Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Sunday, April 6, 2008
Monday, March 10, 2008
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
I recently posted a paper with the above title on SSRN; it can be downloaded here: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1097587. It's a pre-publication version of a somewhat shorter piece that has appeared in the China Quarterly (the full reference is in the paper).
Here's the abstract:
Since the early 1990s, China has come a long way in legislating the foundational rules for its reformed economy. Virtually all of the important areas - contracts, business organizations, securities, bankruptcy, and secured transactions, to name a few - are now covered by national legislation as well as lower-level regulations. Yet an important feature of a legal structure suited to a market economy is missing: the ability of the system to generate from below solutions to problems not adequately dealt with by existing legislation. The top-down model that has dominated Chinese law reform efforts to date can only do so much. What is needed now is a more welcoming attitude to market-generated solutions to the gaps and other problems that will invariably exist in legislation. The state's distrust of civil-society institutions and other bottom-up initiatives suggests, however, that this different approach will not come easily.
Saturday, March 1, 2008
Flora Sapio of the Institute for Cultural Studies, Julius Maximilian University in Germany has just published an excellent article on shuanggui (双规), a form of extralegal detention by Party disciplinary bodies. The article is very well researched; she has found lots of relevant documents, many of which are probably not, strictly speaking, public.
Shuanggui poses a challenge to our understanding of the Chinese legal system. It is frankly admitted by just about everyone involved to be unlawful - in the Chinese system, all forms of detention must be authorized by law passed by the National People's Congress or its Standing Committee, and shuanggui has no such authorization. Yet it is open - the existence of the system itself is not a state secret - and pervasive. Thus, it cannot be dismissed as a mere aberration; a proper understanding of the system has to account for shuanggui as a constitutive element, not a mistake.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
For the last few years, Knut Benjamin Pissler of the Max Planck Institute for Foreign Private Law and Private International Law in Hamburg has compiled an annual bibliography of Western-language works on Chinese law. These bibliographies have been published in the Zeitschrift fuer Chinesisches Recht/Journal of Chinese Law published by the German-Chinese Lawyers Association.
Benjamin is currently working on the 2007 edition, and I will post that shortly. I recently realized, however, that I had never posted the last two years' editions. They are below.
UPDATE: The English text posted by the Chinese government requires you to do to 21 separate web pages to view the whole thing. Here are downloadable texts in English [Word | PDF] and Chinese [Word | PDF].
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Monday, December 31, 2007
China Labour Bulletin, a worker rights organization based in Hong Kong, has just published a report on the Chinese labor movement from 2005 to 2006. The introductory blurb is below. The full text of the report is here.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Here's an interesting game-theoretical analysis of public protest in China. The author, Peter Lorentzen, argues that such protests do not necessarily indicate regime weakness; instead, they are tolerated (in some cases) because they can increase the government's effectiveness. Here's the abstract:
The occurrence of protests in authoritarian countries is often seen as a harbinger of regime collapse. Yet China since the 1990s has seen a significant rise in popular protest while maintaining economic growth and its reform trajectory. Furthermore, the Chinese government has shown its ability to effectively suppress dissent when it chooses to. This paper argues that deliberate toleration of narrow economic protests serves the Chinese government's purposes in two ways. First, it allows the government to identify and defuse discontented groups. Second, it provides a useful signal of local government corruption that can be used to supplement and direct limited administrative monitoring resources. This mechanism has become particularly useful to the government of contemporary China as the processes of decentralization and market reform have made identification and investigation of local corruption more difficult.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Monday, October 1, 2007
Monday, September 3, 2007
The China Labour Bulletin, Han Dongfang's Hong Kong-based NGO, has just issued an English-language report on child labor in China. It is a revised and updated version of a Chinese-language report issued last year.
Given the current almost toxic zeitgeist about all things Chinese (at least inside the Beltway, where I live), it's important to stress that the CLB is a serious organization that produces high-quality and credible work. This is not just more China-bashing. Indeed, the report acknowledges the complexity of the issue at the very beginning:
Child labour in any society poses a complex challenge, one simultaneously ethical, legal and economic in nature, and China is no exception to this rule. The income generated by underage workers is often critical to a family’s overall livelihood, especially in the poorer rural areas from where most such workers originate, and so identifying “culprits” who can be suitably punished under the law is not always the best way to proceed. Indeed, except in the most egregious of cases,6 the sternly punitive approach may even be counterproductive, both by forcing this sector of the economy further underground and by pushing underprivileged families – and hence the children themselves – deeper into hardship and poverty.
Sunday, August 5, 2007
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Here's the latest issue (in Word format) of the newsletter of the (German) GTZ Legal Advisory Service. More information is on their web site. Incidentally, they are always looking for interns; see the last page of the newsletter. English is required; Chinese is desirable; German is not required.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
On July 3rd, PBS will be airing a documentary on the Chinese legal system entitled "The People's Court: China's Legal Revolution" as part of its Wide Angle series. I haven't seen it, but it sounds very interesting. I'm reproducing the press release below; for more information, check out the Wide Angle web site.
Incidentally, I can think offhand of only two other documentaries that have material relevant to the Chinese legal system: China: Beyond the Clouds and China From the Inside. If readers know of more, please tell me about them in the comments. (Note that, as always, as an anti-spam measure your comment won't appear until I've viewed it and clicked "publish".)