Sunday, December 31, 2006
Here is a letter from the editor:
We are resuming publication of China Law and Governance Review.
As a keen observer of China, we think that you will find the China Law and Governance Review different from other publications. The Review is not a news-clipping service or a bulletin of recent developments. We aim to examine and highlight some of the most interesting stories and compelling commentaries in the Chinese press, particularly in the areas of legal system development and governance. These accounts and commentaries reflect the complex, dynamic and seemingly contradictory realities of a country that is neither the authoritarian state nor the new frontier of capitalism that many abroad perceive it to be. We hope to stimulate discussion among our readership by offering value-added analysis, summaries, excerpts and background information to these news accounts and commentaries.
To view the current and past issues of the China Law and Governance Review, please go to www.chinareview.info.
To give you an idea of what the Review covers, here is the Table of Contents for the current issue:
Secured Transactions Law Reform in China
Key stakeholders in China work with the World Bank and People’s Bank of China to undertake legal and institutional changes to improve access to credit for Chinese businesses.
Returning Death Penalty Review to the Supreme People’s Court: How will the Court Staff the New Death Penalty Review Divisions?
The Supreme People’s Court is reinstating its full authority to review death penalty sentences. Three new criminal divisions will require a large number of new judges.
Voices Against Discrimination
An update of recent cases and developments in Hepatitis B Virus status, gender, residency and place of origin-based discrimination.
Heard on the Web
Beijing Police Abandons Quota
The quota system for traffic fines and criminal arrests in Beijing has officially ended. Most bloggers applaud the move and offer some interesting twists of their own.
The Review is a publication of China Law and Development Consultants, a Hong Kong firm specializing in non-profit development work in China.
We welcome your feedback. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best wishes for the New Year!
Ms. Su Lin Han, Editor
Ms. Phyllis L. Chang, President, China Law and Development Consultant
Ms. Stephanie Fischer, Contributing Editor
Saturday, December 30, 2006
Here's a message posted recently on the Chinalaw listserv:
I am a vice chair of China Committee under American Bar Association. Our committee has been thriving under the leadership of our present chairs and past chairs. First of all, I would like to wish everyone of you a happy and prosperous New Year.
As a vice chair of China Committee, I am in charge of editing a bi-monthly newsletter, “China Law Reporter” for China Committee along with other co-editors. So far, the newsletter has been well commented.
Our newsletter is divided into following parts: 1) “Co-chairs’ Messages”; 2) “Recent Developments” that contains short articles addressing hot issues; 3) “China Briefs” features short summary of recent China laws and regulations; 4) “Items of Interests” provide a list of articles or books related to China law; 5) “Job Opportunities” will allow job announcement be posted to China Law Reporter; and 6) “About the China Law Reporter” .
I am now soliciting short articles around 2000 or less words be posted to “Recent Development”. We usually post three articles per issue. If your article is not published on this issue, we’ll trail it to the next issue after we decided to use it.
You are also welcome to post job opportunities to our newsletter.
Your contributions to China Law Reporter are much appreciated. Please send your contribution simultaneously to following co-editors:
Qiang Bjornbak: email@example.com
Paul Edelberg: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cameron Smith: email@example.com
Russell Leu: firstname.lastname@example.org
The deadline for submitting your contributions is originally set on Jan 2nd, 2007. Due to long holiday season, I would like to extend it to Jan 7th. We need to get the newsletter released around mid of January. Please have questions, feel free to contact me. The samples of the previous newsletter are posted to China Committee home page at http://www.abanet.org/dch/committee.cfm?com=IC860000
Thank you in advance for your support to China Law Reporter
Attorney at Law
Vice Chair of China Committee
523 West 6th Street, # 701
Los Angeles, Ca 90014
213 239 9730, 310 403 8516
Skype ID qianghuab
Monday, December 25, 2006
Here are the first responses to a request I sent out on the Chinalaw listserv a while ago, in which I asked Chinese law firms interested in having interns to send me some basic information on what they were looking for and what they were offering. (Full text of message appended below; other law firms encouraged to respond.)
- Globe Law Firm, Beijing
- Liu and Wang, Shenzhen
- Wincon (Qingdao) (added Jan. 24, 2007)
- Llinks (Beijing & Shanghai) (added Jan. 24, 2007)
Text of original announcement:
Thursday, December 21, 2006
I have previously blogged about Wang Tiancheng's suit against law professor Zhou Yezhong for plagiarism. Wang lost in the first trial, and he has now lost on appeal as well. Here's a commentary on the verdict by his lawyer, Pu Zhiqiang, as well as the text of the judgment on appeal.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Thursday, December 14, 2006
I last blogged here about Beijing University law professor Gong Xiantian and his open letter attacking the draft Property Law. He has returned to the scene with another open letter to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress denouncing the current draft. I haven't yet had time to read it; comments from those who have are welcome.
The latest draft of the Property Law that I have is from July 2005; the text of the letter indicates that Gong is basing his comments on reports of the draft published on Oct. 30, 2006 in the People's Daily. Here are some articles from that date available from the People's Daily's Web site that comment on the most recent draft and give some indication as to its content: here | here | here | here | here | here | here | here | here | here | here | here. You can see more by going to this page, entering the characters 物权法, and adding an appropriate date restriction.
Gong also has a long article denouncing the Property Law here. Both his article and the open letter are posted on the Mao Flag site, which is dedicated to the restoration of Mao Zedong Thought to Chinese politics. (One commenter to Gong's piece thinks it's about time for another Cultural Revolution.)
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
The application deadline for NBR's Next Generation fellowships is January 15, 2007. A brief description is below; if you're interested, more information is available at their Web site.
The National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR) is pleased to announce “The Next Generation: Leadership in Asian Affairs” fellowship for 2007-2008, a post-master's degree program that is cultivating a new generation of Asia affairs specialists committed to and capable of bridging the gap between the best scholarly research and the pressing needs of American foreign policy toward a rapidly changing Asia.
NBR invites recent master's and professional degree holders (e.g., MA, MBA, LLM, JD, etc.) to apply for a year-long fellowship at NBR’s headquarters in Seattle to collaborate with leading scholars to publish research, and to participate in the briefing of research findings to the policymaking community in Washington, D.C.
This one-year fellowship is designed to further the professional development of Asia specialists in the year just after the completion of their master's degree. Successful applicants will gain further knowledge of Asia and an understanding of the U.S. foreign policymaking process through the following: conducting research under the guidance of an NBR program director; collaborating with senior scholars on academic publications; and traveling to Washington, D.C. to participate in the briefing of research findings to relevant constituents within the policy community.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
On December 11, the United States Trade Representative released its annual report to Congress on China's compliance with its WTO obligations. I haven't yet read the report, and my posting of these links to it should not, of course, be construed as agreement with its findings.
Monday, December 11, 2006
On December 11, Human Rights Watch released a report entitled "A Great Danger for Lawyers": New Regulatory Curbs on Lawyers Representing Protesters [download | web link]. The report focuses on the All-China Lawyers' Association "Guidance Opinion on the Undertaking by Lawyers of Mass Cases" (中华全国律师协会关于律师办理群体性案件指导意见) issued last March and previously discussed on this blog. It also contains an English translation of the Guidance Opinion. For the New York Times story, click here.
Thursday, December 7, 2006
As of a few days ago, this blog is once again blocked in China (as are all blogs in the Law Professor Blogs network). Interestingly, I can still post to it from China. I'm not going to speculate about why the blocking has been imposed - I'm not going to start down the road of figuring out what I've done wrong. ("Why did we arrest you? Why don't you tell us why you think we arrested you?") It's those imposing the block who should have to explain themselves (but I'm not holding my breath).
Here's an interesting news story on a recent parade of prostitutes and some of their customers through the streets of Shenzhen staged by the local police. What's interesting about it, among other things, is the controversy it has stirred up. According to the article, "[t]he All-China Women's Federation filed a formal protest to the ministry of public security, saying the parade was 'old-fashioned', 'damaging to social harmony', and 'an insult to all the women in China'."
Here's a longer article from the China Digital Times with many web links to Chinese press commentary.
Wednesday, December 6, 2006
I last reported here on the re-trial of Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚), the blind barefoot lawyer in Shandong. We now have a verdict: guilty, and the sentence is exactly the same as it was the first time. (Thanks to Chinalaw list member David Cowhig, here is the defense statement of Chen's lawyer Li Jinsong in two versions: (1) Chinese text, manual translation of first two pages, and summary of key parts of defense (in English); and (2) partially cleaned-up machine translation of the first third of the statement.)
Chen's lawyers will presumably appeal, and if the intermediate court that heard the first appeal didn't like the first trial, there's no reason to expect it to like this one any better.
Can the intermediate court remand back for re-trial again, perhaps pingponging Chen back and forth forever? That's what happened for ten years in the Chen Guoqing case (discussed below). But it's not possible any more: Johnson Zhang on the Chinalaw list points out there are two notices issued or co-issued by the Supreme People's Court providing that an appeals court may vacate a judgment and send it back for re-trial only once. The second time around, presumably, it must either uphold or reverse.
- Supreme People's Court, Supreme People's Procuracy, and Ministry of Public Security: Notice Concerning Strictly Enforcing the Criminal Procedural Law and Ensuring the Correction and Prevention of Overtime Detention （关于严格执行刑事诉讼法，切实纠防超期羁押的通知), November 12, 2003
- Supreme People's Court: Notice on Carrying out the Ten Rules to Prevent New Prolonged Detentions from Reoccurring (关于推行十项制度切实防止产生新的超期羁押的通知), December 1, 2003
The first Notice states: "In cases where the court of second instance finds after adjudication that the facts are not clear or the evidence is insufficient, the judgment may be vacated and the case sent back to the court of the original trial for re-trial only once" (第二审人民法院经过审理，对于事实不清或者证据不足的案件，只能一次裁定撤销原判、发回原审人民法院重新审判). The second Notice cites the first Notice and restates its rule, adding that it is "strictly forbidden to send a case back for re-trial multiple times" (严格禁止多次发回重审).
Interestingly, these two Notices both came out in 2003. Their issuance may have been connected with a case that came to media attention in 2004: the Chen Guoqing (陈国清) murder case. Chen and others were convicted in 1996 in a high-profile murder case: in 1993 and 1994, Chengde had been plagued by a series of robberies of taxi drivers, and in the summer of 1994 two drivers were brutally murdered. Chen was arrested and questioned according to what were apparently rather extreme methods. He and the others were convicted in August of 1996, but two months later the Hebei Provincial (Higher-Level) Court overturned the conviction on the grounds of unclear facts and remanded the case for retrial.
The case went back and forth several times; the higher court was unwilling simply to declare the defendants innocent and the lower court was unwilling to admit a mistake. By 2000, the original court (the Chengde Intermediate Court) was trying it for the fourth time. Each judgment was pretty much the same and apparently did not address 20 doubtful points that the provincial court asked to be clarified. Finally, in March of 2004 on what was apparently the fifth round, the Hebei Provincial (Higher-Level) Court upheld the convictions, but stated that "in view of the concrete circumstances" (an oblique reference to the lack of convincing evidence) the death sentences would be subject to a two-year suspension.
As of March, 2005, the defendants were apparently still alive and Chen Guoqing's lawyer was trying to get the Supreme People's Court to review the case. From the second trial onward, there had been evidence that the murders were in fact committed by others, but those others had already been executed on other charges.
- News Weekly (新闻周刊), April 1, 2004 (basic facts)
- News Weekly (新闻周刊), April 1, 2004 (commentary)
- Legal System Morning Post (法制早报), March 31, 2005 (follow-up)