Comparative Constitutional Law in Asia

Comparative Constitutional Law in Asia

Edited by Rosalind Dixon and Tom Ginsburg

Comparative constitutional law is a field of increasing importance around the world, but much of the literature is focused on Europe, North America, and English-speaking jurisdictions. The importance of Asia for the broader field is demonstrated here in original contributions that look thematically at issues from a general perspective, with special attention on how they have been treated in East Asian jurisdictions.

Chapter 8: Constitutions and emergency regimes in Asia

Victor V. Ramraj

Subjects: asian studies, asian law, law - academic, asian law, comparative law, constitutional and administrative law


Since the end of World War II, many governments in Asia have invoked emergency powers in response to a sweeping range of political crises,real or perceived: in 1949, Taiwan proclaimed a jieyan as Chiang Kai-shek's nationalist government retreated from the mainland; in 1953 and intermittently thereafter, Sri Lanka invoked emergency powers, with "some measure of emergency regulation … in place for most of its post-independence history" (Nesiah 2009: 123); Hong Kong used emergency powers to regulate social and economic activities from the 1950s to the 1970s (Wong 2011: 449); in 1961, after a coup in South Korea by General Park Chung-hee, a Supreme Council on National Reconstruction was established and enacted an Emergency Measures Law on National Reconstruction, overriding the constitution (a subsequent emergency was declared in 1971) (Chen 2010b: 868-869); in 1962, Brunei's Sultan Omar declared a state of emergency following a dispute between the Sultan and the Legislative Council over a proposed merger with Malaysia (Tey 2008: 7-35); for its part, Malaysia proclaimed a nationwide state of emergency in 1964 in response to Indonesia's "Confrontation" and again in 1969 following widespread post-general election rioting (Das 2007: 101-113); since its independence in 1971, Bangladesh has seen a state of emergency imposed three times, most recently in 2007 in the wake of political unrest following the boycott of a scheduled general election by opposition parties (Haque 2008: 84).

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