To commemorate the 30th anniversary of the current constitution, and retrospectively examine the various quests for the judicialization of the constitution by legal professionals, Deheng Law Group held the Second Forum on the Theory and Practice of the Judicial Protection of Citizens’ Constitutional Rights at Qingdao Litian Hotel on January 20th, 2013.
The First Forum was held in 2003 by Deheng Law Group. This year’s Forum was co-chaired by the Chief Editor Liu Guiming of the magazine Democracy and Rule by Lawand the Director of Beijing DHH Law Firm Mr. Jiang Qi. The Managing Director of Deheng Law Group Hu Ming and senior partner Yang Peiyang delivered speeches respectively on “Still on the way: looking back upon the 2003 Forum on the theory and practice of Judicial Protection of Citizens’ Constitutional Rights” and “On-the-spot record: three students sue the Ministry of Education”.
The Director of the Legal Research Center of Deheng Law Group Ms Geng Yan also spoke on “The retrospection of the judicialization of the constitution over the past 10 years and the prospects for it”. The professors and experts who attended the Forum include Prof Huo Weifang of Peking University Law School, the Vice President of the China Constitution Institute Prof Wang Lei, Prof Sun Xinqiang of Beijing Aerospace University, Prof Shen Wei of Shanghai Jiaotong University, Prof Wang Shengsong of Qingdao University, Prof Si Li of Henan University of Economy and Law, Prof Wang Shiqing of Qingdao University of Science and Technology, scholar Wei Yahua from Shaanxi Province. They discussed the issues concerning judicial protection of constitutional rights such as equal rights to education, the right to petition and the right to a free press etc. They proposed to establish constitutional review system with Chinese characteristics and set up constitutional court.
Journalists from the media, including the China Youth Daily, the Legal Daily, the Legal Weekend, the China Lawyer and Dianjing Net etc, interviewed attendees and reported on the Forum. Representatives who were attending the conference of ECLA also attended the Forum, which is one of the activities of Deheng Law Group to commemorate its 20th anniversary.
In August of 2001 Shandong Deheng Law Firm represented three students, namely Luan Qian, Jiang Yan and Zhang Tianzhu, who sued the Ministry of Education for infringing their equal rights to education, as offered by the constitution, by specifying different admission scores for examinees in different provinces taking the same exam at the same time. This case was regarded as an ice-breaking move towards the judicialization of the constitution in China, and drew domestic and even international focus.
On January 11th, 2003 the (first) Forum on the Theory and Practice of Judicial Protection of Citizens’ Constitutional Rights was held in Qingdao,. It attracted many reputable constitutional experts, such as Huo Weifang, Han Dayuan, Jiao Hongchang, Liu Guiming, Li Shuzhong, Wang Lei, Si Li, Sun Xinqiang and Wei Yahua etc. They discussed the case from the perspective of the judicial protection of citizens’ constitutional rights. That case, and the discussion it raised, to some extent promoted the reform of the college admission system of China and some courts subsequently began to refer to constitution provisions in trials. The judicialization of the constitution of China had entered the ice-breaking stage.