Friday, April 28, 2006
The text of the 2003 judgment of the Beijing First Intermediate People's Court against Wang Xiaoning has recently come to light. To quote from the Human Rights in China press release:
Among the evidence against Wang cited in the judgment is information provided by Yahoo! Holdings (Hong Kong) Ltd. stating that Wang’s “aaabbbccc“ Yahoo! Group was set up using the mainland China-based email address email@example.com. Yahoo! Holdings (Hong Kong) Ltd. also confirmed that the email address firstname.lastname@example.org, through which Wang sent messages to the Group, was a mainland China-based account. The judgment does not indicate whether Yahoo! Holdings (Hong Kong) Ltd. or Yahoo! China (which is now operated by mainland-based Alibaba.com) provided specific information regarding Wang’s identity.
For the text of the judgment (supplied by HRIC), click here.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
For those who are interested in such things, here's an interesting article on the economics of the Beijing taxi industry and some of the laws (primarily, the law requiring the taxi business to be undertaken by companies, not individuals, thus providing rents to those companies that get permission) behind it.
Monday, April 24, 2006
I was searching for on-line images of the xiezhi (獬豸), the mythical Chinese beast that identified the guilty in criminal proceedings by butting them, when I ran across this interesting web site maintained by Terada Hiroaki (寺田浩明) of Kyoto University Law School for the dissemination of information relating to Chinese legal history studies in Japan. Among other things, it includes a link to an electronic on-line edition of the Du Li Cun Yi (读例存疑), Xue Yunsheng's famous annotation of the Qing Code and substatutes.
Speaking of the xiezhi, it's interesting to note that this is pretty much the extent of the use of magic in the history of Chinese criminal procedure - and it's solely mythical. So far as is known, Chinese criminal procedure has never had any use for magical procedures such as the dunking of witches or other forms of trial by ordeal.
Sunday, April 23, 2006
Saturday, April 22, 2006
Last month I posted links to the Chinese texts of the annual work reports of the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuracy. Here they are in English:
Friday, April 21, 2006
The latest issue of the Newsletter of the Legal Advisory Service [to China] of the German Development Cooperation (GTZ) can be downloaded here: Download newsletter_12006en.pdf. Don't forget that GTZ is always looking for interns; details in the newsletter and here.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
The British Transplantation Society has issued a statement accusing Chinese authorities of harvesting the organs of thousands of executed prisoners every year to sell for transplants. A related BBC News report states:
The British Transplantation Society says an accumulating weight of evidence suggests the organs of thousands of executed prisoners in China are being removed for transplants without consent.
Professor Stephen Wigmore, who chairs the society's ethics committee, told the BBC that the speed of matching donors and patients, sometimes as little as a week, implied prisoners were being selected before execution.
The first comprehensive report on this issue of which I am aware is Human Rights Watch, China: Organ Procurement and Judicial Execution in China (August 1994). The research behind this report is extremely thorough and it is still worth reading.
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
With reference to my previous post, a reader has kindly pointed out that Yahoo's general counsel, Michael Callahan, categorically denied in his testimony before Congress in February that the information on Shi Tao was supplied by Yahoo (HK), and stated that it was instead supplied by "Yahoo! China" (it is not clear exactly which Yahoo-associated Chinese entity he is referring to):
Let me take this opportunity to correct inaccurate reports that Yahoo! Hong Kong gave information to the Chinese government. This is absolutely untrue. Yahoo! Hong Kong was not involved in any disclosure of information about Mr. Shi to the Chinese government. In this case, the Chinese government ordered Yahoo! China to provide user information, and Yahoo! China complied with Chinese law. To be clear - Yahoo! China and Yahoo! Hong Kong have always operated independently of one another. There was not then, nor is there today, any exchange of user information between Yahoo! Hong Kong and Yahoo! China.
The source of these inaccurate reports is the text of the court judgment itself. This raises even more intriguing questions: if Mr. Callahan's testimony is accurate, it would seem to follow that the evidence cited in the court judgment is not, and that the court is either dissembling or using forged evidence. Curiouser and curiouser.
As most readers will know, Yahoo has been under severe criticism for its role in the prosecution of Shi Tao, a dissident journalist (discussed first here and then here). Now Reporters Without Borders (RWB) has accused Yahoo of helping police identify Jiang Lijun (姜立军). According to RWB's press release,
Jiang Lijun, 40, was sentenced to four years in prison for “subversion” on 18 November 2003, accused of seeking to use “violent means” to impose democracy. Police believed him to be the leader of a small group of cyberdissidents, which included the young Internet-user Liu Di.
The press release states that "[a]ccording to the verdict, Yahoo! Holdings (Hong Kong) confirmed that the email account ZYMZd2002 had been used jointly by Jiang Lijun and another pro-democracy activist, Li Yibing."
As in the Shi Tao case, the information was apparently provided by a Hong Kong company subject to Hong Kong law, not a mainland PRC company subject to mainland PRC law (for an analysis of which PRC laws apply in Hong Kong, click here). This raises interesting issues, not the least of which is one raised earlier in a letter to Jerry Yang from the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents' Club: whether Kong Kong privacy laws were violated. (I do not know enough to hazard an opinion - comments on this issue welcome.)
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
On April 21 in Washington, DC, the Export Controls and Embargoes Committee and China Law Committee of the ABA are jointly presenting a session entitled "China Export Controls and Regulations, and One Chinese Company’s Regulatory Response." The speakers will be Mr. Li Genxin (Secretary-General, China Arms Control and Disarmament Association), Mr. He Xiadong (Vice President, China North Industries Group), Mr. Cui Zheng (Director-General, Export Control and ICP Office), and Ms. Xia Ying (Deputy Director-General, Legal Affairs, Export Controls). Full details here: Download ChineseExportControls.pdf.
Sunday, April 16, 2006
The latest E-Bulletin of the China Labour Bulletin (No. 31, 2006-04-13), discussing the work of prominent lawyer Gao Zhisheng in defending workers' rights, is available here. The lead essay draws attention among other things to the apparently increasing collaboration between government and criminal forces in suppressing and intimidating opposition.
Peking University's Law School has just started an English-language LL.M. program in Chinese law. Applications for the 2006-07 academic year are due on May 29th. For more information, click here.
To the best of my knowledge, this is the second English-language LL.M. in Chinese law offered directly by a Chinese law school. The first is at Tsinghua University's Faculty of Law; for more information, click here.
Saturday, April 15, 2006
Friday, April 14, 2006
In February, the United States Trade Representative delivered to Congress a comprehensive review of US-China trade relations. The review, entitled "US-China Trade Relations: Entering a New Phase of Greater Accountability and Enforcement," is available here in PDF format. Here are some of USTR Portman's comments in his cover letter:
"Despite three consecutive years of growing U.S. exports to China, our bilateral trade relationship with China today lacks equity, durability and balance in the opportunities it provides. The time has come to readjust our trade policy with respect to China."
"As a mature trading partner, China should be held accountable for its actions and required to live up to its responsibilities, including opening markets and enforcing intellectual property rights. We will use all options available to meet this challenge."
Thursday, April 13, 2006
On April 11th, US Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez, United States Trade Ambassador Rob Portman, and US Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns met with Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi for the 17th annual senior-level meeting of the Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT). The JCCT is a structure established in 1983 for dialogue between the US and Chinese governments on issues affecting US-China trade and investment.
The Department of Commerce press release is here. Scroll down to the bottom of the press release for links to other related documents, including a transcript of the press conference where the famously tough-talking Wu Yi apparently has to explain one of her remarks by adding (in English), "It's a joke."
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
The report on the China mission of Manfred Nowak, the Special Rapporteur on torture of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, was completed last month and is available at the UNCHR web site here (Word format). It is a sober and comprehensive treatment of many aspects of the criminal justice system that gives credit where credit is due but pulls no punches.
For those who don't have Word, here is the report in PDF format: Download nowak_report.pdf
Monday, April 10, 2006
Wednesday, April 5, 2006
The Office of the State Council recently promulgated a regulation designed to help the government implement its transparency obligations under its Protocol of Accession to the World Trade Organization. Part I.2(C)2 of the Protocol states, inter alia, that "China shall establish or designate an official journal dedicated to the publication of all laws, regulations and other measures pertaining to or affecting trade in goods, services, TRIPS or the control of foreign exchange . . . ."
As can be seen, this is a very significant commitment - "pertaining to or affecting" could be reasonably construed to cover almost anything - and I don't know of any other WTO members subject to such an obligation. (I'm not a WTO expert and so my knowledge is incomplete; certainly the US has no such obligation.) Given the vast array of bodies with significant rulemaking power in China, the central government's major challenge is simply collecting the stuff.
The new regulation, entitled "Notice on Further Doing Well the Work Relevant to Implementing the Transparency Provisions of China's WTO Accession Protocol" (关于进一步做好履行我国加入世界贸易组织议定书透明度条款相关工作的通知), makes clear that the official journal in question is the "Documentary Bulletin of China's Foreign-Related Economy" (中国对外经济贸易文告), and instructs all provincial-level governments and departments directly under the State Council to submit copies of relevant regulations to the Ministry of Commerce for publication in the Bulletin. The main problem seems to lie in local-government recalcitrance. For example, the most recent six issues (all from March) contain 69 regulations; only one (from Shenzhen) is something local governments bothered to send in. Was there really only one trade-related regulation adopted by all of China's local governments in this time?
Documents generally relevant to China's participation in the WTO can be found here.
Monday, April 3, 2006
For the last few years, Knut B. Pissler of the Max Planck Institute for Foreign Private
Law and Private International Law in Hamburg has compiled an annual bibliography of Western-language works on Chinese law. These bibliographies have been published in the Zeitschrift fuer
Chinesisches Recht/Journal of Chinese Law published by the German-Chinese Lawyers Association.
Knut is currently working on the 2005 edition; a draft of that is attached here, along with several previous ones. If you have published something that ought to be included and isn't, Knut welcomes your e-mail to him here.
- Download bibliography2005_draft.pdf
- Download Bibliography2004.pdf
- Download Bibliography2003.pdf