Saturday, February 18, 2006
What was reported to be China's first lawsuit against discrimination on the grounds of regional origin was settled through court mediation earlier this month. (News report here.) The case began in March, 2005, when a local station of the Shenzhen Public Security Bureau hung up large banners over the streets calling for vigilance against "Henan Extortion Gangs" and offering rewards for information on them.
The story was picked up in the Southern Metropolitan News (南方都市报) (obliquely referred to in the above story as "a certain southern newspaper, perhaps because of its political difficulties). From there, it came to the attention of two lawyers (who else?) in Henan, who took offense and brought suit in Zhengzhou. They claimed that hanging the banners not only violated Art. 33 of the Constitution providing for equality before the law, but also damaged the reputation and good name of all people in and from Henan. (The news reports cite no statutory reference other than the Constitution.) They requested an apology from the police, made in a national newspaper.
The report does not spell this out clearly, but it seems they did not get their wish: apparently the police apologized to the plaintiffs only, and were not required to apologize in a national newspaper. But the police had apparently already apologized at a news conference held in May, 2005; the plaintiffs were not satisfied with this precisely because no national newspapers had been invited.
Despite one's distaste for such an egregiously bigoted method of crime-fighting (not only bigoted, but misguided - do the police not mind extortion gangs from other provinces?), it's not clear to me that the plaintiffs should have won this case. The practical effect would have been yet another judicial endorsement of limitations on speech; while libelous speech in most countries enjoys few protections, here the standard justifications have much less force. Perhaps the embarrassment and bad publicity suffered by the police force is the best sanction under the circumstances.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
The US Embassy in Beijing has two job openings (one temporary) in the field of IPR protection. These jobs are open to US and Chinese citizens alike (I didn't read carefully enough to see about other nationalities). For the most part, US citizens must be resident in Beijing with a work permit already (there may be a few exceptions in the fine print). Chinese citizens must have a Beijing hukou.
Here are the announcements:
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Elaine Wong of CCH Hong Kong has written to say:
The mistakes in the company law and securities law have been corrected in the online version of the China Law for Foreign Business series. The laws in the print version will be revised in the coming update.
We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused.
CCH Hong Kong Ltd.
The Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law is seeking a researcher for East Asia (especially China, but also Japan), to start as soon as possible. Requirements include excellent English and German language skills and a working knowledge of Chinese. The position could be part time or full time.
Details here: Download MaxPlanck.pdf
Monday, February 13, 2006
For those of you who, like me, are annoyed or frustrated by the frequent use in Chinese legal drafting of the ambiguous yishang (以上) and yixia (以下), here's an essay that thoroughly examines the issue: Download YiShangYiXia.pdf. Apparently these expressions have been around for thousands of years, and the ancients used them unambiguously (to include the number in question). It's only the moderns who have gotten sloppy. O tempora, o mores!
Sunday, February 12, 2006
In the last few days I've posted about problems with the texts of the new Company Law and the new Securities Law that are in circulation. I'm glad to report that CCH, which had published inaccurate texts of both, is listening. Elaine Wong of CCH has posted a comment to this post, saying, "CCH has taken note of the mistakes. We are currently making amendments to both of the laws, which will be updated on the web version in the next few days. The print version will also be corrected in the coming update."
To be fair, CCH is not the only translation supplier that got caught wrong-footed on this. iSinolaw has also got the wrong version of the Company Law; I haven't checked to see whether they have the right version of the Securities Law. Let's see how they compare with CCH in fixing their mistakes.