Chinese Law Prof Blog

Editor: Donald C. Clarke
George Washington University Law School

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Chen Guangcheng at the Council on Foreign Relations

Here's a link to the video (one hour) and the transcript. It's a little bit unfortunate that we can't hear or read the original Chinese version of what Chen said, but I have seen (or more accurately, heard) the interpreter, June Mei, at work on many occasions and she's the best, so it's very unlikely that she missed anything.

May 31, 2012 in News - Chinese Law, People and Institutions | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Legal specialist position at US Embassy, Beijing

From the China IPR blog:

The U.S. Embassy in Beijing is seeking an individual for the position of Legal Specialist with the Political Section. This position works with the U.S. Department of Justice in Beijing.

Information can be found at

May 31, 2012 in Internships/Employment Opportunities | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Does the legal system matter? Bo Xilai, Chen Guangcheng, and Liu Zhijun

Events in the last several weeks have prompted some interesting reflections on the larger nature of the Chinese legal system. Earlier this month, Nicholas Bequelin and Stanley Lubman discussed the significance of the Bo Xilai and Chen Guangcheng cases together. Lubman concludes that they show that Chinese law doesn't matter very much, and Bequelin concludes that Chinese law does matter more than we think. I'm greatly oversimplifying, of course, and if you read both pieces you'll find that they probably don't really disagree.

Today Stanley Lubman published another piece that looks at the Bo Xilai case together with the recent case of Liu Zhijun, the former minister of railways who was cashiered on corruption charges. Lubman notes that in these cases, there is always first an internal Party investigation, following which the subject may or may not be "handed over" to state judicial authorities for appropriate punishment. The key, of course, is that the Party, standing above the law, makes the decision whether or not to "hand over" people to the state authorities. All the talk about building the rule of law in China, increasing government accountability, etc. must be understood in the context of this one critical fact: the Party as an institution has never been subordinate to the law, and there is to date no movement in that direction.

May 30, 2012 in Commentary | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Ph.D. and lecturer positions available at Leiden Institute for Area Studies

I've received the following announcement:

New positions available at LIAS

Starting next academic year the Leiden Institute for Area Studies (LIAS) has available 3 full-time four-year Ph.D. positions and one position for a lecturer/project coordinator in an ERC-funded project on economic stability and instability in China with particular reference to land, development and real estate.

Leiden Institute for Area Studies (LIAS) is committed to the integration of disciplinary and regional-historical perspectives. LIAS has as its aim the advancement of teaching and research of Area Studies at Leiden University and in the wider academic community. LIAS comprises the Schools of Asian Studies (SAS) and Middle Eastern Studies (SMES). Area specializations in SAS include Chinese, Japanese, Korean, South & Southeast Asian and Tibetan Studies. LIAS staff have disciplinary expertise across the humanities and the social sciences.

Starting next academic year the Leiden Institute for Area Studies (LIAS) has available 3 full-time four-year Ph.D. positions (starting 1 January 2013) and one position for a lecturer/project coordinator (starting 1 September 2012) in an ERC-funded project on economic stability and instability in China with particular reference to land, development and real estate. The project is hosted on behalf of LIAS by the Modern East Asia Research Centre (MEARC). MEARC is based in LIAS. Its mission is to support, showcase, and stimulate inter-disciplinary and inter-faculty research on modern East Asia at Leiden University. MEARC Co-Director Prof. Dr. Peter Ho has a Starting Grant for Consolidators from the European Research Council (ERC), for a project on the much-debated question of China’s economic stability from the perspective of land and real estate. The PhD candidates and lecturer/project coordinator will join the research team for the ERC project. For more info see

Please send your application electronically indicating the vacancy number (see following pdf documents) before the deadline of Wednesday 20 June 2012 Interviews are planned to take place in the last week of June and/or the first week of July 2012. 

For more information, please refer to the following documents in pdf: 3 Ph.D. positions and position for a lecturer/project leader.


May 29, 2012 in Fellowships/Research Opportunities, Internships/Employment Opportunities | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, May 21, 2012

How Chen Guangcheng escaped (follow-up)

I posted a few days ago about this, linking to a Chinese account and apologizing for not having the time to supply a translation. Two commenters kindly noted the existence of partial translations, but I don't want to keep this information buried in the comments. Here are the two partial translations:


May 21, 2012 in News - Chinese Law, People and Institutions | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wu Ying re-sentenced to death with two-year reprieve

The Wu Ying case has been much in the news recently. She was originally sentenced to death, but the Supreme People's Court, on reviewing the death sentence, sent it back for re-hearing. (Remarkably, it managed to do so despite finding no flaws in the fact-finding, application of law, or process.) The Zhejiang Higher People's Court (at the provincial level) changed the sentence to death with a two-year reprieve. This kind of sentence is almost always commuted to a life sentence at the end of the two-year period.

The Zhejiang court took this action without holding a public hearing. That's allowed under Art. 9 of 最高人民法院关于复核死刑案件若干问题的规定, a set of rules on death penalty review procedures issued by the Supreme People's Court. 

Here are two sources:

May 21, 2012 in Commentary, News - Chinese Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

How Chen Guangcheng escaped

Here's an account (in Chinese - sorry, no time to translate) from iSun Affairs magazine (a web-based journal) of how Chen Guangcheng escaped from Dongshigu Village. As we might have guessed, he had help from various people but also had to rely on himself quite a bit. The account is quite detailed and names names. Apparently the editors decided to include these details because the authorities had already figured out the people involved.

Here's a video interview with Chen's brother, Chen Guangfu, about what happened to him afterwards.

May 17, 2012 in News - Chinese Law, People and Institutions | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Executive summary of 2011 CECC report on China now available in Chinese

The Executive Summary of the 2011 Annual Report of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China is now available in Chinese. Here are relevant documents:

May 15, 2012 in Commentary, Publications, Research Resources | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

News from the Chronicle of Higher Misinformation

A colleague recently brought to my attention this short piece in the web version of the Chronicle of Higher Education:

‘New York University’ Is Added to China’s List of Banned Internet Search Terms

May 11, 2012

China’s Internet censors have added “New York University” to their list of blocked search terms, reports China Digital Times. Last week, NYU’s law school offered the blind civil-rights lawyer Chen Guangcheng a visiting-scholar position. Previously, Mr. Chen had taken refuge in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing after escaping from house arrest. China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs accused American officials of interfering in China’s domestic affairs. NYU’s offer helped solved the diplomatic impasse. On the popular Sina Weibo microblogging service, searches for “New York University” drew denial-of-service messages on May 10, reports China Digital Times. <remainder omitted>

This report makes outright misstatements of fact and is seriously misleading.

First, the source is a report from China Digital Times (a reliable source) about Sina Weibo. But the headline and the first sentence use that to support a claim about the Internet. Sina Weibo is not the Chinese Internet; it's just the Chinese equivalent of Twitter.

Second, there has been no blocking of "New York University" or "NYU" on either Sina Weibo or the internet generall. What has been blocked is the Chinese term for "New York University" (纽约大学).

Bottom line: All that has been blocked in any way, on any platform or medium, are searches for the Chinese term for NYU. And such searches have been blocked only in the sense that if you search for tweets on Sina Weibo using that Chinese term, your results will be blocked. But if you are looking for information about NYU using any internet search engine, even a Chinese one based in China such as Baidu, you still get results as usual, and the NYU site itself is not blocked.

In short, this measure seems to be solely about suppressing discussion of Chen Guangcheng's visiting scholar offer from NYU on the Sina Weibo platform; it is not about punishing NYU for making the offer. Anyone in China who wants to search the web for information on NYU or visit its web site can do so just as before.

May 13, 2012 in Commentary, News - Chinese Law | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

China and US reach preliminary agreement in WTO audiovisuals case

China and the US have announced a preliminary agreement in "China — Measures Affecting Trading Rights and Distribution Services for Certain Publications and Audiovisual Entertainment Products" dispute at the WTO. I don't have a text of the actual memorandum of understanding (yet), but here's the text of their joint communication to the WTO:


WT/DS363/1911 May 2012


Joint Communication from China and the United States

   The following communication, dated 9 May 2012, from the delegation of China and the delegation of the United States to the Chairperson of the Dispute Settlement Body, is circulated at the request of those delegations.


         As noted at the meeting of the Dispute Settlement Body on 22 February 2012, China and the United States have made progress toward a resolution of the dispute China -- Measures Affecting Trading Rights and Distribution Services for Certain Publications and Audiovisual Entertainment Products (WT/DS363) as it relates to films for theatrical release through preliminary arrangements set forth in a Memorandum of Understanding. China and the United States would like to inform the Dispute Settlement Body that the Memorandum of Understanding includes the following key elements and that the opportunities provided by these elements are available to all WTO Members:

1. China confirmed that enhanced format films (such as 3D and IMAXfilms) are not subject to the 20-film commitment set forth in the Additional Commitments under Sector 2.D. of its GATS Schedule and agreed that China will allow the importation of at least 14 enhanced format revenue-sharing films per calendar year beginning in 2012.

2. China agreed that, in a contract for the distribution of an imported revenue-sharing film, the producer of the imported revenue-sharing film will be allocated 25 percent of gross box office receipts, and the Chinese side shall be responsible for the payment of all taxes, duties and expenses.

3. In a contract for the distribution of an imported film other than a revenue-sharing film, where the two sides are not both private enterprises, China agreed that the contract will be based on commercial terms, consistent with the terms prevailing in countries whose markets are comparable to China’s market based on annual box office revenue, number of screens, annual admissions and admissions per screen.

4. China confirmed that any Chinese enterprise is eligible to apply for and be granted a license to distribute imported films and that nothing in China’s laws, regulations or government rules prevents any eligible Chinese enterprise from applying for and receiving a license to distribute, and operating as a distributor of, these films.  China further agreed that it will promote reform in the distribution of imported films and will actively encourage more Chinese enterprises, including private enterprises, to obtain licenses and to participate in the distribution of these films.

5. China agreed that the licensing of distributors would be conducted in a non-discretionary and non-discriminatory manner, that contracts for the distribution of imported films would reflect standard industry practices, and that other Chinese government policies or practices would not undermine the provisions of the Memorandum of Understanding.

6. After five years, China and the United States will engage in consultations regarding key elements of the Memorandum of Understanding and to discuss the matter of China implementing the DSB’s recommendations and rulings with regard to films in DS363.

We request that you circulate this information to the Members of the Dispute Settlement Body.

For China:

(Signed) Yi Xiaozhun



For the United States:

(Signed) Michael Punke



May 13, 2012 in News - Chinese Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Draft revisions to Civil Procedure Law

I just discovered that I never got around to posting the draft amendments to the Civil Procedure Law that were issued last October. Since one purpose of this blog is to be an easy source for important documents, I'm going to post the link here even though this is old news. Here it is, and here's some commentary from the Beijing Lawyers' Association.

May 13, 2012 in Commentary, News - Chinese Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)