On 6 April 2023, the Finnish China Law Center will hold an online seminar on the topic of ‘Women’s Rights and Law in China’ at 14:00 – 15:30 Helsinki time. The event is part of the Center’s new mini seminar series on topical issues of Chinese law.
The speakers include Pia Eskelinen, Postdoctoral Researcher at the Faculty of Law, University of Turku, and Sijie Ma, Researcher at the China Center for Human Rights Studies, Northwest University of Political Science and Law, and visiting researcher at the Faculty of Law, University of Helsinki.
The seminar will be chaired by Johanna Niemi, Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Helsinki.
The programme can be found here.
The event is free and open to all. Zoom link for the event will be sent to registered participants.
We kindly ask you to register by 2 April by completing the following electronic form:
Background of the presentations
New Women´s Protection Law in China: An Opportunity or Just a Piece of Paper?
This study examines the principles of the amendments made to the Women´s Protection Law in China. It is the first time in nearly 30 years that the law on women’s protection was changed. Prior to the changes made to the legislation, activists expressed their concerns about increasing government rhetoric on the value of traditional women’s roles, and what some see as setbacks for women’s rights.
China´s official news agency Xinhua has stated that the new law “strengthens the protection of the rights and interests of disadvantaged groups such as poor women, elderly women, and disabled women”. But is it so and will China’s updated women’s rights law truly help women?
This research shows that the law still has room for improvement. One of its obvious weaknesses is how the legislation consistently addresses the rights of women in terms of the rights of men. The beginning of every section starts with the phrase women’s rights and properties should be equal to those of men. It assumes that men are the norm and women are the other.
As long as the society believes women are “the other” or mothers and wives, women are not free to be whatever they want to be. However, the amendments do try to correct and clarify some blatant problems in the previous legislation, which left poor, elderly, and disabled women without any real safety net. However, it seems that the amendments stir concerns that the law is less about independence, more about traditional roles which President Xi Jinping´s political discourse has steadily strengthened.
Legal regulation of sexual harassment prevention in the workplace in mainland China and its latest trends
This study focuses on analyzing the legislative framework and judicial practices related to the prevention and control of workplace sexual harassment in mainland China. In 2005, the revised “Law on the Protection of Women’s Rights and Interests of PRC” explicitly prohibited sexual harassment towards women, marking China’s first legislative expression on the matter. However, the accompanying legal regulation system and mechanism for sexual harassment have yet to be fully established. In recent years, with the promulgation of the Civil Code in 2020 and the comprehensive revision of the Women’s Law in 2022, the construction of China’s workplace sexual harassment laws has gained momentum. It must be acknowledged that, despite progress in legislation, the problems and disparities still persist significantly. This article focuses on the examination of the existing legislative framework, judicial practices, current debates, and future legislative prospects in mainland China with the aim of offering readers a deeper insight into the legal regulation of workplace sexual harassment in China.
About the speakers
Pia Eskelinen is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Faculty of Law at the University of Turku and a law teacher at Hyria Education. Her Ph.D. research focused on rural women’s rights in the Chinese society, particularly on land possession. Her latest publications include “Rural Women’s Land Use Rights in China: Acceptance and Enforceability” (Towards Gender Equality in Law: An Analysis of State Failures from a Global Perspective, 2021) and “Back to Family Values: Xi Jinping’s Embracement of Confucianism and its Effect on Chinese Women” (co-authored with Amalia Verdu Sanmartin and Johanna Niemi, Retfærd, 2022). She is currently conducting research on how Xi Jinping’s political discourse affects Chinese society, especially women. She is also interested in the overall equality situation in China and in the ways rural women’s land rights are actualized.
Sijie Ma is a researcher at the China Center for Human Rights Studies, Northwest University of Political Science and Law, and a lecturer in Constitutional Law and Supervision Law, at Northwestern University of Political Science and Law. She received a Ph.D. in Law from the University of Northwest (PhD thesis titled “Study on the Construction of the Legal System within the Communist Party of China“). In addition to legal education, she completed a master’s degree in international law with a specialization in Gender and human rights (University of Durham, UK). She has participated in the “Gender and Human Rights” teacher training program co-sponsored by Lund University in Sweden and China University of Political Science and Law in 2019 and has been teaching undergraduate and graduate courses on Gender and Human Rights since then. Her research and teaching focus on international human rights law, Chinese and comparative constitutional law, and CCP Intraparty Regulations.