The conference was a resounding success, with 27 panels and 2 roundtables delving into a wide array of topics crucial to Chinese law development as well as teaching of Chinese law in Europe and European academic co-operation with China.
The result of the Call for Papers for the 17th Annual Conference of the European China Law Studies Association has been sent to all participants. If you have submitted an abstract/proposal, please check your email inbox and spam/junk folder just in case the email has been filtered there.
A large number of abstracts/proposals were submitted, and we were very impressed with the quality and diversity of the papers we received. We would like to extend our gratitude to all the participants for their interest and contributions.
If you have been accepted to present your paper, congratulations! We look forward to your presentation during the conference. If, your paper was not selected, please do not feel discouraged. The selection committee reviewed a considerable amount of excellent submissions this year, of which we were only able to select a certain portion for the conference. We encourage you to continue your research and try again next time.
On 25 October 2021, the Finnish China Law Center held an online mini seminar on the topic of ‘Smart Courts and the Informatization of China’s Judicial System’. The event is part of the Center’s new mini seminar series on topical issues of Chinese law.
The seminar began with a presentation by Björn Ahl, Professor and Chair of Chinese Legal Culture at the University of Cologne on ‘The Development of Chinese Smart Courts within the Broader Context of Judicial Reform’. He remarked that as China is currently at the forefront of technical and digital development, its experience in smart courts and judicial reform would be a good subject for comparative study.
Professor Ahl started with an introduction on the description of smart courts. In a smart court, litigation activities are carried out online with limited human interference. Software applications, algorithms and big-data analytics are used to support the judicial process. He noted that the smart courts form a small part of the overall policy toward judicial informalization. The objective of judicial informatization and smart courts is to create a more just and fairer judiciary, more consistent adjudication and better monitoring and supervision of cases. Professor Ahl also gave some examples of the applications utilized in smart courts including systems that can automatically draw analogy between similar cases to provide in-depth materials and guidance in decision-making for judges to review and those that to systems that can process and cross-examine case texts and parties’ information to determine if there are any overlapping procedures.
The second presentation titled ‘The Rise of Smart Courts in China: A Pathway to E-justice in the Digital Age?’ was given by Wen Xiang, Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Copenhagen. He explained that the reason behind the need for smart courts in China is the sharp increase of cases which places heavy burden on judges. Since 2013, China has initiated the informatization of courts. Internet courts were established in Hangzhou (2017), Beijing (2018) and Guangzhou (2018). Professor Xiang then gave a brief introduction of four of the techniques that have been employed in smart courts including electronic case-filing, remote trial, online mediation platform and electronic delivery system. He stated that smart courts have the potential to promote quality of justice, improve judicial efficiency, provide convenience for the people, and build judicial big data system.
In their presentations, both Professors expressed concerns regarding potential bias in algorithms in smart courts, possible inaccuracy in algorithm-based and data-based decision-making mechanisms, uncertainties about the influence of private developers on the deliver of justice, lack of guideline on data security and protection of privacy, and unequal access to technology.
On 11-12 October 2021, the China Law Center together with Faculty of Law at the University of Helsinki and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) organized the 11th Sino-Finnish Bilateral Seminar on Comparative Law. This year, the seminar was centered around the theme of Sustainable Development and Role of Regulation.
The seminar began with opening words from Professor Pia Letto-Vanamo, the Dean of the Faculty of Law and Chair of the Board of the Finnish China Law Center, and Professor Mo Jihong, Director of CASS Law Institute. Both emphasized the significance of sustainability to society and development as well as the role of the seminar as a platform to exchange knowledge and broaden the understanding of the legal systems in China, Finland and Europe and how each tackles essential and also very complex issues in sustainable development and regulation. During the opening ceremony, Professor Björn Ahl, President of the European China Law Studies Association and Visiting Professor at the University of Helsinki, shared his thoughts and experience on the challenges and opportunities of research of Chinese law in Europe.
The first session of the seminar dealt with sustainable development and role of regulation. The session began with a presentation by Associate Professor Li Xia on ‘Transformation of Regulatory Objectives and Methods in Risk Society: A Case Study of Safety Regulation in Hazardous Chemicals Industry’. Assistant Professor Lin Xiaoxiao next addressed the general clauses in the Chinese Tort Law and Civil Code on environmental tort issues, punitive compensation and responsibility for environmental damages. Next, Professor Matti Nojonen discussed a different interpretation of Chinese tradition on self, freedom and humaneness as societal process. Finally, Professor Pia Letto talked about difficulties of legal comparisons. Especially challenging is the comparison between European and non-European legal systems and institutions.
The second session covered sustainable business models and their regulation. In his presentation, Professor Zhao Lei looked into three dimensions of the revision of Chinese Corporate Law including its functions, practices, and position in coordination with other laws. Professor Jukka Mähönen gave an overview of the EU business regulation and sustainable finance initiative as tools to activise sustainable business through his presentation titled ‘Sustainability in European Union Business Regulation’. Assistant Professor Tang Linyao discussed the commercial and legal prospects of privacy-by-design, taking privacy-preserving computation regulation as an example. Lastly, Dr Heli Korkka-Knuts explored the role of behavioural regulatory design in optimization of corporate crime prevention and support of global sustainability transformation.
The third session focused on environment protection, rights and regulatory approaches. Professor Liu Hongyan talked about the inclusion of ecological civilization to the amendment of the Constitution and new development of environmental rule by law in China. Dr. Seita Romppanen discussed the role of law in sustainability transitions and identidied avenues for further legal research on the role of law in sustainability transitions. Next, Assistant Professor Yue Xiaohua presented the regulation path and implementation mechanism of green consumption in China while Dr. Tiina Paloniitty assessed the role of environmental law and governance as a core of sustainability law.
The last session of the seminar covered decent work and the protection of platform workers in China, Finland and EU. This session saw two presentations: one from Professor Ulla Liukkunen under the title ‘Fundamental Labour Rights and Platform Work – A Cross-border Perspective’ and the other from Associate Professor Wang Tianyu under the title ‘Toward the Tripartite Laws of Labor – A Chinese Solution for the Protection of
Platform Workers’ Rights and Interests’.
The China Law Center is pleased to announce the launch of a new mini seminar series on topical issues of Chinese law. The series gathers esteemed scholars to present and discuss current issues, trends and challenges in different topics of Chinese law and legal culture.
The series aims to deepen knowledge on specific topics of Chinese law and legal culture and provide a chance for discussion with experts from the field. It also seeks to encourage students and young scholars with passion for Chinese law and legal culture to further learn about the latest information related to the their subject of interest and research.
The events are free of charge and open for anyone with an interest in Chinese law and legal culture.
The first three seminars will address different aspects of Chinese smart courts and judicial system (October 2021), labour law (November 2021) and IP law (Spring 2022). The IP law seminar will be organized in cooperation with IPR University Center.
The programmes of the events will soon be published on the Center’s web page and social media.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
The China Law Week 2020 continued with the third session on “New Challenges for China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)”. It was chaired by Björn Ahl, who is Professor and Chair of Chinese Legal Culture at the University of Cologne and Visiting Professor at the University of Helsinki.
Julie Yu-Wen Chen, Professor of Chinese Studies and Director of the Confucius Institute at the Faculty of Arts at the University of Helsinki, gave the first presentation. Professor Chen talked about the localized approach in understanding One Belt One Road (OBOR)’s impacts. Her presentation covered two parts: the problems of China-centric approaches when studying the BRI’s actual impacts and the theoretical framework. Professor Chen uses the strategic action field (SAF) for her BRI research, which she defined as a “socially constructed arena” where actors constantly pull and haul their interests on a particular space and issue due to their contentious or unclear nature.
The session continued with a presentation by Professor Ronald C. Brown. Professor Brown centered his presentation on China’s BRI in Central Eastern European Countries, through the concept of 17+1. The main issue here is whether the 17+1 concept helps China to connect with the EU or whether it divides it or could lead to a pathway to EU-China “pre-trade agreement”. BRI gains connectivity to China and maximizes economic growth opportunities but the questions of who is more important (EU or China) for 17+1 countries and who to give loyalty to if there is a conflict linger.
Professor Jin Haijun from Renmin University held the next presentation with the title “An Overview of Intellectual Property Protection and Cooperation under the BRI”. He emphasized that China has launched several initiatives such as the Digital Economy International Cooperation Initiative and the Joint Statement on Pragmatic Cooperation in the Field of Intellectual Property for the BRI countries. China has further opted to include IP provisions in the Civil Code. It also has specialized IP courts and tribunals. China has also placed special attention on constant reforms for IP action, protection and cooperation among BRI countries, and patent court system reforms.
Associate Professor Yifeng Chen from the Peking University Law School followed with a presentation about transnational labour protection and the BRI. He highlighted the labour dimension of the BRI and introduced different approaches to incorporate labour into the BRI. They are: using the ILO conventions and encouraging ratification, promoting ILO fundamental labour rights protection, incorporating labour into international economic arrangement, and encouraging corporate social responsibility.
In the fifth presentation, Professor Matti Nojonen from the University of Lapland discussed China’s Arctic Policy and the “Polar Silk Road” Initiative. A few years ago, China introduced the “Polar Silk Road” Initiative. China has been involved in Arctic affairs and the Nordic economy for decades, which makes it easy for most states to adjust to the new project. Of course, there are still a lot of challenges to face. The project must be adjusted to local circumstances such as the existing national law and all involved countries and companies have to reach agreements on specific strategies.
The session closed with a panel discussion under the motto “What are the emerging challenges of the BRI?”
The Center would like to thank our interns, Sukhman Gill, Elias Jakala, Li Yuan, Anwar Al-Hamidi, Anqi Xiang, Annette Rapo, and Johanna Fähnrich for contributing text for this article.
The second session of the China Law Week 2020 was held under the theme “Chinese Labour Law in International and Comparative Perspectives”. The Chair of the session was Professor Ninon Colneric, former Judge at the Court of Justice of the European Communities and Co-Dean at the China-EU School of Law at the China University of Political Science and Law.
Sean Cooney, Professor of Law at Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne held the first presentation on labour and employment law challenges of digital platform-based employment. These platforms provide flexibility and opportunities for the workers and convenience for the consumers. However, empirical studies show that this new method of organizing labour is not without problem. The main questions addressed during the presentation are: should the workers be treated as employees, what collective bargaining should be allowed, how do the workers access social protection systems, and what methods are used for dispute resolution.
The second presentation by Ulla Liukkunen, Professor of Labour Law and Private International Law at the University of Helsinki and Director of the Finnish China Law Center was entitled “International Employment Contracts in China – the Influence of Labour Law and Private International Law (PIL) Trends”. The presentation discussed Chinese PIL and cross-border labour questions about international employment contracts. She noted that in China, PIL is still a young field of law with a late policy start. The development of Chinese PIL requires broader attention as labour rights need safeguards in a cross-border setting that substantive law alone cannot afford.
The third presentation “Labor Disputes of Chinese Posted Workers in the B&R Countries” was held by Yan Dong, Vice-Dean and Associate Professor at Beijing Foreign Studies University School of Law . He presented his research about Chinese workers posted in B&R countries. The number of Chinese posted workers increased gradually. However, the current literature gap exists. Data about workers’ labor issues in the B&R countries is incomplete. There are insufficient legal rules about applying Chinese labour laws under the doctrine of overriding mandatory rules. The research design is to collect all the cases by investigating the labor dispute in the B&R countries. The aims of Professor Dong’s study are to uncover the labor issues and test the doctrine of overriding mandatory labor rules in action.
The fourth presentation was given by Ronald C. Brown, Professor of Law at the University of Hawai’i Law School . In his presentation, he discussed how the Covid-pandemic has affected labour law in China and the US. When looking at reported cases and deaths, China has survived the pandemic more successfully. The presentation looked at reasons in labour law changes that contributed to this feat. On a high level, the approaches were very similar: funding packages, lockdowns, and mask recommendations, but the results were different. The presentation showed comparatively how high level policies were implemented and how the different cultures reacted to the response on a micro level.
The session closed with a presentation by Yan Tian, Assistant Professor and Assistant Dean at Peking University Law School. His speech was about the images of workers on China’s law of bankruptcy. Professor Tian first compared the old and new laws of bankruptcy to observe the changes in the images of workers. Secondly, he compared the laws of bankruptcy and the Chinese constitution. Finally, Professor Tian compared the past and future of the laws of bankruptcy.
The Center would like to thank our interns, Jakub Pincha, Zhe Zhao, Li Yuan, and Johanna Fähnrich for contributing text for this article.
The China Law Week 2020 kicked off with the first session entitled “Chinese Law and Legal Culture – a Diversity of Approaches”. The session was chaired by Professor Pia Letto-Vanamo, Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Helsinki.
The session began with a presentation titled “Taking account of History When Researching Contemporary Law” by Professor Letto-Vanamo. She emphasized the importance of history when researching comparative differences. In Professor Letto-Vanamo´s opinion, knowledge of contemporary politics alone is not sufficient to understand the reasons for comparative differences. She found that the only way to understand Chinese Law is to understand its history, not just legal history but for instance philosophical history and general Chinese mentality as well.
In the second presentation of the session, Professor Björn Ahl from the University of Cologne discussed the different approaches to Chinese legal culture. He first explained the Chinese legal culture, observing that Chinese legal culture as a residual concept lacks explanatory value, invites essentialized approaches to Chinese culture, and more prone to legal orientalism. Professor Ahl then introduced the Chinese legal culture in law-related Chinese studies at the University of Cologne, pointing out that learning Chinese law needs to start from an external and comparative perspective.
The third presentation on “Dispute Resolution in China: A Language Perspective” was given by Associate Professor Joanna Grzybek from Jagiellonian University in Kraków, who is also Deputy Head of the Polish Centre for Law and Economy of China. Professor Grzybek started by giving the overall legal status regarding dispute resolution in China. She stated that due consideration should be given to how language affects international communication and our frames of mind. She stressed that not only legal, but also historical and sociological angles are needed in legal linguistics research.
Professor Johanna Niemi from the University of Turku gave the next presentation on “Law and Gender: Finnish and Chinese Perspectives”. She focused on the positioning of the researcher while doing research in another culture and especially when working with the experts from a society different from the one the researcher is custom to. She highlighted the importance of remembering that post-colonial is not just history in many countries but something that still has an impact on the work culture and relationships to other countries even today.
The session closed with the last presentation about “Criminal Law in the Context of Rule of Law: Finnish and Chinese Perspectives” by Professor Kimmo Nuotio from the University of Helsinki. Professor Nuotio talked about how differently Finland and China approach criminal law and the concept of rule of law. In Finland, criminal law has to be compliant with the constitution, meaning that the state must ensure the protection of every individuals’ rights as well as the division of powers and an independent judiciary. In China, however, criminal law has a long tradition of enforcing justice with harsh methods and not guaranteeing fundamental rights or independence of the judiciary.
The Center would like to thank our interns, Elias Jakala, Li Yuan, Anwar Al-Hamidi, Sukhman Gill and Johanna Fähnrich for contributing text for this article.
The Finnish China Law Center is pleased to announce the long-awaited programme for the China Law Week 2020.
The event will include four information-packed sessions on the following topics:
- Chinese Law and Legal Culture – A Diversity of Approaches
- Chinese Labour Law in International and Comparative Perspectives
- New Challenges for China’s Belt and Road Initiative
- Reform and Emerging Issues in Chinese Private Law and the Court System
The detailed programme can be found here.
China Law Week 2020 is free of charge and open to the public. Participants can attend the whole event or individual sessions if they so wish.
Registration to the event is required. We kindly ask you to register by 18 October 2020 by completing the following electronic form: https://www.lyyti.fi/reg/China_Law_Week_2020_8204
For further questions and inquiries, please contact Le Bao Ngoc Pham, the Center’s Coordinator, at email@example.com.
The Center for East Asian Studies, University of Turku, and the Finnish University Network for Asian Studies are organizing the Asian Studies Days to be held from 26 to 27 November 2019.
Event consists of the Conference Day with no restrictions on participants, and Doctoral Seminar which is open only to PhD candidates in Finnish Universities.
The Conference Day will take place on 26 November, between 12:00-17:00, at Publicum, PUB3, Assistentinkatu 7, Turku.
Registration can be done at https://link.webropolsurveys.com/Participation/Public/6151c9f3-c835-4e82-b13b-154adf9e6ecc?displayId=Fin1846973. The form is open until November 22.
The preliminary program and list of speakers can be found at http://www.asianet.fi/2019/asian-studies-days-2019-science-policies-in-asia/
For all inquiries please contact the Director of the Network, Outi Luova at firstname.lastname@example.org or tel 029 450 3058.
Background to the event
This year, the Asian Studies Days brings together people from academia, business, public administration, and civil society with a shared interest in Asia to discuss the recent trends, prospects, and challenges in the implementation of science and university policies in Asia. The theme is of topical importance considering the significant science capacities of China and many other Asian countries such as Japan, South Korea, India, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand.
The event aims to deepen understanding of the specific features in the academic research and education that should be taken into account when pursuing cooperation with Asian actors. The discussions will also help develop realistic and sustainable cooperation with Asian countries in the field of science, technology, and education.