Monday, December 31, 2007
China Labour Bulletin, a worker rights organization based in Hong Kong, has just published a report on the Chinese labor movement from 2005 to 2006. The introductory blurb is below. The full text of the report is here.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
There has been quite a lot of social ferment recently over land issues, and PRC media carry open calls for another land revolution. Here are a couple of great photos; thanks to David Kelly for the tip.
Demolition squad on its way to a village. This looks so much like something out of a movie that I'm not quite ready to guarantee its authenticity. Get a load of the tough character leading the way: decked out like a KMT bad guy from a 1950s PRC movie.
Friday, December 14, 2007
Bad news for those who thought they could escape Bluebooking by going into Chinese law: there's now a (literally) Bluebook for Chinese law as well. (Well, a proposed draft of one, anyway.) It's published by the Beijing University Press and was compiled by the indefatigable Wei LUO of the Washington University Law Library with the support of Zhu Suli and He Weifang, dean and professor respectively at Beijing University Faculty of Law.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
I have been asked to post the following announcement:
International Bridges to Justice (IBJ) is looking to recruit full-time, experienced criminal defense lawyers as Regional Program Managers to be based at IBJ’s offices in China. Regional Program Managers will be responsible for managing regional project activities and providing expert training and advice. Candidates must have significant experience as a criminal defense practitioner with an emphasis on trial work, and experience designing, delivering and evaluating training programs. Candidates must be fluent in English; knowledge of Mandarin Chinese is strongly preferred, though not required. Applicants of all nationalities are welcome.
Full announcement here; deadline is January 31, 2008.
He Weifang and others submit proposal to abolish re-education through labor to National People's Congress
On Dec. 4th (Law Day in China), Beijing University Faculty of Law professor He Weifang, along with 68 other signatories (not all legal academics), sent a formal proposal to the National People‘s Congress requesting that it review the system of re-education through labor (RETL) for constitutionality (more precisely, unconstitutionality). The proposal (a text of which I have not seen) apparently also makes objections on the grounds that RETL is inconsistent with the Law on Administrative Punishments and the Law on Legislation. The arguments will be familiar to most readers of this blog; essentially, that restrictions on personal liberty must be sanctioned by law (i.e., something passed by the National People's Congress or its Standing Committee), which RETL is (in the view of the signatories) not.
One argument against this position has always been that RETL was, in fact, sanctioned by a 1957 resolution of Standing Committee of the National People's Congress and by another one in 1979. Thus, if the purpose of the requirement of a basis in "law" for detention is to ensure that the NPC or the NPCSC approves and that lower-level organs not get out of control, it seems a bit unconvincing to argue that because the document was called a "resolution" it should be treated differently from a law. Now perhaps it makes sense to distinguish if the procedures for passing resolutions are different from those for passing laws. But that the highest legislative body in the country approves of RETL can't really be doubted; it's not something the police just made up in 1957 and that nobody at the NPC level hasn't noticed for 50 years. The news account of the proposal's arguments doesn't mention this angle at all; I don't know whether the arguments addressed it or simply ignored it.
Here are some sources:
Saturday, December 8, 2007
The Centre of Advanced Studies on Contemporary China, a research foundation based in Torino, Italy, is offering fellowships for the study of modern China. Here's some information extracted from the announcement:
The CASCC is offering THREE research fellowships to graduates in Economics or Finance, Law, and Chinese Language (degree level required enabling admission to a Ph.D. program), financed by the Compagnia di San Paolo (www.compagnia.torino.it ). Each fellowship will cover two years, on a full-time basis, starting in April 2008.
The aim of the China Fellowships is to support the growth of interdisciplinary competencies in the area of Chinese studies, with a particular emphasis on cultural, legal, social and economical aspects of contemporary China.
Candidates who master Chinese language will be required to undergo a training in either Law or Economics, while candidates who do not master Chinese language should be willing to undergo a training in Mandarin.
Candidates are requested to spend 6 months at the CASCC in Torino and at least 12 months in China, where they will develop a research project. A mid-term report is due at the completion of the first year.
Candidates must be fluent in English. Knowledge of Chinese Mandarin is not required.
The annual amount of each fellowship is 20,400 Euros (gross).
Full announcement here.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Here's a set of interesting regulations issued in April 2000 by the Ministry of Public Security, noting among other things that the police should "protect the lawful rights and interests of the people" when the latter are engaged in legitimate protest. For more details, see the commentary by China Labour Bulletin; a translation is available here.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
When Enlightenment Europeans such as Voltaire first encountered Chinese civilization, they were impressed by its rationality. Later visitors during and after the suppression of the Taiping Rebellion were horrified by what they witnessed. Here's an interesting eyewitness account of late 19th-century Qing criminal procedure I recently ran across in a book published in 1877. It is on the whole quite sympathetic - although one wonders whether the author would have recommended the same system for his own country.