Magna Carta Exhibition in Guangzhou

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image4To mark the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the celebrated legal text, Hereford Cathedral’s Magna Carta – one of only four extant examples of the original, is on public exhibition in the U.S. Consulate on 19 and 20 October 2015, in partnership with the U.K. Consulate. Over 4,000 guests came by to see Magna Carta, including several large school groups.

On Oct. 18 Sunday, a joint press conference of U.K. and U.S. consulates was held at the exhibition hall in the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou.

Signed in the South of England in 1215 A.D., the Magna Carta is a treaty between the King of England and his subjects establishing the rule of law and the protection of individual rights in modern society.  The Magna Carta is considered one of the most important documents in Western political history and a cornerstone of the British and American constitutions.  As well, it has influenced the constitutions of many other countries around the world.

America’s Founding Fathers embraced many tenets of the Magna Carta as cornerstones of American political philosophy, as expressed in the Declaration of Independence, United States Constitution, and U.S. Bill of Rights.

  • Magna Carta’s limitation on the absolute power of the monarch was the model for the Supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution, establishing that no American leader is above the law.
  • Magna Carta’s constraints on judicial power were directly embodied in American due process clauses in the 5th Amendment of the American Bill of Rights, which provides for jury trials for all crimes.
  • Magna Carta’s clauses related to feudal taxation evolved into the American philosophy that no taxation should occur without representation, a crucial part of the Declaration of Independence.

These exemplify the checks and balances between the three branches of American government. Throughout American history, when political leaders searched for a blueprint for democratic governance, they invariably looked towards the Magna Carta.

image3This year is the 800th anniversary of its signing and the UK Government is showcasing it on a global tour that will span four months and seven countries, including China.

Here in Guangzhou, we are partnering with the British Consulate to transform Lincoln Hall into a museum for showing the Magna Carta to the public on October 19th and 20th. This will be a rare opportunity to see the text that inspired America’s Founding Fathers in the formulation of our own political philosophy, and continues to highlight the shared political heritage between the UK and the United States.

Visitors are required to register for the exhibition online. Please follow @英国驻广州总领事馆 on Sina Weibo and Wechat, or @美国驻广州总领事馆 on Sina Weibo. Scan QR Code and get your E-tickets.

Date: 10/19/2015 (09:00—17:00) & 10/20/2015 (09:00—16:00)
Venue: Lincoln Hall, the U.S. Consulate General in Guangzhou