Chinese Law Prof Blog

Editor: Donald C. Clarke
George Washington University Law School

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Appeals court overturns guilty verdict for Chen Guangcheng

Chengc I posted earlier on the four-year prison sentence handed down to Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚) - a peasants' rights activist who blew the whistle on official abuses under China's one-child policy - for allegedly "damaging property and organizing a mob to disturb traffic" while under police guard. In a report datelined Oct. 31, 2006, Radio Free Asia says that the Linyi Intermediate-Level People's Court in Shandong province has overturned the guilty verdict and ordered a retrial in the Yinan Basic-Level Court.   

Chen's lawyer is quoted as saying, "From the point of view of the defense, this is the best possible result." I'm not sure why that's so. Wouldn't an outright acquittal have been better? Comments welcome.

October 31, 2006 in News - Chinese Law | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Enforcement of judgments still a big problem

In a recent speech, Supreme People's Court president Xiao Yang (肖扬)  reported that despite a year of concentrated effort, the problem of unexecuted judgments remained basically unresolved, with over 800,000 unexecuted judgments still out there. This seems like a big number, but it's always hard to know quite what to make of these statistics. First, they include, for example, judgments not executed because the defendant is broke - disappointing for the plaintiff, to be sure, but not an indication of anything wrong with the court system (unless the defendant has illicitly transferred funds to a connected party that the court is unable or unwilling to find or enforce against). Second, China is a big country with a lot of people; even minor phenomena can look huge when you have a multiplier like that. Finally, we don't have a good way of knowing what a good rate of execution would be, and therefore what the right number is. We don't even have good information on execution rates in other countries (I tried to find this out several years ago in connection with an article I was writing on enforcement of judgments in China - short version available here).

The news report on Xiao Yang's speech is available, with relevant links, here.

October 31, 2006 in Commentary, News - Chinese Law | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, October 30, 2006

Internships at the Congressional-Executive Commission on China

I have received the following announcement (slightly edited):

The Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) is currently soliciting resumes for spring internships (paid) in Washington, D.C., to work on Chinese human rights and rule of law issues.  Interns must be U.S. citizens.

Applications for spring internships must be received by December 1, 2006.  Further details are available both here and on the Commission's Web site .

Interested applicants should send a cover letter and resume to the CECC to Judy Wright, Director of Administration via e-mail to or via fax to (202) 226-3804, attention: Judy Wright.

October 30, 2006 in Internships/Employment Opportunities | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Obstacles to enforcement of environmental law in China

Beijing University's Chinalawinfo site recently posted an interesting article on the various ways polluting enterprises obtain protection from enforcement of environmental law. The article focused on the industrial parks established by local governments. It seems that in order to attract investors, local government typically make promises such as that environmental protection agencies shall be allowed to inspect only once a year and may not enter the park at all without permission of the park administration, or that enterprises with investment above a certain floor shall be exempted from all administrative fees. One industrial park promised a "two no-contact" policy: enterprises would have no contact with local people who had lost their land to the enterprise and would have no contact with various functional agencies in acquiring necessary permits to operate; all would be handled by the park administration. In many cases the head of the park administration is a county leader; as such, he/she outranks the head of the local environmental protection agency (who has a ke ranking) and may therefore ignore it.

This article points up a feature of the Chinese political-legal system that, interestingly, has persisted virtually unchanged for decades despite the seismic changes occurring elsewhere in the system: the distribution of state authority according to a principle of rank. In other words, in asking whether A has the power to order B to do something, one could ask, "What is A's lawful sphere of jurisdiction?" or one could ask, "What is the rank of A (or A's agency) relative to B?" It's not that the first question is meaningless or never asked; it's just that the second question is an extremely important one, and we can't understand how China works - at least most of the time - without asking it.

October 28, 2006 in Commentary | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Northwest Institute of Politics and Law changes name

The venerable Northwest Institute of Politics and Law (Xibei Zhengfa Xueyuan 西北政法学院) has just received permission from the Ministry of Education to change its name to the Northwest University of Politics and Law (Xibei Zhengfa Daxue 西北政法大学). The MOE notice, addressed to the Shaanxi Provincial People's Government, adds that the provincial government is to be responsible for all "expenses needed for development" of the university.

October 28, 2006 in News - Chinese Law, People and Institutions | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, October 27, 2006

Follow-up to the Qin Zhongfei case

A few days ago, I posted here about the arrest of Qin Zhongfei for dissemination through e-mail and text message of a satirical poem. According to the Southern Metropolitan News (南方都市报), the charges have now been dismissed. Here's an edited summary of the article's contents:

On Oct. 24, the Pengshui country procuratorate dismissed the charges against Qin Zhongfei and suggested that he seek compensation.  According to Qin's lawyers, the libel charges were officially dismissed based on Article 130 of the Criminal Code of China. 

Compensation for wrongful detention is set at the daily average wage for Chinese workers. The 2005 daily average is 73.3 yuan. Qin, who was detained for 29 days (detained on 9/1, formally arrested on 9/11, and paroled on 9/28), received a total compensation of 2,125.70 yuan. The police apologized for their erroneous action, but compensation was paid (according to the article) by the procuratorate on Oct. 25.

The Southern Metropolitan News report (in Chinese) is here.

Thanks to Yawei Liu of the Carter Center for this information.

October 27, 2006 in News - Chinese Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The following announcement comes (slightly edited) from Intchinalaw (click on the link to join), the listserv of the China Committee of the ABA's Section on International Law:

The China Review, an interdisciplinary journal on Greater China, has released its Fall 2006 edition, a special issue on WTO and China's financial development. The Asian Institute of International Financial Law at Hong Kong University has drafted the articles for this special issue:

Implementing China's WTO Commitments in Chinese Financial Services Law, by Sanzhu Zhu;

Insurance in China: Assessment of the Implementation of China's WTO Commitments, by Andreas Kellerhals;

Managing Liberalization Risk in China's Securities Market: Challenges from WTO Implementation, by Michael Burke (China Committee Co-Chair); and

CEPA and China's Banking Law: Conflicts and Adjustments, Wei Wang

The China Review is available online via ProQuest Reference Asia and at

October 25, 2006 in Publications | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Latest issue of GTZ newsletter now available

The latest issue of the Newsletter of the Legal Advisory Service [to China] of the German Development Cooperation (GTZ) can be downloaded here. The GTZ is still looking for interns; details in the newsletter.

October 24, 2006 in Internships/Employment Opportunities, Publications | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, October 23, 2006

New book on Macao business law published

Prof. Jorge Godinho of the Faculty of Law of the University of Macau has recently published Macau Business Law and the Legal System (LexisNexis, 2006), the first chapter of which is available on the Social Science Research Network here.

October 23, 2006 in Publications | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

US company seeks Chinese law grad for in-house position in Shanghai

I have been asked to post the following. Please note that I don't know what company is involved and can't answer any questions about this.

A large U.S. company with a branch office in Shanghai is looking to hire an in-house counsel.  Preferably, the candidate will have passed a bar exam in the U.S. (as well as being a graduate of a Chinese law school).  If anyone is interested, they should send a resume to

Continue reading

October 22, 2006 in Internships/Employment Opportunities | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Property Law back on the agenda

I previously blogged here about the problems encountered by the draft Property Law. The China Daily recently reported that the Property Law is back on the legislative agenda, with a hope of getting voted on by the full National People's Congress this March. Text of report here.

October 22, 2006 in News - Chinese Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Washington Post op-ed by wife of Chen Guangcheng

Last August I posted here on the sentencing of Chen Guangcheng after a trial for which the usual term "farcical" is barely adequate. His wife, Yuan Weijin, recently published an op-ed piece in the Washington Post entitled "China vs. My Husband." Click here to read.

October 22, 2006 in News - Chinese Law, People and Institutions | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Chinese Law Prof Blog passes 50,000 mark

On Oct. 21st, this blog reached a milestone: 50,000 visits since the blog was launched in late May, 2005. This is of course nothing compared with the millions of visits to some other blogs, but for a niche blog, maybe not too bad.

October 21, 2006 in News - Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Chongqing man busted for satirical poem

A Xinhua item dated Oct. 20 reports as follows:

A minor government officer in Southwest China has been arrested for mocking officials in mobile and internet messages, reported Friday's The Beijing News.

Qin Zhongfei, an official with the Pengshui county education commission in Chongqing, sent a satirical poem to several friends by phone and internet in August.

The poem poked fun at three local leading officials for embroiling the county in "fierce conflicts between officials and the people".

Ma Ping, former head of the county Party committee and one of the three officials satirized in the poem, was detained at the end of August on charges of corruption.

Local police visited Qin later that month, ransacked his office and later took away his computer. He was detained on charges of "slander".

During interrogation, Qin insisted that the poem did not target anybody specifically and was not written out of any political motive.

Meng Dehua, deputy Party head of Pengshui county, was quoted as saying that "Qin's problem is serious. It even involves illegal association." But he did not give details to back up the assertion.

Qin has obtained bail and is awaiting trial.

The Southern Weekend report (in Chinese) is here.

This case has the potential to develop into something of a cause celebre; apparently there has been no central government decision to suppress reporting. Let's see what happens.

October 21, 2006 in News - Chinese Law | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

AmCham-China's comments on draft Labor Contract Law

I recently got hold of the comments submitted by the American Chamber of Commerce People's Republic of China (AmCham-China) on the draft Labor Contract Law. The comments don't specify which version of the draft they are commenting on, but it seems to be the version dated March 20, 2006. Here are the relevant documents:

October 17, 2006 in News - Chinese Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Chinese (Taiwan) Yearbook of International Law and Affairs: Call for submissions

I have received the following announcement:

Call for Submissions

The Chinese (Taiwan) Yearbook of International Law and Affairs
commenced publication in 1981 under the auspices of the Chinese
(Taiwan) Society of International Law. The Yearbook publishes on
multi-disciplinary topics with a focus on international and
comparative law issues regarding Taiwan, Mainland China and
cross-strait relations. In addition, the Yearbook is considered to be
one of the foremost publications in the world concentrating on issues
of greater China.

Continue reading

October 17, 2006 in Other, Publications | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, October 16, 2006

Did Microsoft deliberately allow its products to be pirated in China?

For an intriguing quasi-conspiracy theory to this effect, see this post on the DiligenceChina blog.

October 16, 2006 in Commentary | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Gao Zhisheng finally charged

Activist lawyer Gao Zhisheng, detained in mid-August and formally arrested (daibu 逮捕) on Sept. 21 (daibu in Chinese criminal procedure is a technical term that does not correspond to the practical question of whether you have been forcibly detained by the police), has now finally been told the charge against him: inciting subversion. For the full New York Times story, click here (free registration required).

October 15, 2006 in News - Chinese Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Latest issue of China Law Reporter available

The latest issue of the ABA Section on International Law's China Law Reporter (vol. 2, no. 1, Oct. 2006) is now available here: Download ChinaLawReporterVol2No1Oct2006.pdf

October 14, 2006 in Publications | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Vermont NGO seeks consultant for Chinese environmental projects

I have been asked to post the following announcement:

The Institute for Sustainable Communities, a non-profit organization, based in Vermont seeks a consultant to assist in developing an environmental management program for small and medium enterprises in China.  The consultant must be fluent in Chinese and English, have a background in environmental management, and experience living or working in China. The consultant may be based in China or the U.S.

For further details and the complete job announcement, click here.

October 14, 2006 in Internships/Employment Opportunities | Permalink | TrackBack (0)