Saturday, October 28, 2006
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.
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.
Friday, October 27, 2006
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.
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 www.chineseupress.com.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
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.
Monday, October 23, 2006
Sunday, October 22, 2006
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 email@example.com.
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.
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.