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On June 15, 2015, China’s official media launched an unprecedented public disinformation campaign against Wang Yu, a commercial lawyer who had emerged as a bold rights activist in the several years following her imprisonment by the Railway police for what she asserted was a false charge of beating someone on a station platform in Tianjin, a coastal city near Beijing. The coordinated nationwide attack, labeled by many of her supporters as a “smear campaign,” included coverage in official newspapers, including People’s Daily, online at People’s Net, and on CCTV, China’s multi-channel TV network. The articles alleged that this petite ex-prisoner had beaten someone to death, and then the official press “sarcastically” questioned whether she could be an authentic advocate to “represent justice and human rights” (B1610).
Since the rise of the nation-state in the nineteenth century, constitutions have been seen as an embodiment of national values and identity. However, individuals, ideas, and institutions from abroad have always influenced constitutions, and so the process is better described as transnational. As cross-border interaction is increasing in intensity, a dominant transnational legal order for constitutions has emerged, with its own norms, guidelines and shared ideas. Yet both the process and substance of constitution-making are being contested in divergent and insurgent constitutional orders. Bringing together leading scholars from the United States, Europe, Latin America, and Asia, this volume addresses the actors, networks, norms and processes involved in constitution-making, as well as the related challenges, from a transnational and comparative perspective. Drawing from the research on transnational legal orders, this work explores and examines constitution-making in every region of the world.