June 4, 2005
Michigan-China Faculty Exchange
Prof. Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan) has helped establish a Michigan Law School-China faculty exchange program. He and seven Michigan colleagues recently traveled to China to visit Tsinghua University Faculty of Law to help celebrate the latter's 10th anniversary. Michigan hopes to continue to send two or more faculty to China each year and, in turn, host yearly visits by at least two Chinese legal scholars. For more information, see the Michigan press release here.
June 3, 2005
Clinical legal education in China
I recently ran across a well-organized Chinese website devoted to clinical legal education, an area that is increasingly receiving attention in Chinese law faculties. Other resources on clinical legal education in China include:
- The China Law Center at Yale Law School, which has a project in this area;
- A brief article by the dean and a faculty member of Tsinghua Law Faculty;
- An article on the Ford Foundation's work in this area.
Newsletters (2): China Law Digest
Another newsletter worth knowing about is the monthly China Law Digest. According to its website, it is "published by the Constitutional Democracy Forum and edited each month by Xiaoping Chen and translated by a group of research assistants at the Harvard Law School."
June 2, 2005
Newsletters (1): CECC
The Congressional-Executive Commission on China has issued the first installment of a newsletter entitled "China Human Rights and Rule of Law Update". This is the successor to "China Rule of Law Developments", an informal email newsletter that is now being retired. The CECC has assembled a very capable staff to monitor legal developments in China, and assuming the new version is more or less like the old, I recommend it as a high-quality publication that reports on interesting developments in the Chinese law scene (within the scope of its topic) without any obvious ideological axe to grind.
I am excerpting below an email I received on this subject:
The CECC newsletter contains an expanded selection of news summaries and analysis from the CECC Web site, as well as information on CECC activities, links to roundtable and hearing transcripts, statements from CECC members, and other materials. . . .
For those interested primarily in legal developments, note that there is a link near the top of the news updates section of the newsletter that will sort the human rights and rule of law stories (of course, there is considerable overlap). Please also note that the sorting feature, as well as some links in the news summaries to material hosted on the CECC Web site, may not function properly for users in China, as the CECC Web site is currently being blocked there.
. . . To sign up for the email list, visit the CECC Web site at www.cecc.gov and click on "Subscribe/Unsubscribe to Commission Email List" and enter your email address.
Law and Society Association Annual Meeting: China panel
The annual meeting of the Law and Society Association is featuring a panel on "Selective Cultural Adaptation and Legal Consciousness in Human Rights and Trade Disputes: Comparing Canada, China, and Japan" on June 5th. Prof. Pitman Potter of the University of British Columbia will be speaking (I presume) on China.
June 1, 2005
China Committee, ABA Section on International Law
Readers may wish to check out the recently-updated website of the China Committee of the ABA Section on International Law.
There are a number of China-related programs at the upcoming ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago (Aug. 5 to Aug. 9). You can find them on the agenda; a description is appended below.
Real Estate Investment in China: Risks and Opportunities
In light of overheated economy in P.R. China, it is necessary to address the issue of real estate investment. Central government has ordered provincial leaders in China to adopt measures to reduce the price of residential property price. Is this a signal of risks to invest in real estate market in China? The major cities in China, such as Shanghai, Beijing are embracing many opportunities. There are many factors to push the real estate price up. These factors include but are not limited to an increase in city population, Olympic Games, World Exhibition, booming economy, etc. This program will address current transactional, structuring and compliance issues regarding real estate investing, lending, leasing and transfer activities in the People's Republic of China and relevant rules, including emphasis on tax, regulatory and due diligence issues presented by investments in PRC real property by non-PRC persons.
CLE: Rising Affluence and Post-WTO Reforms: Converging Trends Boost Franchising in China
In November of 2004, a two-day conference and exhibition on franchising in China was held in three major cities: Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai. Over 20,000 visitors attended. Seven categories of franchising businesses were represented, with the preferred industries for investment being food & beverage (34%) and laundry services (30%). More than 50% of the vi! sitors said they wanted to invest in a unit franchise store. Of those, 72% planed to invest US$60,000 or more in a franchise. At the same time that business trends were attracting increasing interest in the possibility of investing through franchising, China adopted key legal reforms aimed at integrating what had been a hodge-podge of various regimes relating to franchising activities. Some of the reforms are controversial, some predictable. This program intends to describe the new regulatory environment and its implications, as well as to glean first-hand experiences from companies engaged in franchising as a means to expand their business in China.
Committee Program: Managing the Crossfire of Multi-Dimensional Governmental Involvement in Foreign Investments in China
Foreign investment in China is subject to a multi-dimensional approval system . With the assortment of authorities involved, bureaucratic oversight and jurisdictional disputes are pervasive.
Establishment of a new company that involves investments above a certain “floor” is subject to the examination and approval of the central government. If the total investment were under this “floor”, the approval of the government at the provincial or municipal level would be sufficient. However, at all levels, a single project will usually involve the approval of more than one governmental agency. To begin a foreign investment project, the National Development and Reform Commission or its local counterparts are involved; with regard to the joint venture contract and articles of association of a ”Foreign Investor Enterprise”, the Ministry of Commerce or its local counterparts must approve. For foreign exchange issues, the approval of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange or its local counterpart is required. For land use, approval by the State Land Administration Bureau or its local counterpart is necessary. If a Chinese partner ! that will contribute its tangible assets into a joint venture is a State-owned enterprise, then the State-Owned Assets Administrative Commission will review the appraisal of those assets. The State Administration of Taxation along with the State Council will determine the tax treatment of the transaction. For approval of the scope of the business, parties must go to the State Administration for Industry and Commerce.
To complicate matters, local governments that want to attract foreign investment, may indicate that they can fully approve a project; when they cannot .
This program will address how to manage in the cross fire of all these regulatory agencies, from four perspectives:
- New regime for foreign investment approval by the NDRC and MOFCOM;
- Special issues involved when acquiring Chinese State-owned enterprises;
- Merger control rules for foreign investment;
- Other regulatory processes in asset and equity acquisitions.
Copyright and the Internet: New administrative rules
The State Copyright Administration and the Ministry of Information Industry have issued new rules pertaining to copyright infringement by web sites. The text of the rules may be accessed at this URL: http://www.law-lib.com/law/law_view.asp?id=92001
The rules provide, among other things, that a web site will be exempt from administrative sanctions for copyright infringement if it removes infringing material upon receiving notice from the copyright owner. Note that the rules do not seem to address the issue of civil liability, which may remain. Thus, they are not quite what web site operators have been looking for.
May 31, 2005
Arbitration: New CIETAC rules
CIETAC has issued new rules governing arbitration; they are available at this URL: http://www.law-lib.com/law/law_view.asp?id=91568
Celebrity endorsements curbed in Beijing
On May 28, 2005, the Beijing Administration of Industry and Commerce announced that as part of its campaign against false advertising, it would deem as false advertising celebrity endorsements in which celebrities appeared in the capacity of consumers, ailment sufferers, specialists, etc. Thus, Liu Jialing can no longer announce that her use of SK-II skin-tightening anti-wrinkle cream reduced her wrinkles by 47% in a mere 28 days and made her look 12 years younger.
An interesting question is the degree to which a Beijing municipal government body can dictate rules for what is often a national advertising campaign that appears in many media. Apparently the object of the rule will be advertising agencies, advertisers, and media, but not the celebrities themselves. Will it apply only to those that are located in Beijing?
A report is appended below.
May 30, 2005
Antimonopoly Law: ABA Comments on Draft
The ABA's May 19, 2005 comments on the most recent draft of China's Antimonopoly Law can be found here: http://www.abanet.org/antitrust/jt-pdf/joint-comments/abaprcat2005finalcombowapp.pdf
The comments are quite detailed and include a Chinese translation of the executive summary as well as appendices. The appendices include the APA's July 15, 2003 comments on the draft Antimonopoly Law at that time.
The Chinalaw listserv
Chinalaw is a listserv I maintain that is dedicated to the discussion of issues of Chinese law -- primarily the law of the People's Republic of China, but from time to time there is discussion of other related subjects such as Chinese legal history or the law of Taiwan or Hong Kong.
It is an unmoderated discussion list, meaning that members are asked to observe self-discipline and keep on topic.
To subscribe, please go to http://hermes.gwu.edu/archives/chinalaw.html and follow the instructions there. Special note to those in the PRC: you will probably be unable to access this site, since the George Washington University website is blocked (don't ask me why) by the Chinese authorities. Please email me with your name and email address if you wish to subscribe. Unless you cannot access the above website, please do not ask me to subscribe you.
I maintain a website for the listserv; the alias for the URL is http://chinalawlist.org. At present this alias just points you to the above website, but shortly I will have a different website up.
Launch of China Law Prof Blog
Welcome to the China Law Prof Blog.
The primary focus of this blog will be the legal system of the People's Republic of China, although information relevant to Chinese legal history and other jurisdictions such as Taiwan and Hong Kong will not be excluded if it might be of interest to readers.
The sidebar on the left will, over the course of time, be filled out to include resources (or links to resources) such as research guides, databases, lists of faculty and Chinese law courses, and internship and employment opportunities. I hope to make this blog of use to academics, professionals, and students alike. I hope to develop this site as a kind of permanent library for the various matters discussed on the Chinalaw listserv (http://chinalawlist.org), since it offers more technical support.
I welcome any suggestions for content and format; please email me at the address on the left sidebar.
George Washington University Law School