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Two Constitutions

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Chinese history has taken a new turn. Private sectors of the economy are expanding, and to accomodate these economic developments, and perhaps even more, to respond to the excesses of the Cultural Revolution, a new emphasis has been placed on the rule of law. In December 1982, a new constitution was promulgated. Chinese legal scholars take great pride in their new constitution-the impression of this visitor and the results of a more systematic survey indicate that the 1982 Constitution is generally viewed as the best since the 1949 revolution. Chinese scholars are also quick to point to the guarantee of free speech in their new constitution and draw obvious parallels to the American Constitution and the first amendment, but a question arose in my mind about this comparative exercise: Are the free speech guarantees of the two constitutions, taken as formal legal structures, in fact similar?

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