Chinese Law Prof Blog

Editor: Donald C. Clarke
George Washington University Law School

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Auto industry strikes in China

Here's an insightful piece on recent auto industry strikes in China. The first two paragraphs are below:

The Strike Wave

Between May and July of this year a series of high-profile strikes in foreign-owned auto parts plants spread throughout China’s coastal regions. Strikes in China are nothing new, but the recent strike wave was remarkable in at least three respects: the amount of concessions granted to workers; the degree of publicity it initially received in the Chinese media; and the prospects for showcase union reform that it has helped push onto the agenda. Although the strikes were directed primarily at unfair wages, there were some attempts to address the more political question of union representation. Workers that I spoke with who had participated in strikes at Honda factories had clearly been politicized by the events and were well aware of strikes occurring throughout China’s auto industry.

The first and only strike to make headlines in the Chinese press began on May 17th and lasted until June 4th. It took place at Honda’s Nanhai factory in Foshan, Guangdong. The strike was kicked off by two workers from the factory’s assembly division. Well aware of their central position within the production line, these two young workers were quickly joined by the rest of the assembly division and were able to suspend production throughout almost the entire factory. Their actions sparked over two weeks of protest which at its height gained the support of some 1,900 workers. The strike eventually stopped production at four Honda assembly plants and went on to inspire at least eleven large-scale strikes in other foreign-owned auto factories. Was this strike wave the result of mere spontaneity? Why were the strikes so ubiquitous in the auto industry? And why did they take place in mostly Japanese-owned (or Japanese-invested) factories?

October 31, 2010 in Commentary | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Legal job opening at US Consulate, Shanghai

The position is in IPR protection. Announcement here.

October 31, 2010 in Internships/Employment Opportunities | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Eight big mistakes to avoid in China business

One thing I think I have yet to learn in blogging is the appeal of lists. Here's a good one from Dan Harris at the Chinalaw blog: Eight big mistakes to avoid in China. These are the tales that foreign lawyers doing China business tell each other. Check out the comments as well; I'm sure readers will be adding their own stories.

October 29, 2010 in Commentary | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

When is a blue sky not blue?

When the Beijing government announces it as a "blue sky" day, apparently. Caixin reports that a Beijing girl named Lu Weiwei took photos of the sky every day from June 1, 2009 to May 31, 2010 and counted 180 days in which there was actually a blue sky. Meanwhile, the official statistic was 285. The Beijing Bureau of Environmental Protection explained that "blue sky" means air quality has attained a certain level, not that the sky is actually blue. Silly me.

Maybe blue skies are overrated, anyway. As I write this in Beijing, the sky is blue. The air quality monitor on the roof of the US Embassy, however, rates the air quality as "unhealthy." (This means "Everyone may begin to experience some adverse health effects, and members of the sensitive groups may experience more serious effects.") There are three levels better than this and only two levels worse: "very unhealthy" and "hazardous".

October 27, 2010 in Commentary | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Wu Lihong back on the job

Here's the story from the Wall Street Journal. Some people never learn, I guess. I wish him good luck.

October 22, 2010 in Commentary, News - Chinese Law, People and Institutions | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Open letter from Party elders calling for free speech

This is somewhat old news, but I want to post it here for the sake of completeness in documentation. Quoting from the China Media Project's blog post:

On October 11, 23 Chinese Communist Party elders known for their pro-reform positions, including Mao Zedong’s former secretary Li Rui (李锐) and former People’s Daily editor-in-chief Hu Jiwei (胡绩伟), submitted an open letter to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, formally China’s highest state body, calling for an end to restrictions on expression in China.

Here's the text in English and Chinese, courtesy of the China Media Project.

October 20, 2010 in News - Chinese Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

CECC releases 2010 annual report on human rights and the rule of law in China

The Congressional-Executive Commission on China has released its annual report; it's available in PDF format here.

The CECC has developed a reputation for doing solid, carefully sourced work, and this report is no exception. Of course, if you disagree with the basic premise that a government should be in the business of producing this kind of report about what goes on in other countries - a premise that the Chinese government apparently supports, by the way - then you won't like this report, but I don't see it making wild and unsubstantiated claims. (I confess I have not read every line carefully.)

The report makes an important observation worth quoting in full:

Chinese officials appear to have adopted a new rhetorical strategy with respect to China’s compliance with international norms. In the past, Chinese officials often argued that it was necessary to carve out exceptions and waivers to the application of international norms to China. While stating their embrace of international norms in the abstract, for example, on free expression and the environment, they sought to make the case that, in practice, China deserved to be treated as an exception, due, for instance, to its status as a developing country. Now, however, official statements increasingly tend to declare the Chinese government’s compliance with international norms, even in the face of documented noncompliance.

This rings true to me. Take the example of black jails (illegal detention facilities for petitioners). It's not a state secret that these exist, and there is plenty of material on black jails not just in the more daring Chinese media outlets, but even in outlets under pretty tight control (e.g., the People's Daily Online site). In November 2009, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said, "I can assure you that there are no so-called black jails in China." Earlier that year, Southern Weekend had reported about a case of rape in a black jail, and a Beijing court was trying the accused at the very moment Qin Gang was making his statement. The China Daily was happy to use the term "black jail" in its report on the incident. And just a few days after Qin Gang made his statement, Oriental Outlook magazine, published by the official news agency, Xinhua, produced an investigative report on black jails. So we are not exactly talking about slanders cooked up by hostile foreign forces here. But instead of arguing that China is different, or that the West is imposing its values on China, the government has adopted a strategy of simple denial.

This is going to pose some problems for Western apologists for the government's human rights record, who until now have talked about China's right to be different, cultural imperialism, etc. It's going to be a lonely journey on the S.S. Cultural Relativism now that even the Chinese government has apparently jumped ship.

October 19, 2010 in News - Chinese Law, Publications | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Chinese rights supporters issue open letter in support of Liu Xiaobo

The following letter has been issued by the signatories in support of Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo. English and French versions follow the Chinese version.












郝建  (北京,学者)


贾葭  (北京,专栏作家)

何方  (北京,学者)

张祖桦 (北京,宪政学者)

戴晴  (北京,学者)




周舵  (北京,学者)



王力雄(北京,作家 )

唯色  ( 西藏,作家)

滕彪  (北京,学者)






浦志强(北京,律师 被限制人身自由中)







丁东  (北京,学者)





徐岱  (杭州,学者)

丘延亮 (台北,副研究员 中央研究院民族学研究所)

王康  (重庆,学者)

徐贲  (北京,学者)




张闳  (上海,学者)

老村  (北京,作家)

周枫  (北京,学者)



雷永生 (北京,学者)




吕频  (北京,妇女权利工作者)








徐晓  (北京,编辑)



石涛  (北京,企业管理者)


郑褚  (成都,媒体人)


姚博  (北京,作家)

杜婷  (香港,媒体人)

何杨  (北京,独立纪录片制作人)

华泽  (北京,纪录片导演)

张辉  (北京,德先生研究所负责人)

野渡  (广州,作家)




杨海  (西安,民间学者)



刘巍  (北京,维权律师)





陆以诺(上海,公民 基督徒)

黄燕明 (贵州,人权捍卫者)






魏英 (福建,人权捍卫者)



李华  (北京,自由职业)





韩颖  (北京,人权捍卫者)



王炜  (山东,公民)




王我  (北京,纪录片导演)


胡杰  (南京,纪录片导演)

王超  (北京,电影导演)

徐娟  (德国,媒体工作者)



张真  (纽约,学者)


萨冲 (意大利, 工程师)

郭小林(北京 , 诗人)


On Liu Xiaobo and the Nobel Peace Prize

            The awarding of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo, a Chinese citizen, has drawn strong reactions both inside and outside China.  This is a major event in modern Chinese history.  It offers the prospect of a significant new advance for Chinese society in its peaceful transition toward democracy and constitutional government.  In a spirit of  responsibility toward China’s history and the promise in its future, we the undersigned wish to make these points:

            1.   The decision of the Nobel Committee to award this year’s prize to Liu Xiaobo is in full conformity with the principles of the prize and the criteria for its bestowal.  In today’s world, peace is closely connected with human rights.  Deprivation and devastation of life happens not only on battlefields in wars between nations; it also happens within single nations when tyrannical governments employ violence and abuse law.  The praise that we have seen from around the world for the decision to award this year’s prize to a representative of China’s human rights movement shows what a wise and timely decision it was.

            2.   Liu Xiaobo is a splendid choice for the Nobel Peace Prize.  He has consistently advocated non-violence in his quest to protect human rights and has confronted social injustice by arguing from reason.  He has persevered in pursuing the goals of democracy and constitutional government and has set aside anger even toward those who persecute him.  These virtues put his qualifications for the prize beyond doubt, and his actions and convictions can, in addition, serve as models for others in how to resolve political and social conflict.

            3.  In the days since the announcement of his prize, leaders in many nations, regions, and major world organizations have called upon the Chinese authorities to release Liu Xiaobo.  We agree.  At the same time we call upon the authorities to release all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience who are in detention for reasons such as their speech, their political views, or their religious beliefs.  We ask that legal procedures aimed at freeing Liu Xiaobo be undertaken without delay, and that Liu and his wife be permitted to travel to Oslo to accept the Nobel Peace Prize.

            4.  Upon hearing the news of Liu Xiaobo’s prize, citizens at several locations in China gathered at restaurants to share their excitement over food and wine and to hold discussions, display banners, and distribute notices.  Normal and healthy as these activities were, they met with harassment and repression from police.  Some of the participants were interrogated, threatened, and escorted home; others were detained; still others, including Liu Xiaobo’s wife Liu Xia, have been placed under house arrest and held incommunicado.  We call upon the police to cease these illegal actions forthwith and to immediately release the people who have been illegally detained.

            5.  We call upon the Chinese authorities to approach Liu Xiaobo’s Nobel Prize with realism and reason.  They should take note of the responses to the prize inside and outside China and see in these responses the currents in world thinking as well as the underlying preferences of our fellow citizens.  China should join the mainstream of civilized humanity by embracing universal values.  Such is the only route to becoming a “great nation” that is capable of playing a positive and responsible role on the world stage.  We are convinced that any signs of improvement or goodwill from the government and its leaders will be met with understanding and support from the Chinese people and will be effective in moving Chinese society in a peaceful direction. 

6.  We call upon the Chinese authorities to make good on their oft-repeated promise to reform the political system.  In a recent series of speeches, Premier Wen Jiabao has intimated a strong desire to promote political reform.  We are ready to engage actively in such an effort.  We expect our government to uphold the constitution of The People’s Republic of China as well as the Charter of the United Nations and other international agreements to which it has subscribed.  This will require it to guarantee the rights of Chinese citizens as they work to bring about peaceful transition toward a society that will be, in fact and not just in name, a democracy and a nation of laws.

Communiqué sur l’attribution du Prix Nobel de la paix à Liu Xiaobo

Le citoyen chinois Liu Xiaobo a obtenu le prix Nobel de la paix 2010. Cette nouvelle a eu un impact extraordinaire tant en Chine qu’à l’étranger. C’est un événement historique pour la Chine contemporaine, une nouvelle occasion pour elle d’effectuer une transition pacifique vers un gouvernement constitutionnel. Dans un esprit de responsabilité devant l’histoire, et devant le destin futur de la Chine, nous publions le communiqué suivant :

1)L’attribution par le comité Nobel du prix Nobel de la paix à Liu Xiaobo correspond aux objectifs et aux critères d’attribution de ce prix. Dans la société contemporaine, la paix est inséparable des droits de l’Homme, la privation de la vie et son piétinement ne se produisent pas seulement sur les champs de bataille, mais sont également causés par la mise en oeuvre de mauvaises lois et d’une politique de violence.Le concert de louange de la part de l’opinion internationale montre que l’attriution du Prix à une personnalité représentative du mouvement chinois des droits de l’homme est une décision correcte et opportune.。

2) Le choix de Liu Xiaobo pour ce prix est particulièrement juste, car il n’a cessé de défendre les droits de l’homme de manière non-violente, et a toujours adopté une position raisonnable dans sa résistance aux injustices sociales ; il a montré une grande ténacité dans son combat pour obtenir la mise en oeuvre d’un régime constitutionnel,et malgré les persécutions, il est dépourvu de toute haine, ce qui fait de lui un candidat idéal pour le Prix. Les idées et la pratique de Liu Xiaobo constitutent pour les Chinois de mode de résolution des conflits

3) Dès qu’il a obtenu le Prix, les gouvernements de tous les pays, les dirigeants de toutes les régions et de toutes sortes d’organisations n’ont cessé d’exiger des autorités chinoises qu’elles libèrent LXB, ;nous adoptons la même attitude. En même temps, nous appelons les autorités à libérer tous les prisonniers de conscience et les prisonniers politiques enfermé pour des raisons d’idéologie,d’expression ou de foi religieuse.Nous appelons à prendre au plus vite toutes les mesures pour que LXB regagne sa liberté, qu’il soit réuni à son épouse Liu Xia, et qu’il puisse se rendre en personne à Oslo recevoir le prix.

4) En apprenant la nouvelle, dans toute la Chine, des citoyens ravis ont organisé des banquets, des réunions, ont porté des banderolles, distribué des tracts pour célébrer ou discuter l’événement ; ces actions sont tout à fait légales et raisonnables. Mais les policiers ont ont réprimé ces activités, des citoyens ont été gardés à vue, interrogés,  menacés, renvoyés dans leur lieu d’origine, voire détenus, placés en résidence surveillée, privés leur liberté d’action, privés de leur droit de communiquer avec l’extérieur, comme l’épouse de LXB Liu Xia. Nous exigeons que la police mette immédiatement un terme à ces actes illégaux et libère immédiatement les citoyens détenus.

5) Nous appelons les autorités chinoises à adopter une attitude raisonnable face à l’attribution du Prix à LXB, et en observant les réactions chaleureuses en chine et à l’étranger, à se mettre en accord avec le courant mondial ; la Chine doit entrer dans le courant principal des valeurs universelles et de la civilisation de l’humanité, et établir l’image d’un grand pays positiv et responsable. Nous sommes convaincus que toute amélioration et toute bonne intention du gouvernement chinois sera accueillie par la compréhension et le soutien de tous, et poussera la société chinoise dans une direction pacifique.

6) Nous appelons les autorités chinoises à tenir leur promesse de réforme du système politique. Le premier ministre Wen Jiabao, dans un ensemble de discours, a récemment manifesté son profond désir de faire avancer la réfome politique, et nous sommes prêts à participer à ce processus. Nous souhaitons que dans le cadre de la Constitution de la République populaire de Chine, de la Charte des Nations Unies qu’il reconnaît, et des traités internationaux qu’il a signés,le gouvernement puisse garantir réellement tous les droits des citoyens, qu’il mette en oeuvre une transition sociale pacifique afin de faire de la Chine un pays démocratique, doté d’un Etat de droit digne de ce nom.

October 15, 2010 in News - Miscellaneous, People and Institutions | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Job opportunity: Deputy Country Director (China), ABA Rule of Law Initiative

Here's an announcement that recently came across my desk:

The American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA-ROLI) is a public service project that provides technical assistance in support of legal reforms and the rule of law in over 40 countries around the world. ABA-ROLI’s Asia Division currently implements projects in China, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Nepal, Mongolia, Bangladesh, and the Solomon Islands as well as a regional anti-corruption program.

ABA-ROLI seeks candidates to fill one (1) Deputy China Country Director position based in Beijing, China. The Deputy China Country Director will work with the China Country Director to develop, implement, and evaluate ABA-ROLI’s rule of law programs in China. Our programs cover a broad range of substantive areas including women’s rights, criminal justice reform, environmental protection, and civil society capacity building. Programming approaches include training, pilot projects, and practical research to support policy reform. The Deputy China Country Director will be responsible for maintaining a cooperative working relationship with program partners, supervising local staff to implement program plans pursuant to program objectives, participating in and providing technical assistance to program activities conducted by program partners, and ensuring compliance with donor requirements, including producing quarterly and final reports. This position will require substantial travel within China.

Qualified candidates will possess: (1) a Juris Doctor or equivalent law degree; (2) at least five years of practical legal experience, with a minimum of one year working on donor-funded international legal reform programs, preferably in China; (3) demonstrated planning, management, analytical, and writing skills; (4) fluency in English; (5) proficiency in both written and spoken standard Chinese (Mandarin); (6) excellent oral communication and interpersonal skills; and (7) familiarity with the Chinese legal system, as well as the current political and cultural context. This position is available immediately.

This is a full-time staff position, with a competitive compensation and benefits package.

Interested individuals should send a cover letter, resume, and references to Ms. Jennifer Salen ( Candidates will be considered on a rolling basis until the position is filled. ABA-ROLI will contact only those candidates whom it selects for interviews. Applicants must also Click Here to fill out an online application.

ABA is an equal opportunity employer. Employment decisions will be made based upon individual capabilities and qualifications without regard to race, color, religion, gender, pregnancy, sexual orientation, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status or any other protected characteristic as established under law.

October 7, 2010 in Internships/Employment Opportunities | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)