July 9, 2005
Nicholas Howson joins University of Michigan Law School faculty
I'm pleased to announce that the number of tenured/tenure-track positions in Chinese law at US law schools has increased by one, with the hiring this year by the University of Michigan Law School of Nicholas Howson (hereinafter "Nico") as an assistant professor. Nico was for many years an attorney at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, becoming a partner in 1996. He also served as managing partner of the firm's Beijing office. Congratulations to Michigan for making such a fine hire!
July 8, 2005
Wan Exiang: Over half of civil and economic judgments require coercive enforcement
Supreme People's Court senior judge and vice-president Wan Exiang (万鄂湘) (LL.M., Yale, 1987) was reported on July 7th as having stated in a speech that over half of civil and economic judgments in China require coercive enforcement procedures for implementation. He provided three reasons: (1) the multi-level administrative structure for enforcement of judgments makes it hard to resist local protectionism (a polite way of saying that the same political power that wants to prevent the judgment from being enforced is in charge of enforcing it); (2) flaws in (actually, the virtual non-existence of) the system of credit reporting mean that enterprises and individuals that don't pay their debts aren't appropriately sanctioned; and (3) coercive measures and criminal sanctions for a defendant's failure to implement a judgment are weak and inadequate as a deterrent.
This is an interesting statistic and it's too bad it's not more exact. Virtually all the statistics I can recall seeing on enforcement of judgments deal with the percentage of judgments sent for enforcement that are actually enforced, and to what degree. It's much harder to find statistics where the number of cases sent for enforcement is the numerator and the total number of judgments is the denominator.
July 7, 2005
Introduction to Pu Zhiqiang
This post is a short introduction to Pu Zhiqiang (浦志强), an attorney who has become quite well known in China for his pungent prose and willingness to take tough cases. His most famous case, at least abroad, is the defense of Chen Guidi (陈桂棣) and Wu Chuntao (吴春桃), the husband-and-wife authors of "An Investigation of China's Peasantry" (中国农民调查) who were sued for libel by one of the officials about whom they had said unflattering things in the book. Although the hearings in the case have now concluded, the court has yet to pronounce its judgment. It's a no-win situation for the court, but perhaps as long as they don't pronounce judgment nobody will complain too much -- it amounts to a win for the defendants, and the plaintiff may feel he's made his point just by suing and be unwilling to press for a decision just in case it's against him.
For a sample of Pu's prose style, check out this remarkable essay, which I have translated: Download pu_zhiqiang_absurd_decision.pdf
- Text of "Investigation" (Chinese)
- Report on the publication and eventual banning of "Investigation", as well as the libel suit
- Later report on the libel suit and Pu's role in the defense (includes photo)
- Brief bio of Pu, from the Yale Law School's China Law Center
- Pu's blog, with essays and courtroom presentations (Chinese)
July 6, 2005
UK government endorses China's bid for market economy status
The July 4th Financial Times reports: "The European Union should grant China its long-standing demand to be recognised as a market economy, a status that would help Beijing avoid punitive anti-dumping measures, according to Ian Pearson, Britain's minister of state for trade." For copyright reasons, I can't post the complete article; it may be found here.
Being recognized as a market economy isn't going to make China invulnerable to anti-dumping petitions, but it will make it a little more difficult for anti-dumping authorities to use non-market-based (and therefore more flexible and subject to abuse) measures of "normal value": the price that the good under investigation should ideally be selling for in the country where it is produced.
Doing a little random googling, I found a paper that seems to explain pretty well what it's all about in non-technical language, although it's written from an Australian and not an American perspective. There's also a paper available on the Social Science Research Network entitled "European Anti-Dumping Law and China" that looks at the market economy issue.
July 4, 2005
Plus ça change...
Today's China Court Net (中国法院网) reports a case of robbery in which the perpetrator, a young woman, took three men to a karaoke, spiked their beer with Triazolam (三唑仑, also known as Halcion), and then robbed them while they dozed.
Aficionados of Chinese literature will immediately recognize this technique as the one used by Chao Gai (晁盖) and his band of merry outlaws (as well as many others) in Shui Hu Zhuan (水浒传, variously translated as "Outlaws of the Marsh" or "The Water Margin") when they pull off their theft of the sumptious birthday gift shipment. The proper ingredient for drugging your victims in those days was not, of course, Triazolam, but apparently datura stramonium (曼陀罗).