Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Thanks to Carol Kalinoski for this notice:
The Fifth China Regional Jessup Moot Court Competition will be held next week at Shenzhen University, School of Law, on February 6-9, 2007.
The Jessup 2007 problem focuses on the increasing role of intergovernmental organizatons (IGOs), such as the European Union, in international political and economic affairs. Despite the growth of IGOs, the traditional state-centered role of international law relegates these entities to a subsidiary role. For example, only "states" are permitted to appear before the International Court of Justice (ICJ),. Even though such IGOs may have rights under a treaty, they have no recourse to the ICJ.
In this year's Jessup moot court problem, a state seeks to join an IGO created by five other member states. The controversies arise when the applicant state is thought by the IGO to have "failed" to comply with an condition of the written accession agreement. Questions to be answered before the ICJ are whether the IGO violated international law by denying the applicant state membership in the IGO? Also to be considered are questions of treaty law, privileges and immunities of diplomatic missions, diplomatic protection, and the law of expropriation.
There are expected to be 26 Chinese law schools participating in this year's moot, with the two winning teams advancing to the International Rounds scheduled to be held in Washington, D.C., at the end of March.
The 2007 Jessup compromis and other information concerning the Moot can be found at www.ilsa.org/Jessup.
Anyone interested in participating in the moot next week in Shenzhen or support the Moot in any way is encouraged to contact the Jessup administrator for China, Prof. Wenqi Zhu at Renmin University, who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mark Cohen of the US embassy in Beijing sends the following notice. Note that those not resident in China may not apply, but non-US citizens may apply.
The U.S. Embassy in China is seeking IPR specialists for the Embassy in Beijing, as well as the consulates in Guangzhou and Shanghai. Email contact: USEmbassyBJHR@state.gov. The basic qualifications are:
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
The Congressional-Executive Commission on China is seeking interns for this summer to work on Chinese human rights and rule of law issues; the application deadline is March 1st. This is a paid position and is limited to US citizens. Undergraduates and grad students, especially those with strong research and language skills, are encouraged to apply.
For more details, click here.
For those unfamiliar with the CECC, I might add that its excellent staff produces high-quality work that is respected within the Chinese law community (at least on this side of the Pacific; its site is blocked in China).
Sunday, January 28, 2007
I thought that headline would get your attention. In this case it's a Tsinghua professor who can speak a little more freely than perhaps others can; he's my countryman Daniel Bell, now in Tsinghua's philosophy department. One very interesting thing his article reveals is that in 1992, a delegation of PRC officials went on a tour of state-sanctioned brothels in Singapore. This might not strike anyone as unusual, but I mean they went officially.
I have a previous post on this subject here.
[Jan. 30th addendum]
Incidentally, here's a proposal circulated within China last summer to have the NPC Standing Committee review China's laws against pornography and prostitution for unconstitutionality. Maybe not the most convincing legal argument, but this is really just a policy proposal in disguise. Thanks to Keith Hand for the reference.
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Friday, January 26, 2007
In keeping with my policy of plugging good books that readers might not normally run across, I am reproducing a message from Professor Jianfu Chen of the La Trobe University School of Law:
I am very pleased to advise that a very high quality empirical study of environment law enforcement in China is now on-line, free of charge for downloading.
The book is a Phd thesis completed at the Faculty of Law, Leiden University, by Benjamin van Rooij. It is an in-depth study of environmental law enforcement on the basis of many years of fieldwork on the ground. It is also a very high quality socio-legal study with a coherent theoretical framework and evaluation. It is one of the best Phd theses I have read in the last many years. I am sure all of your will enjoy reading it and find it useful in your own study and research.
The thesis is available here; an abstract by the author is at the end of this post.
There's something about environmental law that seems to promote good work in Chinese law. One book I have always liked is Xiaoying Ma & Leonard Ortolano, Environmental Regulation in China: Institutions, Enforcement, and Compliance (2000). Although the authors set out to write a narrowly focused study of the workings of the wastewater discharge permit system, they ended up writing a book full of interesting and important observations about how the Chinese legal system works. (Click here for a review.)
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Last month I posted some initial responses to my request for information from PRC firms interested in having foreign law students as interns. I have since received a few more. For the sake of convenience, I have posted them together with the original post; please check that for a full list.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
The Office of the China Economic Area of the US Department of Commerce presents a webinar on Feb. 8 on civil IP litigation in China. The blurb is as follows:
Please join our experts James V. Feinerman, Professor and Co-Director, Asian Law and Policy Studies Program at Georgetown University Law Center, Bill Huo, Attorney licensed in U.S. and China specializing in IP commercial disputes at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP and Elaine Gin, Attorney-Advisor at U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a discussion on China’s latest legislative developments, an overview of civil litigation in China and best practices for resolving IP disputes in China’s civil courts.
For more information, click here and scroll down to near the bottom of the page.
Monday, January 22, 2007
This is an unsolicited announcement about the Chinese Law and Policy Review, an online journal run by students at the Univ. of Pennsylvania Law School. Its unique claim to fame (of course it no doubt has others) is that it publishes all its articles in both Chinese and English; original submissions may be in either language. For more information, check out its Web site.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
There has been quite a bit of public controversy over the ban on eight books announced several days ago by Wu Shulin, deputy director of the General Administration of Press and Publications, at a meeting of propaganda and publications officials (South China Morning Post story here). One of the banned writers, Zhang Yihe (章诒和, sometimes miswritten 章怡和), then circulated a statement protesting the ban [English | Chinese]. (The graphic shows one of her banned books, Past Stories of Peking Opera Stars.) Now several other public intellectuals have joined in the condemnation, including lawyer Pu Zhiqiang (浦志强), who voices his support for the statements of Sha Yexin (沙叶新) [Chinese | English] and Chen Xiaoya (陈小雅) [Chinese | English].
Sunday, January 14, 2007
It had to happen: Hu Jintao's tifa of harmony (和谐hexie) has now reached into the realm of law. Although officials have on various occasions in the past noted the contribution courts should make to a harmonious society in general, Supreme People's Court president raised for the first time a few days ago the notion that litigation itself should be harmonious: "Civil litigation should be harmonious and conducive to the timely resolution of disputes. It should not be a mutual butting of heads that goes on forever." Nobody could disagree with this, of course, but I'm not sure from reading the report what concrete legal or policy changes, if any, he is calling for.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
I have been asked to post the following job announcement. Please note the very short deadline for applications: January 19th.
American Bar Association
Asia Law Initiative
Project Manager Position Opening
The Asia Law Initiative of the American Bar Association (ABA-Asia) is a public service project that provides technical assistance in support of law reform in Asia. ABA-Asia seeks candidates to fill a Project Manager position based in ABA-Asia’s Washington, D.C. office. The Project Manager develops, obtains outside funding for, and implements projects and activities in various Asian countries, including China. Some travel to the region is required. Qualified candidates will possess: (1) a Juris Doctor Degree; (2) at least five years of practical legal experience, including a minimum of one year working on donor-funded international legal reform programs; (3) excellent writing and editing skills; (4) proficiency in the Chinese language; and (5) knowledge of Asian (particularly, Chinese) history, geography, and politics. Salary is in the high $60’s, excellent benefits are provided.
Interested individuals should send resume, cover letter and references to Ms. Allison Fayle, at: email@example.com no later than Friday, January 19, 2007. ABA-Asia will contact only those candidates whom it selects for interviews.
Saturday, January 6, 2007
Friday, January 5, 2007
If rudeness is outlawed, then will only outlaws be rude? This question is stimulated by a recent story in the Los Angeles Times reporting that according to a new Beijing municipal regulation, "[s]tarting next month, Beijing shopkeepers who vent their anger, act impatiently, glance at customers disdainfully or act absent-mindedly are in violation of the law." The article goes on: "The government report makes no mention of penalties, leading to speculation about how the regulations will be enforced. What will a consumer need to prove that he or she was wronged? Will a cellphone video clip become the supporting evidence of choice?"
Actually, I think the LAT is being a little unfair in poking fun at this document; entitled 北京市商业零售企业员工行为礼仪规范（试行） (Beijing Municipality Standards for Polite Behavior by Commercial Retail Sales Enterprise Personnel (for Trial Implementation), issued Nov. 10, 2006), it is (as one commentary points out) not intended to be a set of rules enforceable by punishments. It is not clear that the issuing body, the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Commerce, would have the authority to prescribe punishments even if it wanted to. Nevertheless, it belongs squarely within a tradition of Chinese governments trying to get their citizens to shape up that dates back at least to Chiang Kai-shek's New Life movement in the 1930s, and that continues today with the Eight Glories Eight Shames (八荣八耻) campaign and attempts to get tourists to behave better.
Public reaction has been rather skeptical; one commentator opines that polite behavior by service personnel is the result of competition in the marketplace, not government decree, pointing out that you get much better service in the more highly marketized south. But certainly a casual attitude toward customer service cannot be blamed solely on socialism; Lao She satirized it in 1934 in his short piece "Withdrawing Money" (取钱) (worth looking at if you read Chinese).
If this were a Time magazine article, it would end by saying something like, "One thing seems certain: whatever the government decrees, Beijing's taxi drivers are likely to continue to go their own way." But it isn't.
Thursday, January 4, 2007
Normally I don't plug individual books or articles (then I might have to start justifying why I don't plug others, and that's not a road I want to go down), but I make an exception for material that is really outstanding or hard to find or some combination of both. In this case both criteria are satisfied (it's not on Amazon.com).
The book in question is Robin Munro, China's Psychiatric Inquisition: Dissent, Psychiatry and the Law in Post-1949 China (London: Wildy, Simmonds and Hill, 2006), a thorough study of the political abuse of psychiatry in China based on Munro's Ph.D. thesis (Department of Law, School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London). (I should perhaps disclose a personal connection: I have been a friend of the author for many years.)
This is an unimpeachably (and in my opinion irrefutably) researched book, based largely on openly published Chinese sources. As a result, skeptics don't need to take the author's word for it; they can verify his sources for themselves. Although Munro's previous works on this subject have, not surprisingly, subjected him to criticism, none of the criticism I have seen - even where it rises above ad hominem name-calling - actually addresses the sources he cites in such detail and what they tell us. In particular, many of his critics have focused on Falungong-related issues, which are just a minor part of the overall story. Political abuse of psychiatry existed well before the anti-Falungong campaign and continues quite apart from it.
For a debate on earlier work in this area by Munro (which will bear out my characterization of the criticism), see the following (a symposium issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and Law, and a response by Munro in a subsequent issue):
- RJ Munro, Political psychiatry in post-Mao China and its origins in the cultural revolution, J Am Acad Psychiatry Law, Mar 2002; 30: 97 - 106
- AA Stone, Psychiatrists on the side of the angels: the Falun Gong and Soviet Jewry, J Am Acad Psychiatry Law, Mar 2002; 30: 107 - 111
- FW Hickling, The political misuse of psychiatry: an African-Caribbean perspective, J Am Acad Psychiatry Law, Mar 2002; 30: 112 - 119
- S Lee and A Kleinman, Psychiatry in its political and professional contexts: a response to Robin Munro, J Am Acad Psychiatry Law, Mar 2002; 30: 120 - 125
- SY Lu and VB Galli, Psychiatric abuse of Falun Gong practitioners in China, J Am Acad Psychiatry Law, Mar 2002; 30: 126 - 130
- R van Voren, Comparing Soviet and Chinese political psychiatry, J Am Acad Psychiatry Law, Mar 2002; 30: 131 - 135
- RJ Bonnie, Political abuse of psychiatry in the Soviet Union and in China: complexities and controversies, J Am Acad Psychiatry Law, Mar 2002; 30: 136 - 144
- J Birley, Political abuse of psychiatry in the Soviet Union and China: a rough guide for bystanders, J Am Acad Psychiatry Law, Mar 2002; 30: 145 - 147
Munro's response to his critics:
- R Munro, On the psychiatric abuse of Falun Gong and other dissenters in China: a reply to Stone, Hickling, Kleinman, and Lee, J Am Acad Psychiatry Law, Jun 2002; 30: 266 - 274
Finally, here is the blurb on the publisher's Web site provided by Prof. Andrew Nathan:
This is a pathbreaking work in China studies, a chilling account of psychiatric abuse of political dissidents dating back to the early days of the Chinese regime and extending to the present. Munro's remarkable research brings to light the sufferings of thousands of previously unsuspected victims, some detailed in heart-breaking case studies.
Far from being an obscure corner of the Chinese system, the gulag of psychiatric abuse proves to be diagnostic of fundamental flaws in Chinese-style rule of law and state-dominated medicine. Munro's earlier research sparked an international campaign to seek improvements. This new, full account of his findings will stand as a classic of human rights research while it deepens our understanding of the Chinese legal and political system.
Monday, January 1, 2007
As of today (Jan. 1, 2007), all death sentences must be reviewed by the Supreme People's Court; review may no longer be delegated to Higher-Level People's Courts. The legislative basis for this was already laid last October, when the Organic Law on People's Courts was revised to eliminate (as of Jan. 1, 2007) the SPC's power to delegate review [news story | legislation]. Now the Supreme People's Court has issued its own regulation formally revoking its previous delegations.
Here's the text in Chinese: