Wednesday, April 9, 2014
On February 14th I posted what was definitely not a valentine to Confucius Institutes written by University of Chicago anthropologist Marshall Sahlins, as well as a response written by my colleague Ed McCord. Sahlins has now written a rejoinder, and McCord in turn a surrejoinder (I think that's what it's called - if the debate goes on any longer I will run out of vocabulary).
This is an important debate to have. I think Sahlins is right to be concerned, even seriously concerned. If Confucius Institutes did not exist, would anyone not in the Chinese government have proposed them as a model for promoting China studies around the world? At the same time, I know Ed McCord to be a scholar of integrity and sound judgment, who has not hesitated to offend the PRC government in the past when his principles called for it. Both perspectives need to be heard.
Saturday, April 5, 2014
"Minor property rights" (小产权) is the term used to describe the rights you get (or think you get) when you "buy" rural, collectively-owned land. I use quotation marks because you can't actually buy collectively-owned land. You can't even buy a long-term use right to it, the way you can buy a 70-year use right to land for residential use in urban China. But villages purport to sell these rights and urbanites purport to buy them, because they're cheaper than the fully lawful and relatively robust rights you get when you buy urban land. And the developments on minor property rights land can be pretty substantial (see the photo below); we're not talking about tarpaper shacks here.
Now the media is reporting that minor property rights land is being occupied not just by the living, but by the dead - and for the same reasons. It's getting too expensive to die in China, so people have to find cheaper options. Here are some reports:
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
I have received the following announcement:
Law Fellow, ABA ROLI China
ABA ROLI is a non-profit program that implements legal reform initiatives in roughly 60 countries around the world, with nearly 700 professional staff working abroad and in its Washington, D.C. office. ABA ROLI has been working with local partners in China to implement legal reform projects since 1998. The ABA ROLI China program has provided training, supported practical research, supplied technical comparative expertise and facilitated professional exchange relationships between Chinese legal reformers and their counterparts abroad. Local partnership and collaboration lies at the heart of ABA ROLI’s programs, whose partners include China’s judiciary, bar associations, universities, civil society organizations and legal scholars.
The ABA ROLI China Law Fellowship is a one-year, unpaid fellowship that provides recent law school graduates with the opportunity to work with our Beijing-based team to support legal reform initiatives in collaboration with Chinese partners. Law Fellows provide assistance with research, implementation and evaluation of programs, and outreach efforts. Our programs cover a broad range of substantive areas including women’s rights, the rights of the disabled, criminal justice reform, environmental protection, and civil society capacity building. Competitive candidates will have a background in China, experience living and/ or working in China, and will be proficient in Mandarin.
• Assist with legal research;
• Assist with the design, implementation and evaluation of programs; and
• Assist with the development of outreach materials.
• Must have a JD or equivalent degree
• Excellent analytical, writing, oral communication, and interpersonal skills
• Knowledge of China, including the legal system and the current political and cultural context
• Fluency in English required and proficiency in Chinese (Mandarin) preferred
Interested individuals should send a brief (1-2 pages maximum) cover letter, CV, and 2 references in English by email to Ms. Winona Qi at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
I have received the following announcement:
ABA Rule of Law Initiative
Summer and Fall 2014
The American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative seeks candidates to work as legal interns on a variety of legal assistance projects being implemented from the Beijing program office of the ABA Rule of Law Initiative.
The ABA Rule of Law Initiative China Program is a public service project that provides technical assistance in support of justice reforms and capacity building. ABA’s program office in Beijing, with support from Washington, D.C.-based staff, supports a variety of legal reforms and legal training projects in China, in partnership with Chinese civil society organizations, universities, and law professionals. Interns will have the opportunity to meet and support the work of Chinese civil society advocates and public interest lawyers.
Legal interns will report to Program Managers and assist with program implementation in one or more program areas, including environmental protection, criminal justice, civil society development and intellectual property rights. Work duties of the legal interns will include:
• Monitoring program progress and assisting Program Managers in implementing and reporting on programs;
• Monitoring new developments and current events related to issues in the media, social networks, and other information outlets;
• Researching and writing on legal issues and current events;
• Reviewing and organizing relevant resource materials in ABA program library;
• Translating program documents and news articles between Chinese and English;
• Accompanying foreign visitor experts in China and assisting with communications through informal interpretation; and
• General administrative assistance including: assisting with event preparations and implementation, and other administrative assistance to ABA staff as needed.
• Candidate for B.A. or Masters/ JD in Law or related field;
• Fluency in both spoken and written Mandarin and English;
• Strong sense of responsibility and ability to work independently;
• Excellent communication skills;
• Professional demeanor; and
• Experience in a bilingual work environment or an international NGO is a plus
Internships will be part-time with a minimum commitment for the summer holiday break or the fall academic semester. Flexible working hours are anticipated. Interns will receive a small stipend.
Interested candidates should send a brief (1-2 pages maximum) cover letter indicating their experience and interest in legal development activities in China, their available dates, and their resume in English by email to Ms. Winona Qi at: email@example.com.
Only candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
The post will remain open until filled, so interested persons should apply as soon as possible. The job announcement is attached here. According to the job announcement, the location is "ideally" Washington, DC.
Sunday, March 30, 2014
Prof. SHEN Wei of Shanghai Jiaotong University Law School will give a talk at GW Law School this Thursday evening. The topic is "Understanding China's Local Government Debt Crisis: Causes and Solutions (or No Way Out?)". Click here for a flyer and a bio of Prof. Shen. The talk will be recorded and webcast live; here's the link for the webcast.
Date: April 3
Time: 6 p.m.
Place: Room 402, Lerner Hall, 2000 H St. NW, Washington, DC (Lerner Hall is where you are when you enter the law school at the 2000 H St. entrance).
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Monday, March 10, 2014
You have to be impressed with Pershing Square's PR operation. Those who don't read the business section might still have heard of William Ackman and his hedge fund Pershing Square's campaign against Herbalife, as it was the top story on the front page of today's New York Times. Ackman has a huge short position in Herbalife and is trying to talk down its stock by saying it's a pyramid operation. (I report this simply as a fact and express no opinion on whether Ackman's allegations are true.)
Today I received an email from someone at the Global Strategy Group, a PR firm, alerting me to a webcast Pershing Square is putting on tomorrow. The webcast will charge that Herbalife's operations in China violate Chinese law, presumably because of their alleged pyramidal nature. (My recollection is that China passed a law prohibiting pyramid sales structures after some early bad experiences in the 1980s or 90s, but I don't have the details at my fingertips.) I don't plan on watching the webcast and (since I don't have an opinion on the merits) it's not really my job to provide publicity for one side in this dispute, so I'm not going to provide the link here. But at a time when China is cracking down disproportionately on foreign firms, it will be interesting to see if Pershing Square manages to stir up some official action in China against Herbalife.
Here's the full text of the report on the China Law Translate site, where it's in the process of being translated. Click on the "Select Language" button on the right of the screen to ensure you're getting the version you want (i.e., Chinese or in-process English translation).
Friday, February 14, 2014
Confucius Institutes, which are part of the Chinese government's soft power efforts, have been in the news recently (at least in the academic community) following this blast last fall by the noted University of Chicago anthropologist Marshall Sahlins. I recommend it.
At the same time, I also recommend this recent and very cogent response by my GWU colleague Ed McCord, which he has kindly consented to have me post here. It's must reading for anyone who wants to have a fully informed view.
[Feb. 16: Replaced earlier version of McCord piece with a later, slightly modified version.]
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Here's a good piece by Jeff Bader of Brookings on the Obama administration's recent explicit rejection of China's "nine-dash line" as the basis for maritime claims.
If you want to dig deeper, here’s a good relevant resource put together by OUP: http://opil.ouplaw.com/page/222/debate-map-disputes-in-the-south-and-east-china-seas. They call it a "debate map" for the East China Sea and the South China Sea controversies. It breaks down the issues and provides links to various official sources and commentary relevant to each.
I posted yesterday about Prof. Zhang's upcoming talk at GWU Law School (Feb. 12th, 6 p.m. EST); here's the URL to the live webcast. The talk will also be recorded and made available on line; URL to be announced.
[Post slightly edited and URL changed after initial posting.]
Monday, February 10, 2014
Professor Zhang Qianfan of Peking University Faculty of Law will speak at George Washington University Faculty of Law on Feb. 12th. His subject will be "A Constitution Without Constitutionalism? Paths of Constitutional Development in China." Details here.The talk will be webcast live; please check back to this blog for the URL, which I will post before the talk.
For those who don't know him, Prof. Zhang is an impressive guy. In addition to a Ph.D. in government from the University of Texas at Austin, he also has a Ph.D. in physics/biophysics from Carnegie-Mellon. He recently published a book in English on the Chinese constitution.
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
I blogged the other day about Teng Biao's talk at GW Law School today (Feb. 5th). Two updates:
1. Location has been changed to Burns 505 (Faculty Conference Center).
2. The talk will be live streamed on the web. Here's the URL:
Sunday, February 2, 2014
Thursday, January 30, 2014
This doesn't have much to do with Chinese law, but I think it's a pretty interesting development. From my friend Dan Rosen at the Rhodium Group (copied here with permission):
Full year 2013 China GDP was released on January 29. The total was just over $9 trillion USD for the first time, at CNY 56.9 trillion (2013 average CNY/USD rate: 6.313). That’s up 7.67% over 2012 (and is the level the United States was at in 1992, in 2009 dollars; versus just about $16 trillion today). Here is a significant fact: as of the end of 2013, China’s services sector is officially the largest segment of its economy for the first time in the modern era, at 46%, versus 44% for industry and manufacturing and 10% for primary activity such as farming. That updraft in the share of services started in about 2006, and should keep going for, oh, I’d say about another 20 years before flattening out. That’s a pretty important change in the structure of growth, and one that Xi Jinping’s Plenum reforms both recognize and react to, on the one hand, and aim to bolster and sustain on the other. Remember: investment in services sector capital stock doesn’t just mean ice rinks, movie theaters, hospitals and schools, but also the injection of value-adding services activity into manufacturing giants like China Aluminum, which to date have been all about smelting and little about sales and marketing, R&D, environmental engineering, new applications development and other white collar multipliers of profit.