August 22, 2012
New report on abuse of psychiatry in China
The organization China Human Rights Defenders has just published a report on abuse of involuntary psychiatric commitment in China. Here's a summary from The Daily Beast.
As far as I know, the most recent full-scale treatment of this issue is Robin Munro's path-breaking China's Psychiatric Inquisition: Dissent, Psychiatry and the Law in Post-1949 China (London: Wildy, Simmonds and Hill, 2006). I have a blog post about it and the controversy his work engendered here. (Bottom line: Munro 1, critics 0.)
Involuntary commitment is an area desperately in need of legal standards. The abuses that occur now can't be blamed on authorities flouting or bending existing law. They don't need to bother; the existing legal regime pretty much gives them carte blanche to involuntarily commit anyone by just saying it's necessary.
Without some standards, I have an uneasy feeling that if current efforts to abolish re-education through labor in its current form succeed, we'll suddenly - through the operation of a kind of Law of Conservation of Police Discretion - see an increase in the number of supposedly crazy people needing commitment.
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:
March 13, 2012
Ricci dictionary of Chinese law (French/English/Chinese) seeks English proofreaders
Here's a communication I recently received on what sounds like a worthy project:
The Ricci Dictionary of Chinese Law is a trilingual Chinese law dictionary project (Chinese to English / Chinese to French) which is currently ran by a team of practicing and academic lawyers with various legal backgrounds. It is part of a wider dictionary project, the “Grand Ricci” which is the reference Chinese to French dictionary and one of the world’s most complete Chinese to foreign language dictionaries (approx. 13,500 Chinese characters and more than 300,000 terms).
Our project started six years ago and recently reached an advanced stage with more than 23,000 Chinese legal terms listed and translated in both English and French.We are looking for native English speakers to proofread the English translations for these entries. Proofreading will be carried using an online editing tool (web database). Candidates must ideally possess or be in the process of completing a law degree and should be familiar with Chinese legal terms. Ability to read French would be a must. Compensation is to be discussed and will depend on the availability of the candidate.
If you are interested, please submit your resume to Hubert BAZIN, project coordinator (hubert.bazin (at) gmail.com).
November 26, 2011
China: A Decade in the WTO - conference papers
Here's a link to the papers from a conference on "A Decade in the WTO: Implications for China and Global Trade Governance".
July 01, 2011
Judge Dee for free: van Gulik, The Chinese Maze Murders (e- book)
The University of Chicago Press is offering a free e-book version of The Chinese Maze Murders, one of the beloved Judge Dee series by Dutch sinologist Robert van Gulik. Here's the link.
February 04, 2011
China-EU Law Journal: Call for papers
I have received this call for papers from the China-EU Law Journal. The accompanying email states:
The China-EU Law Journal is a peer-reviewed journal. It is published by Springer under the auspices of the China-EU Law School at the China University of Political Science and Law.
For manuscript submission and more information you may visit www.editorialmanager.com/celj
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 22, 2009
Chinese translation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices ActWho knows? This might be useful to someone, somewhere (perhaps in explaining why you can't give a gift, even though personally you'd really love to), so here it is, courtesy of the US Department of Commerce.
April 01, 2009
English-language law review at Tsinghua Law School
I have received the following announcement:
The Tsinghua China Law Review is a new academic law journal at the Tsinghua School of Law in Beijing. The TCLR will publish scholarly articles on topics related to China's laws and legal system. The journal is the first of its kind in China, as it is published in English and is student-managed. Articles will be edited by a diverse staff of Chinese and international students. The TCLR will follow the format of a US law review, will be printed in the US, and in the future will be available through Westlaw, Lexis, and HeinOnline. For more details, please see the website (http://www.tsinghua.edu.cn/docsn/fxy/tclr/tclr.htm).
For all scholars in the China law field, there are still a few days remaining to submit articles for the Spring issue! The period for submissions closes on April 3rd. Please see the website for submissions details.
March 31, 2009
State Department human rights report on China
It's been quite a while since I last blogged, so I'm a bit behind on current events.
Last February, the US State Department issued its annual report on human rights in China - something it does by congressional mandate for every country. The report for China is here; there's also one for Taiwan here.
Predictably, the Chinese government responded - not with a statement that addressed any actual inaccuracies in the report, but with a report on human rights problems in the United States (Chinese | English). I have never understood why the Chinese government feels that this is an appropriate or convincing response to criticism. Does Chen Guangcheng feel better in his prison cell in China - and should the rest of us feel better about this travesty of justice - knowing that there were 17,000 murders in the United States in 2007? Moreover, it does not take a great legal mind to recognize that in issuing such a report, China completely undercuts its own position that such reports are an unwarranted interference in the internal affairs of other countries.
Since the State Department's report is not footnoted, it would be relatively easy for the government to accuse the State Department of simply making the stuff up. That won't wash, however, with the meticulously sourced human rights report produced annually by the Congressional-Executive China Commission; the latest one is here, tipping the scales at an astounding (by my count) 1,743 footnotes. Of course, footnoting a claim doesn't make it true, but it makes a discussion about the truth or falsity of the claim much more feasible.
I am told that the US government last year posted the Chinese government's critical report on the web site of the US Embassy in Beijing; I can't find that report or this year's on the web site now, but hope the US government has not abandoned this excellent practice.
January 19, 2009
USTR releases 2008 report on China's compliance with WTO obligations
You can download the report here. I offer no comments because I haven't read it yet.
December 14, 2008
Chinese state-party report to the UN Human Rights Council
The Chinese government has submitted its state-party report to the UN Human Rights Council in preparation for the upcoming review of China before the Council. This is part of the Universal Periodic Review system under which every state is reviewed.
HT: Nicholas Bequelin.
November 13, 2008
CECC issues 2008 report on human rights in China
Here's the link.
September 27, 2008
New report from China Labour Bulletin
Here's a new report [English|French|Chinese] from China Labour Bulletin, Han Dongfang's Hong-Kong based labor rights organization. It's called "No Way Out: Worker Activism in China's State-Owned Enterprise Reforms". A blurb describing the report is here; it states that the report
is based on five years of research, and draws extensively on CLB’s litigation in defence of worker’s rights. The report uses five illustrative cases to explore the many ways in which enterprise restructuring and privatization violated the human rights of laid-off workers; including their systematic exclusion from official channels of redress, the criminalization of labour protests, and the denial of workers’ rights to social security, to an adequate standard of living, to freedom of association and to freedom from arbitrary detention.
August 10, 2008
New book on Chinese legal history
The Journal of Asian Studies has just published a favorable review of the following book; looks interesting.
Writing and Law in Late Imperial China: Crime, Conflict, and Judgment. Edited by Robert E. Hegel and Katherine Carlitz. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2007. xv, 343 pp. $65.00 (cloth)
June 02, 2008
China's 2008 Trade Policy Review report now available at WTO web site
The above document as well as the WTO Secretariat's report are available here.
May 25, 2008
Latest issue of CECC newsletter available
April 30, 2008
International Trade Commission releases report finding decreased Chinese governmental involvement in economic decision-making
The BNA's WTO Reporter reports as follows (below is just an excerpt):
China's government is less involved now than in the past in attempting to influence decisionmaking in various sectors of the economy, the International Trade Commission found in a report released April 10.
The report, China: Description of Selected Government Practices and Policies Affecting Decision Making in the Economy, is the first of three requested by the House Ways and Means Committee. In the first report, the committee asked the ITC to describe practices and policies China's central, provincial, and local government bodies use to influence decisionmaking in the economy, including in the manufacturing, agricultural, and services sectors.
"The pace and magnitude of China's economic changes create challenges to understanding the role of the government in firm-level decisionmaking in China's manufacturing, agricultural, and services sectors. Although the extent of government involvement varies by sector in China's economy, the government is less involved than in the past," the ITC report found.
A PDF copy of the report (Investigation No. 332-492, USITC Publication 3978, December 2007) is available here. You can also get a copy by sending an e-mail request to Pubrequest@usitc.gov.
April 29, 2008
Human Rights Watch publishes report on lawyers in China
AmCham China publishes 2008 White Paper on American Business in China
The report is available here.