The limits of freedom of political association in China and Spain due to centre-periphery conflicts

The recent disqualification on pro-independence claims in Hong Kong and in Catalonia needs to be introduced in the discussion of the current evolution democracy and rule of law. Even if these interdictions may seem undemocratic, the protection of fundamental rights, national unity and security had been considered in the past by constitutional judges as legitimate reasons to restrain the freedom of political association and participation. The comparison between Spain and China is relevant as in both countries the disqualification of candidates and the prohibition of political parties are a result of tensions between the central government and political actors from autonomous regions (Hong Kong, Catalonia and Basque Country). This comparison will allow us to cool down the analysis of these highly controversial issues and explore the border between democracy and authoritarianism.

Does the Policy on Ethnic Autonomy Work in China? A Critical Examination of Autonomy Enjoyed by Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China

A series of riots happened in Xinjiang in 2009 indicate that Chinese policy on the relationship between the Central Government and Xinjiang Autonomous Region has not worked satisfactorily. It may even be argued that there is something seriously wrong about the policy. The purpose of the paper is to critically evaluate such relationship from legal perspective through comparative study in order to (1) find out what has gone wrong with Chinese ethnic autonomous policy as contained in its Constitution and the national Law on Ethnic Autonomy and (2) offer some suggestions on how to improve the relationship between Xinjiang Autonomous Region and Chinese Central Government.

Spanish Autonomous State: regulation, development and, final crisis?

We will analyze the creation, development and perspectives of the Autonomus State regulated by the Spanish Constitution of 1978. We will study, first, its constitutional frame: general characteristics, principles, types of Autonomous Communities, ways of exercise of the right to self-government, competences of the Autonomous Communities and Statutes of Autonomy. Secondly, we will examine the evolution of the Autonomous State from 1978 to the present. Finally, we will analyze the process that reached its highest point in the declaration of independence of Catalonia passed in 2017 by the Catalan Parliament as well as the regulation contained in the Spanish Constitution of 1978 concerning the “right to decide” or the “right of secession” or the “disappearance of a State by separation of its parts”. The Constitution contains an appropriate regulation of the secession of a part of the State since the “right of secession” is a consequence of the exercise of the power of constitutional review

Unitary state and asymmetrical decentralization in France: solution or source of conflicts?

Contrary to the preconceived ideas, France is no longer the paradigmatic centralized unitary state. Indeed, the country practices an asymmetric decentralization enshrined in the Constitution, and other laws, as a solution to eventual political conflicts with the overseas territories resulting of the colonial era. Since the 1990s, asymmetric decentralization also concerns, on an administrative plane rather than on a political one, the territorial entities of the so-called metropolitan or continental territory. Today, in view of the future introduction of a “right to territorial differentiation” in the Constitution, we need to reflect on the possibilities of combining differentiation, regionalization and reform of the State, without opening the pandora's box that would lead to the local withdrawal, electoral apathy or, worse, the end of peaceful coexistence based on a minimum respect of the principle of equality before the law.