Chinese Law Prof Blog

Editor: Donald C. Clarke
George Washington University Law School

Friday, May 30, 2008

Three PRC lawyers comment on amended Lawyers Law

The China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group has posted translations of commentaries by three PRC lawyers (Teng Biao, Li Heping, and Zhang Jiankang) on China's amended Lawyers Law. The document is here [PDF on this site | HTML on CHRLC site].

May 30, 2008 in Commentary, News - Chinese Law, People and Institutions | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Dirty dealings in Shanghai real estate

Here's an interesting article from the English-language on-line edition of Caijing on corruption and cronyism in Shanghai real estate deals (surprise, surprise). Here are the first few paragraphs:

Continue reading

May 28, 2008 in Commentary, News - Chinese Law | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Citation of Chinese sources in English

Here's something that's been bugging me for a long time; I'm finally writing about it because I came across instances of it three times in the last two days. What am I talking about? The practice of citing Chinese-language sources in English-language writing using only an English translation of the source, such that there is no way to find the original Chinese source. Why is this bad? Because it forgets a very important purpose of citation: to allow the interested reader to track down your sources herself and verify that they say what you say they say. It's like spelling out your experimental method in a science paper so as to allow others to attempt to reproduce your results. When you don't allow the reader to find your source, a citation is merely an acknowledgment that you found the language in question somewhere else or an unverifiable claim that you found the fact in question somewhere else. It says to the reader, "Hey, trust me!"

In one case the offending author supplied only the English-language title of the article, but also supplied a URL. Not bad, but not satisfactory. URLs go bad and web sites disappear. What we need is the Chinese title of the article because if it's publicly available on one Chinese web site, it's probably publicly available on many others. Knowing the Chinese title allows us to find it easily through Google or Baidu.

In another case, the UN's Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, in his report on China, actually invites us in footnote 27 to "see" the Study of the Prevention of and Counter Measures for The Extortion of Confessions by Torture of the Legal Studies Association (The Task Group On The Prevention of the Use of Torture in Interrogation), March 2005. Without knowing the Chinese title of this work, how are we supposed to find it, let alone see it?

It's no excuse to say that it takes too much space to include Chinese titles; why not just have no footnotes at all, if space is the problem? If citations are going to be used, they have to serve their purpose. Otherwise it's just a waste of space. Authors and editors, when citing a source, please ask yourself: could an interested reader competent in the field and with access to the internet and inter-library loan facilities find this source with the information you've provided?

May 27, 2008 in Commentary | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0)

CECC translation of indictment of Hu Jia

The Congressional-Executive Commission on China has published a translation of the indictment of Hu Jia; it's available here.

May 27, 2008 in News - Chinese Law, People and Institutions, Research Resources | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Revised document on Chinese LLM degrees for foreigners

Last week I posted here on Chinese LLM degrees for foreigners. As some useful comments have come in response to that, I'm posting a revised document; please use this one (Version 2) instead.

May 25, 2008 in Commentary, Fellowships/Research Opportunities, Other, People and Institutions | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Latest issue of CECC newsletter available

The latest issue of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China's newsletter, "China Human Rights and Rule of Law Update," is now available (PDF from this site | HTML from CECC site).

May 25, 2008 in Publications | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)