China-EU Law Journal

, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 35-67

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Article 37: The right to liberty of person under the Chinese constitution

  • Otto MalmgrenAffiliated withChinese Academy of Social Sciences Institute of Law Email author 


The question of constitutional rights within the Chinese legal regime remains an area of debate and controversy between both Chinese and foreign scholars. Issues of direct effect and justiciability are still unresolved, much due to the lack of a formal interpretation that sets out a basis for the understanding of scope and content of constitutional rights. This has led to the conclusion that constitutional provisions can only be guaranteed through “transformation” into lower level legislation which is to be binding upon the organs of state and citizens. This case study explores the right to liberty of person as stipulated under Article 37 of the constitution as case study, arguing that while many areas see ample legislative protection, the nature of the legal system and rights theory in China is vulnerable to arbitrariness and abuse.


Chinese law Constitutional rights Liberty of person