Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …


Journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies / Revue de l'Association Internationale de Sémiotique

Editor-in-Chief: Danesi, Marcel

IMPACT FACTOR 2018: 0.509

CiteScore 2018: 0.23

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.232
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.478

Agenzia Nazionale di Valutazione del Sistema Universitario e della Ricerca: Classe A

See all formats and pricing
More options …
Volume 2012, Issue 190


A sociosemiotic approach to fundamental rights in China

Visiting assistant professor Le Cheng, / PhD candidate Shifeng Ni, / Associate professor King Kui Sin, / Professor Winnie Cheng,
Published Online: 2012-05-29 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/sem-2012-0038


The legal term “fundamental rights” has been well recognized in international treaties and legislations. The present study investigates the stipulations on fundamental rights in the four versions (1954, 1975, 1978, and 1982) of and four Amendments (1988, 1993, 1999, and 2004) to the Constitution of the People's Republic of China (PRC) from a sociosemiotic perspective. The findings in this study indicate that the provisions in the Constitution are crafted in such a manner that the dominant social and political participants employ them to maintain their ruling position and promote social and economic developments. In the successive versions and Amendments to the PRC Constitution, the evolution of the provisions on fundamental rights not only demonstrates the development of fundamental rights in China, but also illuminates the underlying mediation mainly among the Chinese government, the Communist Party of China (CPC), and Chinese people. The connotation and validity therein is constructed through communication and competition among various participants. It is therefore argued that the status quo of fundamental rights in China is the result of mediation among the relevant participants under the impact of the social and economic development. The State and the CPC are thus suggested to loosen their grips to promote Chinese people's participation in the mediation process with more attention to the social and economic reality. This study also implies that the definition of a legal term is constrained by other sign systems and hence the importance of an understanding of terminological dynamicity.

Keywords: sociosemiotic; fundamental rights; PRC Constitution; terminological dynamicity; meaning construction; social mediation

About the article

Visiting assistant professor Le Cheng,

Le Cheng (b. 1976) is a visiting assistant professor at City University of Hong Kong and adjunct professor at China University of Political Science and Law 〈chengle163@hotmail.com〉. His research interests include semiotics, terminology, language and law, and discourse analysis.

PhD candidate Shifeng Ni,

Shifeng Ni (b. 1982) is a PhD candidate at City University of Hong Kong 〈seevennee@hotmail.com〉. His research interests include legal translation, terminology, and Chinese constitutional law. His publications include “A matrix of legislative speech acts for Chinese and British Statutes” (with K. K. Sin, 2010); and “Who are Chinese citizens? A legislative language inquiry” (with Le Cheng & K. K. Sin, 2010).

Associate professor King Kui Sin,

King Kui Sin (b. 1947) is an associate professor at the City University of Hong Kong 〈ctsinkk@cityu.edu.hk〉. His research interests include language and law, and philosophy of language.

Professor Winnie Cheng,

Winnie Cheng (b. 1958) is a professor at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University 〈egwcheng@polyu.edu.hk〉. Her research interests include ESP, intercultural professional communication, intercultural pragmatics, and corpus linguistics.

Published Online: 2012-05-29

Published in Print: 2012-06-20

Citation Information: , Volume 2012, Issue 190, Pages 41–55, ISSN (Online) 1613-3692, ISSN (Print) 0037-1998, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/sem-2012-0038.

Export Citation

©[2012] by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston.Get Permission

Citing Articles

Here you can find all Crossref-listed publications in which this article is cited. If you would like to receive automatic email messages as soon as this article is cited in other publications, simply activate the “Citation Alert” on the top of this page.

Lanbo Xu, Chaodong Luo, Shuang Shi, Long He, and Xiaoming Wu
Chemistry and Technology of Fuels and Oils, 2019, Volume 55, Number 2, Page 183

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in