Principles of the Constitution (1908)

Principles of the Constitution  (1908) 
Great Qing, translated by United States Department of State
The Powers of the Sovereign
1. The Emperor of the Grand Qing Dynasty shall rule supreme over the Grand Qing Empire for ten thousand generations in succession and be honored forever.
2. The sacred majesty of the sovereign may not be offended against.
3. The sovereign enacts and promulgates laws and determines what may be assigned to others for deliberation. (Laws passed by parliament shall not become effective without the approval and promulgation by the sovereign.)
4. The sovereign has the power to convoke, to open and close, to suspend or extend the time of, and to dissolve parliament. (On the dissolution of the parliament, the people shall be called upon to elect new members of parliament. The members of the old parliament shall be classed with the common people. If any of them raises objection, he shall be punished by the appropriate law according to circumstances.)
5. The sovereign has power to appoint and dismiss all officials and to fix their salaries. (The power of appointment rests with the sovereign upon the advice of his grand ministers. The parliament may not interfere with this power.)
6. The sovereign has supreme command over the army and navy, and the power to make all regulations concerning them. (The sovereign has the absolute power to dispatch armies and to fix the number of troops. Parliament may not interfere in military affairs.)
7. The sovereign has the power to declare war and make peace, to conclude treaties, and to appoint and receive diplomatic envoys. (National foreign relations shall be controlled by the sovereign only, without the advice of the parliament.)
8. The sovereign has the power to declare martial law and, in time of emergen- cy, to restrict the personal liberty of the subjects.
9. The sovereign has the power to confer distinctions and to grant pardons. (Mercy is from above. Officials, below, may not arrogate it to themselves.)
10. The sovereign has supreme power over the administration of the laws and the appointment of judges, but he shall act in accordance with the im- perially sanctioned laws and shall not alter them by decrees. (Power to administer the law rests with the sovereign. Judges are appointed by the sovereign to act for him in the administration of the laws. Changes shall not be made by imperial decrees and the imperially sanctioned laws must be treated as final in order to avoid confusion, because the interests at stake in judicial cases are important.)
11. The sovereign has the power to issue imperial decrees or to cause them to be issued; but he shall not change or abrogate laws which have already received imperial sanction, without first obtaining the advice of parliament. (Statutes proceed from his judicial power and imperial decrees from his executive power. As the two powers should be separate, imperial decrees must not be used to abrogate statutes.)
12. When parliament is not in session, the sovereign may, in case of urgent necessity, issue Imperial decrees with the same effect as laws and raise the neces- sary funds. But he shall refer these matters to the parliament when it meets next year.
13. The expenses of the Imperial Household shall be fixed by the sovereign and drawn from the national treasury. Parliament shall not interfere with this power.
14. The grand ceremonies of the Imperial Household shall be decided by the sovereign with the assistance of the members of the royal family and his specially appointed ministers. Parliament shall not interfere with this power.
Rights and Duties of the Subjects

(Details shall be stipulated at the time of drafting the constitution.)

1. All subjects, who have the qualifications prescribed by law, are eligible for appointment as civil and military officials and members of parliament.
2. All subjects shall have freedom of speech, press and assembly within the scope of law.
3. Subjects shall not be liable to arrest, imprisonment or punishment except as prescribed by law.
4. Subjects may ask the judicial officials to judge their cases.
5. Subjects can be tried only by the courts specified by law.
6. The property and dwellings of subjects shall not be disturbed without cause
7. Subjects shall have the obligation to pay taxes and render military service in accordance with the law.
8. Subjects shall continue to pay taxes at the present rate unless and until it is changed by law.
9. Subjects shall have the obligation to abide by the law of the land.
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