equality, unity, mutual assistance and harmony among all ethnic groups.

Discrimination against and oppression of any ethnic group are prohibited; any act that undermines the unity of ethnic groups or creates divisions among them is prohibited.

The state shall, in light of the characteristics and needs of all ethnic minorities, assist all ethnic minority areas inaccelerating their economic and cultural development.

All areas inhabited by ethnic minoritiesshall practice regional autonomy, establish autonomous organs, andexercise the power to self-govern. All ethnic autonomous areas are inseparable parts of the PRC.

All ethnic groups shall have the freedom to use and develop their own spoken and written languages and to preserve or reform their own traditions and customs.

Article 5

The PRC shall practice law-based governance and build a socialist state under the rule of law.

The state shall safeguard the unity and sanctity of the socialist legal system.

No law, administrative regulationor local regulation shall be in conflict with the Constitution.

All state organs andarmed forces, all political parties and socialorganizations, and all enterprises and public institutions must abide by the Constitution and the law. Accountability must be enforced for all actsthatviolatethe Constitution or laws.

No organization or individual shall haveany privilege beyond the Constitution or the law.

Article 6

The foundationof the socialist economic system of the PRC is socialist public ownership of the means of production, that is, ownership by the whole people and collective ownership by the working people.

The system of socialist public ownership has eradicated the system of exploitation of man by man, and practices the principle of “from each according to his ability, to each according to his work.”

In the primary stage of socialism, the state shalluphold a fundamental economic system under which public ownership is the mainstay and diverse forms of ownership develop together, and shall uphold an income distribution system under which distribution according to work is the mainstay, while multiple forms of distribution exist alongside it.

Article 7

The state sector of the economy, that is, the sector of the socialist economy under ownership by the whole people, shall be the leading force in the economy. The state shall ensure the consolidation and development of the state sector of the economy.

Article 8

Rural collective economic organizations shallpractice a two-tiered system of both unified and separate operations with household contract management as its basis. Rural economic cooperatives —producer, supply and marketing, credit and consumer cooperatives —are part of the socialist economy under collective ownershipby the working people.

Working people who belong to rural collective economic organizations shall have the right, within the scope prescribed by law, to farm cropland and hillsides allotted to them for their private use, engage in household sideline production, and raise privately owned livestock.

The various forms of cooperative economic activities in cities and towns, such as those in the handicraft, industrial, building, transport, commercial and service trades,shallall be part ofthe socialist economy under collective ownership by the working people.

The state shall protect the lawful rights and interests of urban and rural collective economic organizations and shall encourage, guide and assist the growth of the collective sector of the economy.

Article 9

All mineral resources, waters, forests, mountains, grasslands, unreclaimed land, mudflats and other natural resources are owned by the state, that is, by the whole people, except for the forests, mountains, grasslands, unreclaimed land and mudflats that are owned by collectives as prescribed by law.

The state shall ensure the rational use of natural resources and protect rare animals and plants. It is prohibited for any organization or individual to seize or damage natural resources by any means.

Article 10

The state owns land in cities.

Collectives own:

  • land in rural and suburban areas, except for state lands prescribed by law,
  • housing sites
  • cropland
  • hillsides allotted for private use

The state may, in order to meet the demands of the public interest and in accordance with the provisions of law, expropriate or requisition land and furnish compensation.

No organization or individual shall unlawfully transfer land through seizure, sale and purchase, or in any other form. Land-use rights may be transferred in accordance with the provisions of law.

All organizations and individuals using land must use it in an appropriate manner.

Article 11 Non-public economic sectors that are within the scope prescribed by law, such as individually owned and private businesses, are an important component of the socialist market economy.

The state shall protect the lawful rights and interests of non-public economic sectors such asindividually owned and private businesses. The state shall encourage, support and guide the development of non-public economic sectors and exercise oversight and regulation over non-public economic sectors in accordance with law.

Article 12

Socialist public property is sacred and inviolable.

The state shall protect socialist public property. It is prohibited for any organization or individual to seize or damage state or collective property by any means.

Article 13

Citizens’ lawful private property is inviolable.

The state shallprotect the right of citizens to own and inherit private property in accordance with the provisions of law.

The state may, in order to meet the demands of the public interest and in accordance with the provisions of law, expropriate or requisition citizens’ private property and furnish compensation.

Article 14

The state shall continually raise labor productivity and improve economic performance to develop productive forces byincreasing working people’smotivation and level of technical skill, promoting advanced science and technology, improving the systems of economic management and enterprise operation and management, practicing different forms of socialist responsibility systemand improving the organization of work.

The state shall practice strict economy and combat waste.

The state shall appropriately handleaccumulation and consumption, give due consideration at once to the interests of the state, collectives and individuals and, based on the development of production, gradually improve the material and cultural wellbeingof the people.

The state shallestablish a sound social security system compatible with the level of economic development.

Article 15

The state shall practice a socialist market economy.

The state shall strengthen economic legislation and improve macro regulation.

The state shall, in accordance with law,prohibit disruption of the socioeconomic order by any organization or individual.

Article 16

State-owned enterprises shall:

  • have the right to operate autonomously.
  • practice democratic management through employee congresses and other means.

Article 17

Collective economic organizations shall, on the condition that they abide by relevant laws, have the autonomy to independently conduct economic activities.

Collective economic organizations shall practice democratic management and shall, in accordance with the provisions of law, elect and remove their managementpersonnel and decide on major issues concerning their operations and management.

Article 18

The PRC shall permit foreign enterprises, other economic organizations and individuals, to invest in China and to enter into various forms of economic cooperation with Chinese enterprises or other economic organizations in accordance with the provisions of law of the PRC.

All foreign enterprises, other foreign economic organizations and Chinese-foreign joint ventures in the territory of China shall abide by the law of the PRC.

Their lawful rights and interests shall be protected by the law of the PRC.

Article 19

The state shall develop socialist education to raise the scientific and cultural level of the whole nation.

The state shall run schools of all types, provide universal compulsory primary education, develop secondary, vocational and higher education, and also develop preschool education.

The state shall developdifferent types of educational facilities, eliminate illiteracy, provide political, cultural, scientific, technical and field-specific education for workers, peasants, state employees and other working people, and encourage people to become accomplished individuals through self-study.

The state shall encourage collective economic organizations, state enterprises, public institutions and other social actors to run education programs of various types in accordance with the provisions of law.

The state shall promote the common speech — putonghua — used nationwide.

Article 20

The state shall develop the natural and social sciences, disseminate scientific and technological knowledge,and commendand award research achievements andtechnological discoveries and inventions.

Article 21

To protect the people’s health, the state shall develop medical and health care,develop modern medicine and traditional Chinese medicine, encourage and support the running of various medical and health facilities by rural collective economic organizations, state enterprises, public institutions andneighborhood organizations, and promote public healthactivities.

To improve the people’s physical fitness, the state shall develop sports and promote public sports activities.

Article 22

The state shall develop art and literature, the press, radio and television broadcasting, publishing, libraries, museums and cultural centers, and other cultural undertakings that serve the people and socialism; and shall promote public cultural activities.

The state shall protect places of scenic beauty and historical interest, valuable cultural relics and other forms of importanthistorical and cultural heritage.

Article 23

The state shall train all kinds of specialized personnel to serve socialism, expand the ranks of intellectuals, and create the conditions for giving full play to their role in socialist modernization.

Article 24

The state shall promote socialist cultural-ethical advancement through widely accessible education on ideals, morality, culture, discipline and law, and through the formulation and observance of different forms of rules of conduct and public pledges among different urban and rural populations.

The state shall:

  • champion core socialist values
  • advocate the civic virtues of love for the motherland, for the people, for work, for science and for socialism
  • educate the people in patriotism and collectivism, in internationalism and communism, and in dialectical and historical materialism
  • combat capitalist, feudal and other forms of decadent thought.

Article 25

The state shall promote family planning to see that population growth is consistent with economic and social development plans.

Article 26

The state shall protect and improve living environments and the ecological environment, and prevent and control pollution and other public hazards.

The state shall organize and encourage afforestation and protect forests.

Article 27

All state organs shall practice the principle of lean and efficient administration, a work responsibility system, and a system of employee training and evaluation in order to keepimproving the quality and efficiency of their work and combat bureaucratism.

All state organs and state employees must rely on the support of the people, stay engaged with them, listen to their opinions and suggestions, accept their oversight, and work hard to serve them.

State employees, when assuming office, should make a public pledge of allegiance to the Constitution in accordance with the provisions of law.

Article 28

The state shall maintain public order, suppress treason and other criminal activities that jeopardizenational security, punish criminal activities, including those that endanger public securityor harm the socialist economy, and punish and reform criminals.

Article 29

The armed forces of the PRC belong to the people. Their missions are to strengthen national defense, resist aggression, defend the motherland, safeguard the people’s peaceful work, participate in national development, and work hard to serve the people.

The state shall make the armed forces more revolutionary, more modernized and better regulated in order to strengthen national defense capabilities.

Article 30 The administrative areas of the PRC shall be delineated as follows:

(1) The country consists ofprovinces, autonomous regions and cities directly under central government jurisdiction;

(2) Provinces and autonomous regions consist of autonomous prefectures, counties, autonomous counties and cities; and

(3) Counties and autonomous counties consist oftownships, ethnic townships and towns.

Cities directly under central government jurisdictionand other large citiesconsist ofdistricts and counties. Autonomous prefectures consist of counties, autonomous counties and cities.

All autonomous regions, autonomous prefectures and autonomous counties are ethnic autonomous areas.

Article 31 The state may establish special administrative regions when necessary. The systems instituted in special administrative regions shall, in light of specific circumstances, be prescribed by laws enacted by the National People’s Congress.

Article 32

The PRC shall protect the lawful rights and interests of foreigners in the territory of China; foreigners in the territory of China must abide by the law of the PRC.

The PRC may grant asylum to foreigners who request it onpolitical grounds.

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