This essay addresses the legal meanings of the phrase hefa quanyi (lawful or legitimate rights and interests), an important Chinese legal phrase that is frequently found in many Chinese laws and legal documents, and whose interpretation is claimed by various scholars to affect the alienability of people’s rights. It first challenges the existing translations of the phrase into Italian and English. It secondly delves into its history and etymology, studying the legal meanings that the phrase has had in the various texts of the Constitution of China. It is suggested that hefa quanyi is not the semantic and legal equivalent of Western ‘rights and interests’, but rather that the phrase retains its etymological meaning of ‘power and negatively-connoted profit’. It is further argued that the adjective hefa (lawful) in the phrase is used to impose constraints on the rights and interests that the Chinese people are entitled to.

Hefa Quanyi: More than a Problem of Translation. Linguistic Evidence of Lawfully Limited Rights in China

Mannoni, Michele
2018-01-01

Abstract

This essay addresses the legal meanings of the phrase hefa quanyi (lawful or legitimate rights and interests), an important Chinese legal phrase that is frequently found in many Chinese laws and legal documents, and whose interpretation is claimed by various scholars to affect the alienability of people’s rights. It first challenges the existing translations of the phrase into Italian and English. It secondly delves into its history and etymology, studying the legal meanings that the phrase has had in the various texts of the Constitution of China. It is suggested that hefa quanyi is not the semantic and legal equivalent of Western ‘rights and interests’, but rather that the phrase retains its etymological meaning of ‘power and negatively-connoted profit’. It is further argued that the adjective hefa (lawful) in the phrase is used to impose constraints on the rights and interests that the Chinese people are entitled to.
Rights and interests, Rights in China, Limitations to rights, Legal semiotics, Legal translation
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/990991
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