Thursday, January 31, 2008
The State Council's latest batch of abolished regulations includes the 1987 Provisional Regulations for the Administrative Punishment of Speculation (投机倒把行政处罚暂行条例) and the corresponding 1990 Implementing Rules. The reason for the abolition? "The object of regulation has disappeared, and [the regulation] has already lost its effect in practice" (调整对象已消失，实际上已经失效).
Since the crime of "speculation" (投机倒把) disappeared with the 1997 revised Criminal Law, these State Council regulations were pretty much the last refuge of this pre-reform-era concept, which might mean nothing more than buying low and selling high. The regulations themselves barred such vaguely-defined activities as "jacking up prices" (哄抬物价) and "other speculative activities that disturb the socialist economic order" (其他扰乱社会主义经济秩序的投机倒把行为).
Some of the specific activities that were deemed to constitute speculation might still, of course, be illegal, but the final (it seems) death of this particular term in the Chinese legal system should not go unmarked.
Monday, January 28, 2008
The BNA's WTO Reporter reports as follows (excerpt only; full story here):
The United States has signaled it will initiate new World Trade Organization dispute settlement proceedings against China to address a standing U.S. complaint regarding Chinese restrictions on foreign financial information service providers.
Officials speaking on condition of anonymity said a letter was sent by the United States to China Jan. 25 warning that U.S. patience on the issue has finally run out. As a result, barring quick action by Beijing, Washington is expected to initiate proceedings by requesting WTO dispute consultations with China.
At issue is a September 2006 administrative measure issued by China's state-owned Xinhua News Agency prohibiting foreign financial information services such as Bloomberg or Reuters from selling their services directly to Chinese domestic clients. Instead, the measure requires the foreign news services to operate through an agent designated by Xinhua.
To date, the only agent designated by Xinhua is a Xinhua affiliate.
For a great story of an earlier attempt by Xinhua to control (and profit from) the information flow from foreign providers, see James McGregor, One Billion Customers (2007), pp. 129 ff.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
The China Media Project reports that Guangzhou delegate Li Yongzhong (李永忠) (also a National People's Congress delegate) criticized local judicial protectionism and called for centralization of appointment and finances in the court system (as opposed to the current system, where such matters are handled at the same administrative level as the court in question). This led to his being interrupted by another member of his own delegation who said (possibly shouted), "These are not the views of our delegation," and left the room. The full report is here.
Friday, January 18, 2008
Here's an announcement from the US-China Legal Cooperation Fund:
The U.S.-China Legal Cooperation Fund invites proposals seeking grants to fund projects promoting rule-of-law in China conducted jointly by American and Chinese institutional participants.
The Fund's objective is to support U.S.-China cooperation in strengthening China's legal processes and institutions.
The Spring 2008 deadline for submission of proposals is April 1, 2008.
Further information is available at www.uschinalegalcoop.org.
Yes, yes, I know - some other blogs get about that many hits per day. But It's not too bad for our little corner of academia. My potentially unfair advantage - a Chinese audience - has unfortunately been nullified by the Chinese government's blocking of this site.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
That's the headline of this interesting story from the Washington Post, which begins:
Government officials from a county in northeastern China's Liaoning province were not pleased by a magazine story criticizing their local Communist Party leader. So they traveled nearly 500 miles to Beijing seeking to arrest the author.
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Here's the announcement. Note the following:
- The application deadline for summer internships is February 1, 2008.
- Applicants must be US citizens.
- Pay is $10/hour.
- Typically interns are undergrads or grad students, but it's not a requirement.
- Fall and spring internships are part-time (about 15-20 hours a week). Summer internships are full-time (32-40 hours a week).
- Interns should be able to read Chinese well enough to assist with research in newspapers, journals, and on websites. More advanced Chinese language capability would be a plus.
Monday, January 7, 2008
Here's an interesting Sky News report on petitioning and land requisitioning. It includes some amazing footage of a pitched battle in a village between enforcers and residents. Thanks to China Digital Times for the reference.
Sunday, January 6, 2008
The China Court Net (中国法院王), the People's Net (人民网), and CCTV International (央视国际) have collaborated to produce lists of last year's top ten legal news stories, law cases, and people in the legal news. Here's their list of top ten legal news stories. Some of them might seem less than earthshaking, but I'm only the reporter. Readers are encouraged to add their own stories in the comments. (Remember that comments don't get published immediately, so don't worry if you don't see yours right away.)
- Hu Jintao's Oct. 15, 2007 report to the 17th Party Congress stresses the rule of law, mentioning terms such as "law," "rule of law," and "according to law" no fewer than 85 times.
- Property Law (Law on Real Rights) (物权法) goes into effect on Oct. 1, 2007.
- Labor Contract Law (劳动合同法) passed on June 29, 2007.
- Death penalty review power fully re-centralized back to Supreme People's Court as of Jan. 1, 2007.
- Cabinet-level State Bureau for the Prevention of Corruption (国家预防腐败局) established on Sept. 13, 2007.
- State Administration of Industry and Commerce leads crackdown on illegal sex toys, sex medicines, and associated advertising (Nov. 2007).
- Slavery in Shanxi brick kilns (山西黑砖窑) exposed in May 2007.
- The story of the Chongqing "nail household" (钉子户) hits the media in March 2007.
- Lanzhou municipal authorities issue controversial order on June 25 putting a ceiling on the price of beef noodles (牛肉面).
- Pregnant woman Li Liyun (李丽云) dies in hospital because husband refuses to sign consent and hospital refuses to operate without it (Nov. 2007).
Saturday, January 5, 2008
Thursday, January 3, 2008
An under-noticed aspect of Mao's personality cult is that it made him millions in royalties from sales of the Little Red Book and other works. His estate is now apparently worth over US$17 million, and the money keeps piling up because the leadership can't figure out who should get it. (A decision of this magnitude is not going to be made by a mere judge.) Jiang Qing apparently made a claim to it - unsuccessfully, of course - as apparently have two of Mao's children. Here's a recent BBC article on the issue. Thanks to China Digital Times for the tip.
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
The just-published 2007 China Law Yearbook reveals that in 2006 state prosecutors approved the arrest of 604 individuals detained by public security and state security police in ESS [i.e., "endangering state security"] cases, up from 296 in 2005. This marks the highest number of ESS arrests in China since 2002.
Obviously, there are also cases that don't get reported, as well as what are effectively political cases brought under a non-political rubric (e.g., convicting Chen Guangcheng of obstructing traffic).