Online guest lecture: Xunzi’s practical philosophy of governance; concepts of rites (li), law (fa) and social order and contemporary Chinese Party-State

On Monday 24 May 2021, Professor Matti Nojonen from the University of Lapland will give a guest lecture on the topic of ‘Xunzi’s practical philosophy of governance; concepts of rites (li), law (fa) and social order and contemporary Chinese Party-State’.

Time: 24 May, 14:15 – 15:45 Finnish time

Venue: Zoom

The lecture is open to all. However, registration is required to receive the Zoom meeting information.

We kindly ask you to register by 20 May by completing the following electronic form:

https://www.lyyti.in/Guest_lecture_Xunzis_practical_philosophy_of_governance_concepts_of_rites_li_law_fa_and_social_order_and_contemporary_Chinese_PartyState_4973 

If you have any questions, please contact the Center’s Coordinator via ngoc.pham@helsinki.fi.

 

Background

This lecture has three overlapping layers focusing on the political/governance philosophy of Xunzi (荀子, ca. 310-237 B.C.) who was one of three so called grounding fathers of Confucianism. Firstly, Professor Nojonen will introduce the roots of Xunzi’s political philosophy, fundamental ideas and concepts whereafter he will focus on the dialectics and practice-related concepts of “rites/ritual/appropriate behavior” (li, ), law (fa) and the ideas of social order. In the second part of the lecture, Professor Nojonen will reflect contemporary governance ideas and practices of the Chinese Party-State through the “Xuncian” framework. The motivation for this analysis emerges from the systematic urge of the Party-State agents and academic community to learn from own tradition (so called “national learning” movement, guoxue国学, and new strive of finding learnings from Chinese wisdom, Zhongguo zhihui中国智慧). Eventually, in the third section he will illustrate how Xunzi’s ideas are seen and utilized in the academic community. Xunzi is sometimes thought of as a Legalist, or as a Confucian who moved toward Legalism. Xunzi’s ideas were not necessarily popular or openly praised by subsequent generations of Chinese thinkers, but his ideas on what were the elements and practice-related concepts of successful governance of society, the role and position of the individual in society have had an immense influence on the Chinese Imperial (and even contemporary) governance philosophy and practices.

About the speaker

Photo by Inka Hyvönen

Matti Nojonen is Professor of Chinese Culture and Society at the University of Lapland, Finland. He has been working on China for three decades on traditional and contemporary  Chinese philosophy, social, institutional and value base changes in China, institutional reform policy, traditional and current Chinese strategic thinking and Chinese over-seas direct investments (including the Belt and Road Initiative).

Professor Jason Chuah on the continuing development of maritime law in the PRC

Professor Ellen J. Eftestøl, 20 April 2021

On Tuesday 20 April 2021, Professor Jason Chuah from the City University of London gave a guest lecture on the topic of ‘An Inquiry into the Continuing Development of Maritime Law in the PRC’ at the Finnish China Law Center. The lecture was chaired and commented on by Ellen J. Eftestøl, Professor of Civil and Commercial Law at the University of Helsinki.

 

Professor Jason Chuah, 20 April 2021

Professor Chuah opened the lecture by giving an overview of the current status of maritime law and jurisprudence in the PRC. Since the jurisdiction of maritime courts was enlarged in 2016, there has been a generally high number of maritime court cases: over 95.000 between 2015 and 2017. More than 6.000 of these cases are foreign-related, meaning that in a lot of them, the parties choose an applicable law that is more advantageous to them than the Chinese. While the PRC courts generally respect the parties’ choice of applicable law, some courts use Chinese law to fill in legal gaps, which is conflicting with international principles. However, the Supreme People’s Court has issued a new guideline in 2020 that strongly advises courts not to fill in gaps with PRC law when dealing with pandemic-related cases. Furthermore, it is sometimes unclear how many countries are involved in one single contract. If the chosen law has no sufficient connection to the case, PRC courts may argue that the clause is unenforceable, unless it is explicitly exclusive. While in EU countries, the exclusivity of such clauses is presumed, that is not the case in the PRC, which sometimes leads to disputes between the parties and the Chinese courts.

Professor Chuah continued with a short comparison of the judicial systems in the PRC and the UK. Whereas in the UK, the guiding precedent doctrine binds judges to follow court decisions made by higher courts, the PRC has no such common law system. However, in 2020, China has issued new guidance that advises courts to apply principles and rules uniformly and follow previous court decisions to prevent conflicting decisions within the PRC. In 2000, the legislation law came into force, which is intended to help drive the modernization of PRC laws forward. It states that laws shall be made in compliance with the basic principles laid down in the constitution, and encourages a policy of „opening to the outside world“, which clearly shows China’s efforts to connect and align its judiciary with other countries.

Professor Chuah closed with a case study on the „bill of lading“, which is a document issued by a carrier of goods and that is the basis for ensuring that exporters receive payment and importers receive the merchandise. Usually, the bill, after it was given to the exporter, gets transferred to the buyer, who is often located in a foreign country. This procedure raises two main problems. The first one is the question of the „original“ document. In line with many other technological advances in the PRC, the bill of lading is nowadays often an electronic document instead of a paper. However, the Chinese maritime law is still very paper-oriented and does not adjust fast enough to these new devices. Professor Chuah emphasized the need to revise the PRC maritime law, starting with redefining the term of originality. The second challenge with the bill of lading is the right to sue. It is common practice internationally that with the transfer of the bill, one gives up their right to sue the carrier. However, some PRC courts have decided the opposite way. Professor Chuah explains this with the fact that the persons transferring the bill of lading are mostly exporters. China as an exporting country wants to protect its exporters and local businesses and therefore interprets the bill transfer differently in order to preserve the exporters’ right to sue. In conclusion, it is noticeable that the PRC has made enormous progress in terms of aligning its jurisprudence with international standards, even though it is not a party of the international conventions on maritime law. However, the PRC courts sometimes interpret international rules differently, which is mostly due to the different political and legal history as well as the fact that Chinese private rules are often hard to combine with international methods. It will be interesting to see if China will sign up to the Rotterdam rules and what impact that would have, since the rules are intended to be much more recognizing of technological advances and current shipping practices.

This blog post was written the Center’s intern, Johanna Fähnrich.

 

Introducing the Nordic Network on Chinese Thought

The Centre would like to inform its readers of the establishment of the new Nordic Network on Chinese Thought (NNCT) based at the University of Lapland. The NNCT is founded by Professor Matti Nojonen (University of Lapland), Dr. Jyrki Kallio (Finnish Institute of International Affairs) and Professor emeritus Torbjörn Lodén (University of Stockholm). The idea is to create an open and transparent platform that connects Nordic researchers on Chinese thought on a more regular basis than just once a year.

The network’s objective is to open discussion and dialogue on philosophical questions relating to China, as well as for sharing research ideas, papers, and manuscripts. It aims at bringing together not only senior scholars but also young researchers and students in the Nordic region who study or work on classical and modern Chinese philosophy and Chinese thought. The NNCT will also advance collaboration with prominent Chinese philosophers.

The activities of the NNCT include seminars, workshops, study events, and lectures in the field of Chinese thought on topics such as the role of concepts in traditional Chinese philosophy and thought. Through the network, scholars and students shall have the opportunity to expand their network and learn different approaches to Chinese thought from other members.

In this and next autumns, two new 5-credit courses on Chinese thoughts will be organized by the University of Lapland. They will deal with classical Chinese language and textual reading on classical Chinese philosophy.  The courses, one offered in Finnish and the other in English, will provide students with knowledge and insight into different fields of Chinese philosophy. Students in the courses are welcome to attend events of the NNCT.

The inaugural seminar of NNCT will be organized on the 20th of April, at 10 AM to 12 Noon (UTC + 3).

For further information, please visit https://www.ulapland.fi/EN/Webpages/Nordic-Network-on-Chinese-Thought

Introducing the Members of the Board of the China Law Center

We are happy to introduce that for the 2021-2024 term, the member institutions of the Finnish China Law Center are represented on the Board by:

The Chair of the Board is Professor Pia Letto-Vanamo, Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Helsinki. The Deputy Chair is Matti Nojonen, Professor of Chinese Culture and Society, University of Lapland.

Read more about the Center’s Board Members below.

Professor, LL.D. Pia Letto-Vanamo is a legal historian and comparative lawyer specialized in European legal history, history of European integration, Nordic legal culture(s) and transnational law. Currently she is working as Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Helsinki. Professor Letto-Vanamo is the research director at the Faculty of Law, University of Helsinki since 2012. She is member of the advisory board, Centre for Legal Cultural Studies, University of Copenhagen since 2008; member of the Board, Aleksanteri Institute since 2011; member of the Board, Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies at the University of Helsinki since 2014; and member of the Board of Federation of Finnish Learned Societies since 2016.

Professor Kimmo Nuotio is a renowned legal scholar with Chinese collaboration experience. He is currently the Professor of Criminal Law at University of Helsinki and is chairing the Strategic Research Council. He also has experience in collaboration with Chinese scholars and working with Chinese materials, including several seminars given at Chinese universities and academic institutions, as well as a journal article on comparative perspectives between Finnish and Chinese law — “the transformation of criminal law and criminal law theory in Finland and China”. He also recently edited a book concerning the Belt and Road Initiative — “Normative Readings of the Belt and Road Initiative”. He was also appointed as a member of Peking University Law School’s new Global Faculty in 2018.

Petri Kuoppamaki is Professor of Business Law at Aalto University Business School in Helsinki, Finland, and CEO of Competition Consulting Europe. His prior roles include Professor of Competition Law at University of Helsinki, Vice President Legal & IP at Nokia, Partner at Castrén & Snellman Attorneys, Investigator at European Commission, and Lawyer at Nordic Law. Prof. Kuoppamaki holds a Doctor of Laws (LL.D.) in Competition Law, EU Law, and Law & Economics from University of Helsinki.

 

Kari Hoppu is Professor of Business Law at Aalto University School of Business. His research focus is in contract, securities and marketing law. Hoppu has been a member or chairman of several Boards, i.e. Securities Complaints Board, Arbitration Institute of the Finland Chamber of Commerce, Redemption Committee of the Finland Chamber of Commerce, Board of Business Practice and Board of Trading Practices in the Food Supply Chain.

 

Dr. Ulla-Maija Mylly is currently Senior Research Fellow at University of Turku, faculty of law and Senior Project researcher at Hanken School of Economics (Helsinki). She was a TIAS postdoctoral researcher at the University of Turku 2017-2019. She did her first LL.M. at University of Turku and the second at Kyushu University, Japan (International Trade and Business Law). Ulla-Maija has earlier worked among others as a Senior Lecturer in Civil Law at the Faculty of Law and in various research positions at the Turku School of Economics and as a practicing lawyer. She is trained on the bench. August 2017 – July 2018 she was a Visiting Research Fellow at Oxford Intellectual Property Research Center.

Veli Matti Virolainen is Professor of Supply Management at LUT School of Business and Management. He has held several positions of trust including Member of Academy of Technical Sciences in Finland (2014 onwards), Member of association Finnish parliament members and researchers (2013 onwards), President of International Purchasing & Supply Education & Research Association (2012-2014), President of the International Federation of Production Research (2015 – 2019), and Member of Collegiate body of LUT (2017-2020). Professor Virolainen was also the founder and academic leader of Purchasing and Supply Management Programme.

Onerva-Aulikki Suhonen (LL.M., M.Sc.) works as a lecturer in civil law at the UEF Law School. Her teaching focuses on transnational commercial law and comparative law and supervision of commercial law theses. In her Ph.D. research, Suhonen studies the regulatory framework applicable to cross-border commercial contracts and analyses the development of transnational commercial contract law doctrine.

 

Katja Lindroos is Professor of Commercial Law at UEF Law School. Her research focuses on emerging markets and the evolving regulatory framework for commerce. She concentrates on the role of law and trade in shaping the global economy, which directly impacts national and regional economies. Professor Lindroos has published widely on issues regarding internet, intellectual property rights, and food law.

 

Matti Nojonen, Professor of Chinese culture and society at Univerity of Lapland, Finland. Nojonen has been working on China for three decades on traditional and contemporary  Chinese philosophy, social, institutional and value base changes in China, institutional reform policy, traditional and current Chinese strategic thinking and Chinese over-seas direct investments (including Belt and Road Initiative).

 

Jukka Viljanen is Professor of Public Law at the Tampere University, Finland. He is a Member of Finnish Human Rights Delegation (2020-2024) and an expert before the Constitutional Law Committee of Finnish Parliament (since 2004 onwards). He was a member of Ministry of Justice working group that modified the Section 10 of the Finnish Constitution in 2015-2016. Professor Viljanen is currently leading a project funded by the Strategic Research Council under Academy of Finland called ALL-YOUTH and its subproject Resolving legal obstacles (2018-2023). He is also responsible leader of EVOLUTIVE- research project on impact of the Council of Europe Human Rights treaties (2021-22).

Dr. Matti Urpilainen is docent of tax law and has been working as a Senior Lecturer in Tax Law atTampere University, Faculty of Management and Business since 2012. His research interests include international tax law, EU tax law, and Finnish tax system.

 

 

Johanna Niemi is Professor and Professor of procedural law, University of Turku. Before joining the faculty in Turku she served as vice dean (education) at University of Helsinki. She has worked as a professor at Umeå University and as visiting professor at Lund University and been Fulbright scholar at University of Wisconsin. She is Doctor Honoris Causa at Uppsala University 2010. Professor Niemi’s research interests include criminal procedure, consumer insolvency, human rights and the construction of gender in legal discourses. She has led several socio-legal research projects. Some of her publications include Niemi et al (eds), International Law and Violence against Women: Europe and the Istanbul Convention, 2020; Nousiainen et al. (eds), Responsible Selves. Women in the Nordic Legal Culture, 2001.

Lauri Paltemaa is Professor of East Asian Contemporary History and Politics and the Director of the Department of Philosophy, Contemporary History and Political Science as well as the Centre for East Asian Studies at the University of Turku. He is also the Chair of the Finnish University Network of Asian Studies. His recent publications include Managing Famine, Flood and Earthquake in China – Tianjin 1958-85 published in 2016 by Routledge, and Lyhyt johdatus Kiinan historiaan (A Short Introduction to Chinese History (2018). His recent articles have appeared in journals such as Information, Communication and Society, The China Journal, China Information and The Modern Asian Studies. His research interests include Chinese internet politics, governance, disaster management and disaster politics, social movements and contemporary history.

Dr. Kati Nieminen (MA, LLD) is a post-doctoral researcher at the Institute for Criminology and Legal Policy at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki. Her research focuses on legal policy and legislative studies, as well as access to justice. Lately she has published articles on discrimination, minority rights, and evidence based policy and is currently affiliated with the Academy of Finland Strategic Research project “Silent agents affected by legislation: from an insufficient knowledge base to inclusive solutions” (SILE). In her teaching she promotes empirical and socio-legal approaches to law.

DIGITAL LECTURE SERIES: Current Affairs in China

The Centre would like to inform its readers of four Digital Lectures on Current Affairs in China, hosted by international scholars on different pressing issues and development of the Chinese society. These lectures are organized as part of the Chinese Study Program at UiB (Department of Foreign Languages).

China’s rise as a powerful economic and political power has made it both a strategic partner and a systemic rival to Europe particularly because while some praise China’s efficiency in implementing political priorities, others criticize its authoritarian political system that aggressively suppresses any kind of dissent.

These lectures will explore the contradicting characters of Chinese politics, economy and society and other relevant issues of our time. For effective cooperation, now and future, it is essential that we understand the country and learn how to communicate with its people. This includes topics that vary from climate change to digital economy and many more. The lectures are open to students, staff, and the broader public as well; to learn about Chinese society and to engage in discussions.

17th March  (12–13.30): BUILDING STATE CAPACITY

Christian Göbel (Chair of China Studies at the University of Vienna) speaks on how repression has increased under Xi Jinping, but more importantly so has online participation. It is vital to understand how the regime uses public participation to monitor local officials, while at the same time cracking down on activities that had been tolerated previously.

This lecture is funded by the European Research Council.

https://www.uib.no/en/fremmedsprak/142402/building-state-capacity

24TH March  (12–13.30): ACCOUNTABILITY OF CORPORATE ACTORS

Constantin Holzer (a postdoc at the Department of Asian Studies at Cork University College) will speak on the paradigmatic and regulatory shift from ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ to ‘Corporate Social Credit System’ and its wider consequences on state-business relationships and entrepreneurs in China. The rise of the digital economy, the current leadership and the regulation of behavior, a threat to companies’ autonomy or new opportunities and legal security.

https://www.uib.no/en/fremmedsprak/142403/accountability-corporate-actors

14TH April  (12–13.30): GRAPPLING WITH THE CRISIS

Professor Yang Laike (Dean of the Department of International Economics at East China Normal University) expands on the Covid-19 pandemic’s effects on China’s foreign trade and national economic development and its potential progress in 2021 and 2022. The pandemic has, amongst other things, disrupted the global supply chains and dragged the global economy and the repercussions were and will be felt in all economic and societal sectors.

https://www.uib.no/en/fremmedsprak/142404/grappling-crisis

21ST April  (12–13.30): CLAIMING LABOUR RIGHTS

Daniel Fuchs (a postdoc at the Department of Asian and African Studies at Humboldt University) based on his long-term fieldwork in China, provides insights into migrant labour unrest’s current characteristic that can be felt in the country currently as well as situates them within the history of worker protests in reform China.

https://www.uib.no/en/fremmedsprak/142405/claiming-labor-rights

If you have questions regarding the lectures, please contact Julia Marinaccio: Julia.Marinaccio@uib.no

This blog post was written by one of the Center’s interns, Sukhman Gill. Sukhman is from Finland but did her LL.B in England. She is currently doing a Master’s in International Business Law at the University of Helsinki and a M.Sc. in Economics and Business Administration at Hanken School of Economics. She is particularly interested in Comparative Law, Cross-Border Transactions and Intellectual Property Law.

Interview with Michael Ristaniemi on his dissertation about antitrust – Part II

Michael Ristaniemi, 2019. / © SEPPO SAMULI

This is Part II of the interview with Michael Ristaniemi. In Part I we discussed his background and motivation for the dissertation. In this part we will dive deeper into the actual contents of the dissertation and Michael’s reflection on recent developments in antitrust globally with some comparative thoughts.

Did anything surprise you as you worked on the thesis? 

To be frank a lot of stuff surprised me and its more of a question what to emphasize. The first clear thing that was interesting to realize is that many things are so interrelated. When you are doing research as a student for your Master’s thesis and then for your PhD you are focusing on a very narrow niche. One major aha-moment for myself was realizing how this niche is really linked to many other areas and how they inter-develop. For instance, one article in my dissertation covered the fact that whatever the major economic powers of the globe think about cooperating really shapes how international competition can develop in practice. For example, the preference of how the US to cooperate bilaterally or multilaterally affects many things globally, including what I covered in my dissertation.

Currently there is a lack of  a strong political will to cooperate multilaterally. In some extent China isn’t representative of that. They have their own multilateral agreements that are outside the ones that we are used to seeing in Western countries. But the trend that is seen generally across international law to patch the lack of political cooperation is the rise of so-called trans-governmental networks. They are not on the political level but rather authorities of different countries cooperating very closely. It has led to technocratic international governance as opposed to political level international law in a way. This in fact has a really strong impact, both positive and negative.

A second memorable point I want to mention is the ignorance of history in competition law. I think most people aren’t aware of the origin of competition law in the EU or the US. Nowadays it has been more about using modern-day economic theory to improve consistency of competition law application. This is important, but there is perhaps something to learn in how competition law started independently in both places (EU and US). Competition law is a response to the allergy towards too much economic and political dominance by companies and was a way to manage that dominance. It is something we are seeing a need for with the digital economy. A lot of the discussions that are being had today in competition law circles wouldn’t be all that different if we go back to the 1950s or even 30s.

We found the point you made in your thesis:” The EU has taken a much more interventionist approach than the American, or Chinese agencies have towards unilateral conduct of key digital platform firms, such as Amazon, Google, and WeChat” extremely interesting. Could you talk a bit more about China’s position? 

The general trend when I was writing my dissertation was that the EU was sort of the outlier by being interventionist to the extent it has been. Since I have finished my dissertation the US has brought two big lawsuits against both FB and Google, and China has published a draft revision to its anti-monopoly law (the Chinese competition law) and also drafted guidelines concerning the platform economy. Therefore, the tide is changing. I have to say I am not a huge expert on the application of Chinese competition law, but what I can say is that competition law is very new in China. The first competition law was enacted in only 2008. What they have been doing is mostly capacity building since then.

And regarding the huge fines that digital companies have faced in Europe, that is more of an exception than a rule. I can’t say what the reason is for the lenient treatment in China of giant digital companies. Nevertheless, what is clear is that the treatment has indeed been lenient compared to Europe. In the US, the treatment has been lenient because of a differing interpretation of relevant economics, which emphasizes size as a source of efficiency gains that consumers benefit from. The role of personal data is key in digital services.

That’s where you can tie in China. We know that the privacy discussion differs in China. The concept of privacy is different in the Chinese context and that the discussion around human rights, in general, is very different in China compared to the EU or the US. The differing treatment between the Chinese and Europeans may partially be a result of a different appreciation of the concept of personal data privacy, that’s at least a part of it. As I mentioned, in China there are interesting developments now underway during this year. There is going to be something more specific but currently, they are still at the draft guidelines stage for the platform economy and also a draft revision to their relevant competition law, as I mentioned earlier. These changes to the anti-monopoly law would enable their authorities – the SAMR –  to better tackle these huge digital companies.

You mentioned visiting China University of Political Science and Law, in Beijing during your research and wrote: “I got some important insights into the Chinese perspectives relative to my research”. Could you tell us a bit more about this?

I’ll start with the bigger picture to give some context. Since my theme was international competition law I did try to visit places abroad during my one and half year study leave. I actually managed to stay most of the time of my study leave abroad. I  spent one academic year at University of California, Berkeley after which I was in Brussels as a visiting researcher at Vrije Universiteit Brussel for a few months and then also, as you mentioned, in Beijing at the China-EU Law School.

Beijing was great actually, it was by chance that I noticed the scholarship that was circulated through our law school’s researcher email list. The China-EU Law School is a very interesting institution. It is partially funded by the EU and it’s within the larger university that is only dedicated to political science and law.  I understood it is highly regarded in China and it was a great experience to be part of it.

First of all, just the fact that they had an amazing legal library was great. Although there isn’t that much at the end of the day about Chinese competition law in English, mostly probably because of competition law is relatively new as mentioned earlier. I also enjoyed really good discussions with scholars and law students about their idea of economic law and policy. A highlight was when I got to discuss with, Hao Qian, one of the university’s associate professors who was actually involved in creating the anti-monopoly law in China. She told me about the cooperation that the Chinese had with Americans and Europeans when creating the anti-monopoly legislation. If I recall correctly the law resembles EU competition law on paper more than the US counterpart since Europeans were more willing to assist and provide technical assistance in the preparation phase than the Americans. Of course, how it is enforced and applied varies always country by country. But a very interesting discussions all in as a part of the visit.

What are you planning on now after the doctoral degree?

Well I work as VP, Sustainability at Metsä Group and  I am continuing with that for the time being. It is a great platform to learn about management and sustainability. I’m also writing and researching related topics in a couple ongoing projects, and I am a collaborator in a project that just received funding from the Academy of Finland on crisis preparedness and the security of supply. To put it all in one sentence: right now the focus is economic law and policy, businesses as societal actors and the practical and academic opportunities there may be relating to these topics. But otherwise, we will see, who knows.

Michael and another PhD student, Juho Saloranta at China-EU School of Law

The interview and report were done by the Center’s intern, Mr. Jakub Pichna. Jakub is a Master’s student at the University of Helsinki’s International Business Law program with a BSc. in Economics and Business Administration from the University of Turku.

Interview with Michael Ristaniemi on his dissertation about antitrust – Part I

Michael Ristaniemi, 2019. / © SEPPO SAMULI

Michael Ristaniemi, currently the VP, Sustainability at Metsä Group, has defended his dissertation titled International Antitrust: Toward upgrading coordination and enforcement on 31 October 2020. Professor Petri Kuoppamäki, a Board member of the Finnish China Law Center was one of the examiners and public opponents. Michael’s dissertation has a very interesting chapter on international antitrust on how the three economic superpowers the USA, the EU, and China approach international antitrust, and the possibility to enhance international cooperation. Therefore, the Center would like to take the opportunity to further discuss the dissertation, Michael’s stay in Beijing at the China University of Political Science and Law and his future plans. In Part I of the interview, Michael’s background and his motivation for writing about antitrust are discussed. Part II will cover the dissertation more concretely.

Could you tell us a bit about your background?

I am Finnish-American but I have lived most of my life in Finland. I was born and raised in Espoo but then moved to study law at the University of Turku. During my student years, I had a bit of an international mix: I did two semesters abroad, one in California and one in Thailand, and an internship in Washington DC at the law firm Morgan Lewis (previously known as Bingham McCutchen). I focused my studies on business law and since graduating in 2011 I’ve worked in the private sector primarily as an in-house counsel in international Finnish companies. In 2012, quite shortly after I graduated I started a PhD project on the side, and then I took a year and a half study leave to focus on the dissertation which was a great period in between professional working life.

All in all, I would say my legal background is heavily impacted by having worked only in the private sector with commercial law and business law questions.

Could you tell us about your doctoral research? What is your motivation behind pursuing the topic? 

Besides focusing on business, I have always been interested in societal questions which is an interesting reason to study law in general: you get to study the rules of society and how everything works. From that perspective competition law is great for understanding society because it is essentially the rules of our market economy and the framework within which businesses function.

I started my deep dive into competition law early in my law school career. I wrote my bachelor’s and master’s theses in the realm of competition law so my dissertation was sort of a continuum.

I wrote my Master’s thesis on airline alliances in light of competition law. I found the topic peculiar in its nature; it is a very political sector when you think about it. The airline industry has rules that prevent merging. Without these political rules, there would be a lot fewer airlines in this world. Because airlines can’t merge they cooperate more closely than typical competitors in a more rules-free industry. For instance, airlines agree on pricing on a certain route.

With my dissertation, when mirroring it with what I had learned from my master’s thesis, I felt that this interplay of politics and competition law was a weird situation and it would be interesting to dive deeper into it through more general research. That’s basically how the topic was born. It also got a bit more energy through the work I was doing at Cargotec and then at Metsä Group, which are both international businesses, operating globally in global markets. Through my work, I came to contact with global markets. I could really see the current situation up close: you have many competition laws all around the world and authorities that don’t really cooperate that well. All this happens within a framework of rules that aren’t that consistent in how they are enforced. This creates a burden on businesses and is generally ineffective. I believe my work has a practical impact and is not only an academic consideration.

Michael at his his dissertation defence on 31 October 2020 with Professor Antti Aine (University of Turku) serving as custos and Professor Petri Kuoppamäki (Aalto University) as opponent

The interview and report were done by the Center’s intern, Mr. Jakub Pichna. Jakub is a Master’s student at the University of Helsinki’s International Business Law program with a BSc. in Economics and Business Administration from the University of Turku.

European China Law Studies Association to hold the 15th Annual Conference

When: 24- 26 September 2021

The 15th Annual Conference of the European China Law Studies Association (ECLS) will be hosted by the Polish Research Centre for Law and Economy of China and the University of Warsaw School of Law and Economy of China. Since the ECLS’s main objective is to encourage comparative and interdisciplinary research on Chinese law, the conference will be a platform for scholars and professionals to exchange their ideas about Chinese law and policies. The organizers hope for many contributions in form of papers and presentations on the general topic of China’s legal system and in particular its recent development.

Although there is no strict specification on the choice of topic, the organizers especially welcome submissions that concern the following themes:

  • Blockchain, big data & artificial intelligence in China
  • Sino-US trade war and its legal implications for Europe
  • Legal aspects of the Belt and Road Initiative
  • Codification of Laws in China
  • Rule of Law and Chinese Constitutionalism
  • Chinese and Comparative Labour Law
  • Legal Issues of Poland-China Relations
  • Chinese law and society
  • China’s new structure of Party and state
  • National supervision law and the new supervisory mechanism
  • New developments in China’s judicial reforms
  • China in the international legal order.

Call for abstracts:

The ECLS welcomes the submission of abstracts/ papers for presentation, as well as proposals for full panel sessions. Both abstracts (max. 300 words) and proposals for panel sessions (max.1000 words) should include the title of the paper; name, institution, and email address of the author(s); and up to five keywords. Proposals for panel sessions should furthermore include abstracts of all proposed papers as well as a short integrative statement explaining the theme of the panel (all in one document).

Proposals for panels on recently published books are welcomed as well and are required to include a short explanation of the book’s importance and brief biographies of the participants.

Alternate formats of presentation as well as the participation of young researchers are also encouraged.

Proposals should be submitted online; the submission form can be found here: http://chinalaw.wpia.uw.edu.pl/ecls-annual-conference/. All proposals will be subject to peer-review by the organizing committees. The deadline for submissions of abstracts and panel proposals is 30 May 2021, and the deadline for submission of full papers is 6 September 2021.

All questions and suggestions can be addressed to eclswarsaw@wpia.uw.edu.pl.

This blog post was written by one of the Center’s interns, Johanna Fähnrich. Johanna is an exchange student from Germany. She will be studying law at the University of Helsinki until next summer and recently joined the team of the China Law Center because she is interested in learning about different legal systems and comparing them to each other.

Conference on China´s Rise/Asia´s Responses

When: 10-11 June 2021

The 15th Biennial Conference of the Nordic Association for China Studies (NACS) and Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS)’s 14th Annual Nordic NIAS Council Conference will be organized as a joint virtual conference named “China´s Rise/Asia´s Responses”. The theme of the conference is broad and interdisciplinary. The conference seeks understanding about China´s rising influence in Asia and responses to that by different Asian countries. One of the topics of the conference is Politics and Law so legal researchers are welcomed to participate. Participants can share findings about the occurring and perception of China´s rise and reactions by different Asian states and social actors. The organizers are particularly hoping for interdisciplinary approaches.

The online conference will include keynotes, panels, roundtables and possible other formats, for which suggestions are welcome. Self-organized panels are strongly encouraged. Informal discussions and networking are not to be forgotten either. Participants can be scholars and doctoral candidates in social sciences and humanities. Keynote speakers of the conference include Professor of International Relations, William A. Callahan from London School of Economics, Associate Professor Camilla T. N. Sørensen from Royal Danish Defence College, and Professor Mette Halskov Hansen from University of Oslo.

Call for abstracts: The organizers are inviting proposals for panels, roundtables, and individual papers. Please send individual paper abstracts (max. 250 words), or a panel abstract (max. 300 words) in addition to 250-word abstracts for contributing papers by email to nacsnnc@helsinki.fi by 2pm, 25 January 2021. Abstracts should include name, title/position, email address and institutional affiliation.

Additionally, a two-day PhD workshop will take place before the conference. The workshop gathers promising PhD students concentrating on various Asian related topics. Students will get to present their works and get feedback from senior scholars. For detailed information about the PhD workshop and application instructions, please visit https://www.helsinki.fi/en/beta/chinas-riseasias-responses/phd-workshop. Deadline for applications is 25 January 2021.

More about the conference can be found at https://www.helsinki.fi/en/beta/chinas-riseasias-responses/about

This blog post was written by the Center’s interns, Elias Jakala. Elias is a sixth year law student at the University of Helsinki. He is a Bachelor of Law and trying to graduate as a Master of Law at the end of this semester. In addition to his studies, he works part-time at Attorneys Kuhanen, Asikainen & Kanerva Oy dealing mainly with real estate law. He has a special interest in Chinese law and society. The subject of his master´s thesis concerns attempts to bring German civil law into Chinese legal system at the end of the 19th century and in the beginning of the 20th century. 

 

 

Prof. Kimmo Nuotio giving guest lecture on Criminal Law as Transnational Law at PKU Law School

On 17 November 2020, Professor Kimmo Nuotio, Board Member of the China Law Center joined the 2020 Fall Semester Online PKU Law School Distinguished Global Faculty lecture series. The lecture series aims to further the internationalization of PKU Law School and foster global awareness among law students beyond the confinement of national boundaries.

Professor Nuotio contributed to the series with a presentation on “Criminal Law as Transnational Law”.

If international criminal law is a concept already relatively well-known, the concept of transnational criminal law is still a relatively new one. Neil Boister has proposed an understanding that whereas international criminal law proper is based on values and principles, the transnational criminal law only is about state’s collaborating in addressing issues of cross-border criminality. Accordingly, transnational criminal law deals with international illegal market, where criminal activities often are organised and run for profit. Transnational criminal law deals with a rather scattered set of topics, and the aim is to strengthen the enforcement of the agreed norms by means of international treaties. In his talk, Professor Nuotio presented this scene and discussed the problems in the creation of transnational criminal law, as the most powerful states have had a biggest say in the drafting of such treaties. As a result, transnational criminal law of today has some problematic features, which should be addressed: it should be enlightened. He also talked about how we could relate an enlightened version of transnational criminal law with law and development studies. Finally, he examined if and how transnational criminal law could be transformed and become a genuine global criminal law.

Professor Genlin Liang and Professor Su Jiang from PKU Law School acted as commenters for Professor Nuotio’s lecture. The lecture received positive feedback from PKU Law students who found his topic very interesting, especially regarding transnational criminal law.

CHINA LAW WEEK 2020 SESSION 4: REFORM AND EMERGING ISSUES IN CHINESE PRIVATE LAW AND THE COURT SYSTEM

Chair of the session, Professor Jukka Mähönen, 23 October 2020

The China Law Week 2020 closed with a session on “Reform and Emerging issues in Chinese Private Law and the Court System”. It was chaired by Jukka Mähönen, Professor of Cooperative Law at the University of Helsinki and Professor of Law at the University of Oslo.

 

Professor Jin Haijun speaking on “Legal Reform and the New Chinese Civil Code: An Introduction”, 23 October 2020

In the first presentation, Professor Jin Haijun from Renmin University gave a brief insight into the Chinese newly made civil law codification. The new Chinese Civil Code was adopted in May 2020 and will be effective from the beginning of next year. Even though the Civil Code is new, Professor Haijun emphasized that most parts of its legislation are not new. For instance, already existing corporative law was basically incorporated in the new civil code. According to Professor Haijun, intellectual property rules were a hot topic during the drafting of the code. Professor Juha Karhu from the University of Lapland commented on the presentation by mentioning for example the way that the code was built putting together different pieces.

Professor Juha Karhu speaking on “Nordic Perspective on the New Chinese Civil Code”, 23 October 2020

Professor Karhu then proceeded with his presentation on the Nordic perspective on the new Chinese Civil Code. Some civil codes of the modern time were discussed, and their economic, political, and cultural background were explored to see why and how the codes were born. The presenter talked about the French Civil Code, the German “Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch”, the situation in the US, and the Chinese Civil Code 2020. Notably, the Chinese Civil Code is based on the economic rise with the opening-up policy and the socialist market economy. The Code also shows Chinese characteristics. It is inspired by various legal systems, but the systematic nature is based on the endemic questions in China.

Dr. Kangle Zhang speaking on “Emerging Issues in Chinese Finance & Business Law”, 23 October 2020

The third presentation was given by Dr. Kangle Zhang from Peking University Law School about emerging issues in Chinese finance & business law. In Dr. Zhang’s opinion, China is moving towards financial liberalization. There is a trend of providing necessary capital and offering the customers better returns than bank deposits. The establishment of Shanghai pilot free trade zone helps ease legal burden for trading and financial purposes.

 

Dr. Wei Qian speaking on “Do Positive Disability Policies Promote Social Inclusion of the Disabilities in China?”, 23 October 2020

The fourth presentation was held by Dr. Wei Qian from the China University of Labour Relations, School of Labour Relations and Human Resources. The pandemic raised a number of issues where the group of disabled elderly people were particularly affected. Local governments in China were fast to enact new policy, and set disabled people, as well as children and elderly people as priority groups that will receive special attention in any big crisis. Dr. Qian talked about how disability policies in China promote the social inclusion of disabled people and how the policies changed under the current Covid-19 situation.

Professor Björn Ahl speaking on “Chinese Court Reforms and their Impact on Decision Making”, 23 October 2020

The last presentation of the day and the China Law Week was held by Björn Ahl, Professor and Chair of Chinese Legal Culture at the University of Cologne. He outlined the Chinese court reforms and their impact on decision making. According to Professor Ahl, there has been a contradiction in the reform dynamics between law and the political context within the judicial reform in China. This reform can be seen from a political context where there has been an enhanced dominant party state with violations of human rights. On the other hand, reform of the legal institutions has taken place where judges enjoy more autonomy in decision making to an extent that they never have been.

 

With 19 chairs and speakers from 7 countries and over 70 participants from 15 countries, the China Law Week 2020 had connected people with interest in Chinese law and legal culture from all over the world. Offering presentations and discussions on a broad spectrum of topics, the event had provided a valuable opportunity to learn more about the latest developments in the world of Chinese law.

The Finnish China Law Center would like to thanks the chairs, speakers, and participants conference for having made the China Law Week 2020 a resounding success. We hope to see you again in the Nordic China Law Week 2021!

 

The Center would like to thank our interns, Elias Jakala, Anwar Al-Hamidi, Anqi Xiang, Annette Rapo, and Johanna Fähnrich for contributing text for this article.