Saturday, March 11, 2006
Thursday, March 9, 2006
The Chinese law world is currently in the midst of a great debate over a brief video making its way around the Web called "一个馒头引发的血案" (A Case of Murder Caused by a Mantou - a mantou being a steamed bun popular in northern China). You can see the video here.
The video was put together by Hu Ge (胡戈), a disgruntled moviegoer, after seeing Chen Kaige's big-budget "无极" ("Promise") and finding it boring. He bought the DVD on his way home and put the video together in 10 days. The video takes scenes from the movie, adds on music from other sources and a narrative, and comes up with a ridiculous story about how a mantou led to a murder.
Chen Kaige was not amused and has apparently sued. The case has led to quite a bit of commentary in the legal world (see, for example, Beijing University's legal Web site www.chinalawinfo.com) on whether copyright law does or should protect Chen in this kind of case. There's a pretty good summary of the background story as well as various opinions in the most recent issue (March 9, 2006) of the Beijing Review here: Chinese | English
The U.S. Department of State just released its 2005 Country Report on Human Rights Practices for China. As usual, the Chinese government responded by issuing its own report on the human rights record of the United States. I am glad to have the Chinese government join me in condemning many things that I have over the years contributed money, signed petitions, and cast my vote in order to defeat. But its report is more a schoolyard nyah-nyah than a real response to criticism of its own record. A real response would be (a) to admit with regret that the allegations are true, (b) to proclaim with pride that the allegations are true (Texas has never tried to conceal its execution rate), or (c) to deny the allegations. This attempt to change the subject does none of these.
Tuesday, March 7, 2006
Hong Kong's Business & Human Rights Resource Centre seeks East Asia researcher and coordinator (part-time)
George Conk, an adjunct professor at Fordham Law School, and Prof. Wang Qian of the East China University of Politics and Law recently co-taught a mini-course on US intellectual property law to graduate students at the East China University of Politics and Law in Shanghai. Having developed a set of bilingual course materials, they have generously made them available on the Social Science Research Network here: http://ssrn.com/abstract=888190.
Monday, March 6, 2006
Sunday, March 5, 2006
The adoption of China's Property Law (物权法) has proven exceptionally difficult because of the minefield of ideological problems involved. It is not on the legislative agenda of this month's NPC Standing Committee session because of an open letter written last August by Prof. Gong Xiantian (巩献田) of the Beijing Univ. Faculty of Law. (According to his Beijing Univ. Web site, Prof. Gong has a Ph.D. from the Univ. of Sarajevo and specializes in jurisprudence, Marxist legal theory, general theory of law, politics, and ethics.)
Professor Gong published his letter - "A Draft 'Property Law' that Violates the Constitution and Departs from the Basic Principles of Socialism" - last August, but a full account of what went on has only recently become available in an article published in Southern Weekend (南方周末).
Needless to say, those who had worked for years on the draft were furious that their efforts had been derailed at the last minute. The Civil Law Research Board of the China Law Association held a meeting on the Property Law late last month at Renmin Univ. in Beijing, which seems by and large to have been devoted to denouncing Prof. Gong's views. (See the end of this post for a link to a news report as well as a translation.)