Saturday, March 15, 2008
I have received the following announcement:
The China Law Center of Yale Law School is seeking a graduating senior or recent university graduate for a Research Associate position based in Beijing. The Research Associate will support Center projects in China by conducting research and writing on issues related to legal reform; interacting with scholars, officials, and lawyers in China; and performing administrative and logistical tasks.
Interested applicants should send a cover letter and resume (including contact information for references) to The China Law Center at firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications should be submitted by April 15, 2008 but will be reviewed on a rolling basis beginning March 31, 2008. Applicants will only be contacted if invited for an interview. The Research Associate will receive a competitive one-year fellowship stipend for the 2008-2009 year.
Please see the attached position announcement for more information.
Monday, March 10, 2008
The China Digital Times reports that in a telephone memo, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television has banned media in China under its authority from having anything to do with Tang Wei, the actress who starred in "Lust, Caution." The memo reportedly says, among other things, ""All television programs, including news, features, entertainment, advertising and live broadcasts, must not cover Tang Wei or stir up issues related to her from now on." The memo, reportedly issued on March 6th, seems to coincide with the issuance by SARFT on March 3rd of a notice restating its policy on censorship.
The banning was reported on March 8th by the Hollywood Reporter, and although SARFT clearly doesn't want to talk about it - what doesn't exist can't be effectively challenged, after all - a SARFT official acknowledged the action in remarks at the meeting the Chinese People's Political Consultative Congress currently taking place in Beijing.
This action raises all kinds of interesting questions, the primary one of which of course is whether she would have standing to sue SARFT under the Administrative Litigation Law (or indeed, any other law) to make it justify the legality of its action - assuming unrealistically that any court would take the case. After all, the order isn't directed at her; plenty of reason for a nervous court to decline to take the case.
Sunday, March 9, 2008
There has been some discussion on the Chinalaw listserve about the legality of his detention. Without rehashing the discussion - the archives are available to anyone who joins the list, and joining is free - I thought it might be useful to highlight the two issues that emerged.
First, of course, is the main issue of whether his detention and the manner in which it was effected are lawful under Chinese law. Under Chinese law, restrictions on personal freedom may be justified only pursuant to legislation passed by the National People's Congress or its Standing Committee. Thus, it is acknowledged by just about everyone that the "shuanggui" (double designation) system of detention by Party disciplinary organs is illegal, even though it continues to operate unembarrassed by this problem.
In Teng's case, the relevant statute would seem to be the Criminal Procedure Law. But was he detained as part of a bona fide criminal investigation? And does the CPL justify detentions that are not part of a bona fide criminal investigation? I don't ask these questions rhetorically, but I think the answer to both is no.
The second issue is whether observers should spend energy trying to figure out if a lawful basis for the detention might have existed, and what conclusions, if any, should be drawn from the failure of the Chinese government to provide information or a justification. As one contributor pointed out, while it's legitimate for the detainee to argue that the detention is illegal unless the state shows legal grounds, the position of the outside observer is different. The detainee is trying to obtain his freedom, while the observer is (or should be) trying to understand the Chinese legal system; the notion that the government should pay a cost for its silence is good advocacy but poor scholarship.
In any case, an interesting discussion.