Draft of the Constitution of the Republic of China (1913)

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CHAPTER I. The Form of Government.[edit]

Art. 1. The Chinese Republic shall forever be a Republican Union.

CHAPTER II. National Territory.[edit]

Art. 2. The National Territory of the Chinese Republic shall be according to the Dominion, national territory and division, which it hitherto has had, and no change shall be made except in accordance with the law.

CHAPTER III. The Citizens.[edit]

Art. 3. Those who are of Chinese nationality according to law shall be called citizens of the Chinese Republic.

Art. 4. Amongst citizens of the Chinese Republic there shall be no race, class or religious distinctions, but all are equal before the law.

Art. 5. No citizen of China shall be arrested, imprisoned, tried or punished except in accordance with the law.

Art. 6. The habitation of any citizen of China shall not be entered or searched except in accordance with the law.

Art. 7. Citizens of China shall have the right of secrecy of their letters, except where otherwise provided by law.

Art. 8. Citizens of China shall have the liberty of choice of residence, and of freedom of trade; except according to law there shall be no restrictions thereof.

Art. 9. Citizens of China shall have the liberty to call meetings or organize societies, and no restriction shall be enforced except by law.

Art. 10. Citizens of China shall have liberty of speech, writing and publication, and unless according to law no restriction shall be enforced.

Art. 11. Citizens of China shall have liberty of worship and religion. and unless according to law no restriction shall be enforced.

Art. 12. Citizens of China shall enjoy the right of the security of their property, but should there be any disposal necessitated by the public good, it shall be done in accordance with the law.

Art. 13. Citizens of China shall have the right of trial by the judiciary.

Art. 14. Citizens of China shall have the right to offer their suggestions or set forth their complaints according to law.

Art. 15. Citizens of China shall have the right to vote in accordance with the law.

Art. 16. Citizens of China shall have the right to hold official posts according to law.

Art. 17. Citizens of China shall be under the obligation to pay taxes according to law.

Art. 18. Citizens of China shall be under the obligation to serve as soldiers according to law.

Art. 19. Citizens of China shall be under the obligation to receive general education, the period of which shall be fixed by law.

CHAPTER IV. Parliament.[edit]

Art. 20. The legislative power of the Chinese Republic is exercised by Parliament.

Art. 21. Parliament shall consist of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Art. 22. The Senate shall be composed of Senators elected by the highest local assemblies fixed by law and by other Electoral Bodies.

Art. 23. The House of Representatives shall be composed of the representatives elected by the various electoral districts in proportion to the inhabitants of these districts.

Art. 24. The election of the members of both Houses shall be fixed by law.

Art. 25. No person, whoever he may be, shall be a member of both Houses at the same time.

Art. 26. With the exception of a Cabinet Minister no member of either House shall hold additionally any official post, civil or military.

Art. 27. The qualifications of the members of either House shall be fixed by the Houses themselves respectively.

Art. 28. The term of office for a member of the Senate shall be six years. One-third of the members shall be re-elected every two years.

Art. 29. The term of office for a member of the House of Representatives shall be four years.

Art. 30. The two Houses shall each appoint a Speaker and a Vice-Speaker, who shall be elected from amongst the members of their respective Houses.

Art. 31. Parliament itself shall convene, open and close its sessions.

Art. 32. The period for the ordinary session of Parliament shall be four months, which can be prolonged.

Art. 33. The ordinary session of Parliament shall begin on the 1st day of the 3rd month in each year.

Art. 34. An Extraordinary Session of Parliament shall be convoked by a despatch sent out by the President, if any of the following circumstances arise:

(1) A request of more than one-half of the members of each House.
(2) A request by a despatch from the Committee of Parliament.
(3) Whenever the Government believe it necessary.

Art. 35. The opening and the closing of Parliament shall take place simultaneously in both Houses. If one House suspends its session the other House shall do likewise at the same time. When the House of Representatives is dissolved the Senate shall adjourn at the same time.

Art. 36. Discussions in Parliament shall be conducted by the Houses separately. The same Rill shall not be brought up for discussion in both Houses at the same time.

Art. 37. Unless there be an attendance of half of the total number of members of either House, no sitting shall be held.

Art. 38. Any subject discussed in either House shall be decided by the votes of the majority of members attending the sitting, and the Speaker shall have a casting vote.

Art. 39. A decision of Parliament shall be the decision of both Houses. A Bill that has been rejected by either House shall not be brought up again in the same session.

Art. 40. The sessions of both Houses shall be held in public, but when requested by the Government or so decided by the Houses, closed sessions may be held.

Art. 41. Should the House of Representatives consider that either the President or the Vice-President has committed treason he may be impeached by the decision of a majority of two-thirds of the members present at a session in which three-fourths of the total number of members of the House shall be necessary to form a quorum.

Art. 42. Should the House of Representatives consider that Cabinet ministers have violated the law, an impeachment shall be instituted on the decision of two-thirds of the members present.

Art. 43. The House of Representatives may pass a vote of want of confidence in the Cabinet Ministers. The decision shall be made by ballot and the motion shall be considered as passed when supported by a majority of votes.

Art. 44. With regard to the trial by the House of Representatives of an impeached President, Vice-President or Cabinet Minister, no judgment shall be effective without the approval of more than two-thirds of the members present. When a verdict of guilty is pronounced on the President or Vice-President he shall be deprived of his post, but as regards the infliction of punishment, this shall be decided by the Supreme Court. When a verdict of guilty is pronounced upon a Cabinet Minister, he shall be deprived of his office or forfeit his public rights.

Art. 45. Both Houses shall have the right to make suggestions to the Government.

Art. 46. Both Houses shall receive and consider the petitions of the citizens.

Art. 47. The members of either House may introduce interpellations of the Members of the Cabinet, and insist on their being present in the House to make replies thereto.

Art. 48. Members of either House shall not, outside the House, be responsible for opinions expressed and votes cast in the Assembly.

Art. 49. During the session members of both Houses shall not be arrested, detained or tried without the permission of their respective Houses, except for flagrant offences.

Art. 50. The public allowance of the members of both Houses shall be fixed by law.

CHAPTER V. The Committee of Parliament.[edit]

Art. 51. Before the close of the ordinary annual session of Parliament the Senate shall elect nine members and the House of Representatives sixteen to organize the Committee of Parliament.

Art. 52. Any subject discussed in the Committee for Parliament shall be decided by the votes of two-thirds of the members present, who represent two-thirds of the total number of the Committee.

Art. 53. During the period of the adjournment of the ordinary session of Parliament, in addition to the rights and duties set forth in Clause 2 of Art. 34, Art. 61, Clause 2, Art. 81, and Art. 105, the Committee of Parliament shall have the right to receive and settle the petitions of citizens, to make suggestions and address interpellations to the Government.

Art. 54. At the beginning of the ordinary session, the Committee of Parliament shall give a report of all its transactions.

Art. 55. The regulations of the Committee of Parliament shall be fixed by Law.

CHAPTER VI. The President.[edit]

Art. 56. The administrative power of the Chinese Republic shall be lodged in the President, and enforced by the Cabinet Ministers.

Art. 57. In foreign intercourse the President shall be the representative of the Republic.

Art. 58. A citizen of China, who is fully entitled to the right of suffrage, has reached the age of 40 or more and has been residing in China for fully ten years, is eligible as President.

Art. 59. The President shall be elected by an electoral college for the President composed of the members of Parliament of the Chinese Republic. With regard to the election, it shall take place at an attendance of two-thirds or more of the number of electors, and it shall be carried out by secret ballot. The person who obtains three-fourths of the votes of the voters will be elected and should there not be sufficient votes after two attempts at election have been made the two persons who obtain most votes in the second ballot shall be voted for, and the one who has the majority of votes shall be elected.

Art. 60. The period of office of the President shall be five years, and if re-elected he may hold office for one more term. Three months previous to the expiration of the term, the members of Parliament of the Republic shall convene and organize by themselves the electoral college to elect the President for the next period.

Art. 61. When the President takes up his post he shall make an oath as follows: "I hereby swear respectfully that I will most sincerely obey the Constitution, and faithfully discharge the duties of the President."

Art. 62. Should the post of the President become vacant, the Vice-President shall succeed him until the expiration of the term of office of the President. Should the President be unable to discharge his duty for any cause the Vice-President shall act for him. Should the Vice-President vacate his post at the same time the Cabinet shall officiate for the President, but in such event the members of Parliament of the Chinese Republic shall convene themselves within three months to organize an electoral college to elect a new President.

Art. 63. The President shall be relieved from his duty at the expiration of his term of office. If at the end of the period the new President has not yet been elected, or having been elected should be unable to be inaugurated as President, and the Vice-President be also unable to act as President, the Cabinet shall officiate for the President.

Art. 64. The election of the Vice-President shall be according to the regulations fixed for the election of the President, and the election of the Vice-President shall take place at the time when the President is elected. Should the post of Vice-President become vacant a new Vice-President shall be elected.

Art. 65. The President shall promulgate laws and enforce them.

Art. 66. The President may issue or publish orders for the execution of laws and of powers delegated to him by the law.

Art. 67. When it is absolutely urgent and impossible for the President to issue writs for the convocation of an extraordinary session. for the sake of maintaining public peace and preventing extraordinary calamity the President may, with the approval of the Committee for Parliament, promulgate mandates which shall have equal force with laws. At the beginning of the next session of Parliament he shall request Parliament to confirm the above mandates, which if rejected by Parliament shall lose their effect.

Art. 68. The President shall appoint and remove civil and military officials, with the exception of those specially provided in the Constitution or laws.

Art. 69. The President shall have the chief control of the Army and Navy of the whole country. The organization of the army and navy shall be fixed by law.

Art. 70. The President may, with the concurrence of Parliament, declare war; but with regard to defence against foreign invasion, he may request the sanction of Parliament after the declaration of war.

Art. 71 The President may conclude treaties; but with regard to treaties of peace, and those affecting legislation, they shall have force only after the consent of Parliament is obtained.

Art. 72. The President may proclaim Martial Law according to law.

Art. 73. The President may confer decorations and other insignia of honor.

Art. 74. The President may with the concurrence of the Supreme Court of Justice, grant pardons, commute punishment and restore rights, and with regard to a verdict of impeachment he may, with the concurrence of Parliament, make a declaration for the restoration of rights.

Art. 75. The President may suspend the session of either the House of Representatives or Senate, but within the period of one session the suspensory power shall not be exercised more than twice, and on no occasion should the suspension exceed ten days.

Art. 76. With the concurrence of two-thirds or more of the members of the Senate present, the President may dissolve the House of Representatives, but there must not be a second dissolution within one period. When the House of Representatives is dissolved by the President, another election shall take place, and writs should be issued for the convocation of the House at a fixed date within five months.

Art. 77. With the exception of high treason no other charges against the President during the tenure of his office shall be brought against him after he has vacated his office.

Art. 78. The salaries of the President and the Vice-President shall be fixed by law.

CHAPTER VIII. The Cabinet.[edit]

Art. 79. The Cabinet shall be organized by the Cabinet Ministers.

Art. 80. The Prime Minister and the Ministers shall be called Cabinet Ministers.

Art. 81. The appointment of the Premier shall first be approved by the House of Representatives. Should a vacancy in the office of Prime Minister occur during the time of the adjournment of Parliament the President may with the concurrence of the Committee of Parliament appoint a person to act for the Prime Minister.

Art. 82. Cabinet Ministers shall assist the President in assuming responsibilities towards the Cluing Yi-Yuan. Without the counter-signatures of the Cabinet Ministers, the orders of the President or dispatches in connection with State affairs shall have no effect.

Art. 83. When a vote of want of confidence in the Cabinet Ministers is passed, the President shall deprive them of their posts.

Art. 84. The Cabinet Ministers or their special delegates shall be allowed to attend both Houses and make speeches.

CHAPTER VIII. Courts of Justice.[edit]

Art. 85. The Judicial Authority of the Chinese Republic shall be enforced by the Courts of Justice.

Art. 86. The organization of the Courts of Justice and the qualifications of judicial officials shall be fixed by law.

Art. 87. The Judiciary shall attend to and settle all civil and criminal cases, but cases involving administrative affairs or arising from other particular causes, shall be dealt with according to special law.

Art. 88. The judiciary shall be independent in the passing of judgment, and none shall be allowed to interfere.

Art. 89. The trial of cases in law courts shall be conducted publicly, but those affecting the public peace and order or property, may be held in camera.

Art. 90. Except in accordance with law Judicial officials during their continuance in office shall not have their emoluments decreased or be transferred to other offices, nor shall they be removed from office except when they are convicted of crime, or offences punishable according to law by removal from office. But the above does not include the case of re-organization of Judiciary or revision of the standard of the qualifications of judicial officials. The punishments and fines of Judicial officials shall be fixed by law.

CHAPTER IX. The Law.[edit]

Art. 91. The members of both Houses and the President may submit bills of law to Parliament.

Art. 92. Any bill of law which has been passed by Parliament shall be promulgated by the President within fifteen days after the receipt of the despatch containing same.

Art. 93. Should the President disapprove of any law passed by Parliament he shall within the period allowed for promulgation, state the reason of his disapproval and request Parliament to re-consider same. If two-thirds or more of the members of both Houses present shall hold to the former decision, the bill shall be promulgated.

Art. 94. The law shall not be altered or repealed except in accordance with law.

CHAPTER X. State Accounts.[edit]

Art. 95. The introduction of new taxes and alterations in the rate of taxation shall be fixed by law.

Art. 96. Those taxes which are now in force, and have not yet been altered by law, shall be levied as heretofore.

Art. 97. The approval of Parliament must be obtained for national loans, or the conclusion of agreements which tend to increase the burden of the National Treasury.

Art. 98. The House of Representatives shall have the first right to discuss any bill of law in connection with finance.

Art. 99. An estimate of the annual expenditure of the nation shall be compiled in advance in the form of a Budget, by the Government, which shall submit same to the House of Representatives for passage at the beginning of the opening of the session of Parliament. Should the Senate amend or reject the Budget passed by the House of Representatives, it should forward its amendment. or its decision to reject to the House of Representatives for approval, and if no approval be given the Budget shall be considered as being passed.

Art. 100. Should there be any special enterprises, the Government may state the period over which the expenditure will be spread for that item in the Budget and fix the future expenditure.

Art. 101. In order to provide some margin for the shortage of the estimates, the Government may include an item in the Budget to provide for extraordinary expenses. The sums expended under the above item shall be submitted afterwards to the House of Representatives for sanction.

Art. 102. Unless approved by the Government Parliament shall have no right to abolish or curtail any of the following items:

1. Items in connection with the obligations of the Government according to law.
2. Items necessitated by the observance of treaties.
3. Items provided by the law.
4. Tentative appropriations.

Art. 103. Parliament shall not introduce any bill to increase the annual expenses of the Government.

Art. 104. If the Budget cannot be passed the monthly accounts of the Government shall be in the proportion of one-twelfth of the amounts in the Budget for the preceding year. The above course shall also be adopted when the fiscal year begins before the Budget is passed.

Art. 105. Should there be a foreign war, or should there be suppression of internal rebellion when it is impossible to issue writs for the convocation of Parliament, the Government may, with the concurrence of the Committee for Parliament, adopt financial measures for emergency, but it should request the sanction thereof by the House of Representatives at the beginning of the next session of Parliament.

Art. 106. Orders for payments on account of the annual expenditure of the Government should first be investigated by the Audit Bureau.

Art. 107. The statement of the annual payments and annual receipts for each year should first be submitted for investigation to the Audit Bureau which shall report same to the House of Representatives. If the statement be rejected by the House of Representatives, the Cabinet shall be held responsible.

Art. 108. The Audit Bureau shall be organized by auditors elected by the Senate. The period of office of the auditors shall be nine years, elections for one-third of their number shall take place every three years. The election and the duties of the auditors shall be fixed by law.

Art. 109. There shall be a chief of the Audit Bureau, who shall be elected by the auditors themselves.

CHAPTER XI. Annex.[edit]

Art. 110. Parliament may bring up bills for the amendment of the National Constitution. Unless such bills be approved by two-thirds of the members of both Houses present they shall not be introduced. Unless any such bill be countersigned by one-fourth of the members of his House no member of either House shall raise the question of the amendment of the National Constitution.

Art. 111. With regard to the amendment of the National Constitution a Joint Session for the Constitution shall be organized by the members of Parliament to discuss the Bill. Unless there be a quorum of two-thirds of the total number of the members of Parliament no Joint Session can be held, and unless three-fourths of the members present vote in favor no amendment can be passed.

Art. 112. No proposal for a change of the form of Government can be discussed.

Art. 113. Should there be any doubt regarding the meaning of the text of the Constitution, it shall be interpreted by a Joint Session of the Assembly for the Constitution.