The Finnish China Law Center is pleased to welcome Professor Björn Ahl who will start as the new part-time visiting professor at the University of Helsinki from October 2020.
Björn Ahl is Professor and Chair of Chinese Legal Culture at the University of Cologne. He is also President of the European China Law Studies Association (ECLS).
Professor Ahl has vast experience in China law research. His research focuses on constitutional development, in particular on judicial reforms and rights litigation, in China. Chinese administrative law and practice of public international law are a further focal point of his research. Moreover, his areas of interest include comparative law, legal transfers, and legal culture, which are related to Greater China and Chinese legal development.
Professor Ahl will collaborate with the Center in multiple areas of Chinese law such as comparative law, public law, social credit system, court practice, and Chinese interpretation of international law. The collaboration aims at advancing research in Chinese law at the European level.
The book was built on and developed from the report titled ‘China in the Arctic; and the Opportunities and Challenges for Chinese-Finnish Arctic Co-operation.’ The report was published in February 2019 as part of the project ‘Finland’s Arctic Council chairmanship in the times of increasing uncertainty’ funded by the Finnish Government’s Analysis, Assessment and Research Activities unit. It drew ample attention among the media and government officials from Finland and abroad, signaling an increased interest in China’s role in the Arctic. This has encouraged the authors to diversify and expand their approach to the theme.
The book offers an overview of China’s economic engagements in the Arctic, China’s policy regarding Arctic governance, and how it has evolved during the past years. It also discusses China’s interests and strategies in the region, and the initiatives the country has offered. It should be noted that the book is centered around economic and governance aspects, rather than the geopolitics implications of China’s involvement in the Arctic and its interaction with other players in the region.
‘Chinese policy and presence in the Arctic’ is the first comprehensive account of China’s endeavors in the Arctic region. ‘The book is unique in the sense that it does not follow the predominant alarmist approach which views China as a threat, but attempts to provide an objective analytical analysis of Chinese Arctic policy’, said Dr. Sanna Kopra. Since extensive reviews of China’s policy and presence in the Arctic are scarce, the book poses as a valuable contribution to the current collection of scholarly work on the topic and a must-read for students and scholars of China studies and Arctic affairs.
The book also offered an opportunity for the authors to focus on the environmental issues relating to China’s presence in the Arctic. The chapter ‘China, Climate Change and the Arctic Environment’ examines in great detail China’s ecological footprint in the Arctic and its role in international efforts to tackle climate change and pollution. ‘This is something that has not been discussed in this length in the existing literature’, added Dr. Sanna Kopra.
On Wednesday 4 March 2020, a partner of the Finnish China Law Center, the Confucius Institute at the University of Helsinki held a seminar on the topic of ‘Belt and Road Initiative in Russia and Kazakhstan’.
Considering that 7 years have passed since the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was introduced by President Xi Jinping at Nazarbayev University in 2013 and there has been increasing awareness of this project and suspicion of its exact impact and influence, the Seminar aimed to provide up-to-date views and perspectives of two experts from Russia and Kazakhstan regarding the BRI.
The Seminar began with a presentation on ‘The Belt and Road Initiative: Views from Russia’ from Professor Nikolay Samoylov (St. Petersburg State University). Professor Samoylov remarked that the Russian Government regards the BRI as having economic and political significance since boosting Russia and China’s relation and promoting alignment of the Eurasian Economic Union and the Silk Road Economic Belt are elements of the BRI. For Russian politicians and leaders, the future of the Eurasian Economic Union is very important, and they wish to connect it with the Chinese BRI.
He added that the BRI is becoming an increasingly crucial aspect of China and Russia’s cooperation as shown through the active negotiation and consultation process of promoting Eurasian economic integration within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union and the Silk Road Economic Belt. In 2017, the Eurasian Economic Commission drew up a list of prioritized projects to be implemented by Eurasian countries in support of the Silk Road Economic Belt project. A majority of these projects involve the construction of new roads and modernization of existing roads, establishment of transport and logistic centers, and development of key transport hubs. Russia has proposed 3 main logistic projects, including the construction of a high-speed railway between Beijing and Europe, motorway connecting China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, and Europe, and development of the Northern sea route. Professor Samoylov noted that Russia has set out the goal that over the next 6 years, it shall increase the full capacity of the Baikal – Amur Main Line and the trans-Siberian railway to 880 million tonnes per year, cut fright delivery time from far East to the Western border of Russia to 7 days, increase the volume of transit of shipments on Russian railways almost four-folds, thus turning the country into a global leader in cross Asia transit shipping. Therefore, these projects are especially significant to Russia.
Over the past 5 years, Russian international relation experts have produced a large quantity of academic and expert publications and debates designed to explain the BRI to the society and political elites. There is a firm opinion that the implementation of the BRI would inevitably strengthen China’s influence in the Central Asia region. However, some expert groups opine that the Silk Road Economic Belt is essential for changing the entire global geopolitics. They are convinced that Russia should retain the role of a regional leader in Central Asia and that integration with the Silk Road Economic Belt is not an obstacle, but a facilitating factor. Others view Beijing’s actions not as an opportunity but a threat to Russian national defense. In between these two extreme trends, another group tries to explain Beijing’s actions through their own interpretation of social-economic goals in China. They contend that China’s priority is to solve China’s social-economic task which is not possible without an active foreign policy. This task focuses on 3 areas: creating new transport and logistic infrastructure to link Europe and Asia via Russia, directing Chinese investment in the high-tech industry and engaging China through investment, loan, and technology, implementation of projects that use new instruments for the development of Russian Far East and northern sea route.
The Seminar continued with a second presentation titled ‘How is BRI Playing in Kazakhstan? Findings from a Survey’ by Professor Chris Primiano (KIMEP University) which focused on Kazakhstan and particularly how students at KIMEP University view the BRI. Professor Primiano explained that university students in Kazakhstan represent the future elites and so it is important to get engaged with students at KIMEP, one of the leading universities in Kazakhstan to understand how they view the Chinese BRI.
Professor Primiano observed that there is tremendous discontent in Kazakhstan directed at China for two main reasons being Chinese FDI and the situation in Xinjiang with the vocational camps. The Chinese FDI comes with Chinese workers in contrast to western FDI. In order to accept one of these infrastructure projects the host government also accepts Chinese workers. The perception of jobs being taken away from locals in Kazakhstan and that the Chinese workers are benefiting more than Kazakhstani nationals create a good amount of push-back. The actions of China in Xinjiang also add to the disapproval from certain segments of Kazakhstan since there have been many ethnic Kazakhs or Kazakhstani nationals who have been in these vocational camps.
The survey by Professor Primiano and his colleagues aims at finding out whether participants view the BRI as a win-win/mutually beneficial situation, or as China benefiting itself at the expense of Kazakhstan. The survey questions were related to demographic variables (age, gender, income, rural or urban, etc) and attitudinal variables impacting one’s views on the BRI i.e. What are their views on democracy? and Do they equate democracy with economic development than with political rights?
Some general trends can be inferred from the survey. Those whose parents earn higher incomes viewed China more favorably. Those whose parents have higher education view China in a more positive way. The students who equate democracy with economic development would view China more positively and those who equate democracy with social or political rights concept will have a negative take on China. The people spending more time reading and watching TV news tended to have a more unfavorable view of China.
Professor Primiano explained that the survey employed both open-ended and closed-ended questions, for example: What do you associate with China? Why is China involved in Central Asia with infrastructure and development projects? And does the BRI create a win-win for Kazakhstan? etc. Regarding the first question, 206 of the respondents had positive views about China’s BRI, associating it with advancing globalization, trade and mutual benefits. 27% wrote that BRI was about neo-colonialism with China benefiting at the expense of other countries. Some respondents said they ‘never heard of this’ or ‘do not know anything about the BRI.’ On the second question, less than 3% of the participants replied that the BRI was not mainstream in Central Asia. The majority said that China’s purpose was its own interests only. 30% opined that it was to advance the interests of China and other countries in Central Asia. The remaining 11% answered with ‘don’t know’ or ‘not sure.’ Relating to the third question, 60% felt that they lack proper information to comment on the matter.
To sum up about the survey, Professor Primiano remarked that a strong majority were not well aware of this initiative while surprisingly, China selected Kazakhstan as a place to announce BRI and there have been significant investments and tremendous funding from China. In the future, survey experiments will be done with treatment and control groups provided with additional information on the BRI.
The University of Helsinki, a member institution of the Finnish China Law Center, has arranged trial access to Kanopy video streaming service. Students and researchers at the University may access Kanopy through Helka-database with the username and password that has been provided by the Helsinki University Library.
Kanopy offers thousands of films, movies, documentaries and educational videos on over 80 subjects, including Asian studies. It, thus, presents a great alternative for Chinese law and legal culture enthusiasts during this exceptional situation where campus libraries as well as all learning facilities are closed.
Through the streaming service, students and researchers can select among a wide variety of contents which document China’s history and transformation from developing nation to the world’s next largest economy, investigation into Chinese political, economic and social systems, and understanding of Chinese traditional and contemporary culture and society.
Some key topics covered include:
China’s Industrial Development
China’s world role China in Africa, Europe, Latin America
On 18 October 2019, the three institutions co-organized an international conference on ‘Methodology of researching and teaching Chinese law.’ The conference created platform for discussion on the issues of Chinese law research and teaching through sharing of ideas, research and practice. It ended in tremendous success in terms of both participation and reception. This suggested a strong interest among Finnish, Russian and Polish scholars and specialists in China law education and research, and strong potential for Chinese law-related inter-institutional cooperation.
The year 2020 promises further collaboration between the three institutions in the form of seminars, workshops, and dialogues. For starter, researchers from Saint Petersburg State University, and the Polish Research Centre for Law and Economy of China will join and contribute their expertise in the Nordic China Law Week 2020 during 20 to 23 April at the University of Helsinki.
The Center welcomes students, researchers, practitioners, and the wider public from all over the world to take part in an exciting week packed with presentations and discussions surrounding the current hot topics in Chinese law and legal culture.
‘The Center would like to take this opportunity to expand our impact in fostering education and research on Chinese law, and strengthen our contacts and partnerships with other institutions that conduct Chinese law research and education within and beyond the Nordic,’ says Director Ulla Liukkunen.
The Finnish China Law Center is happy to welcome the new coordinator Le Bao Ngoc Pham who has replaced Jani Mustonen from November 2019.
Pham is a native of Vietnam, and a recent graduate from the Master’s program in International and Comparative Law at the University of Helsinki. She intends to use her education and unique cultural insights about East Asia to foster the activities of the Center.
She has worked as research assistant at the Center since March 2019 before transitioning into her hew role as coordinator. She wrote her master thesis on territorial acquisition disputes and also has keen interest in space law. Previously, Pham has obtained a bachelor’s degree in law from the Hanoi Law University in Vietnam.
‘I am privileged to be a part of the Center which present a unique opportunity to use my background in international law to help develop the research into Chinese law and Chinese legal culture in the Nordic region,’ she says. She also emphasizes the important role of the Finnish China Law Center in bridging the differences in legal cultures and promoting Sino-Finnish bilateral exchange.
Pham primarily works with the Director of the Center Professor Ulla Liukkunen, and the Dean of the University of Helsinki Faculty of Law Professor Pia Letto-Vanamo, to support the Center’s member institutions and enhance mutual understanding between the Finnish and Chinese legal systems.
To mark the long history of extensive collaboration, Peking University Law School and the Finnish China Law Center hosted an afternoon seminar on Labour and Social Law.
The seminar has held on Friday 13 December 2019 at the University of Helsinki.
The Seminar opened with a presentation by Yan Tian, Assistant Professor & Assistant Dean at Peking University Law School on the topic ‘Towards a Constitutional Theory of Chinese Labor Law’. Professor Yan first described three constitutional visions of labour as arm, spine and embryo of the Constitution. Among the three, the vision of labour as the spine of the Constitution, which makes the Constitution paralyzed if lost is most popularly perceived among Chinese academics. He noted that labor is an important means to achieve the five major values of the Constitution, which comprise of livelihood, democracy, equality, honor and efficiency. Professor Yan went on to examine the constitutional commitment of China’s 1995 Labour Law. The Law has incorporated all the five values of constitutional labor in Chapter 1, particularly in Articles 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, and 8. However, he observed that the commitments have not been perfectly implemented in practice. For livelihood, there has been unfair distribution for labor. In the distribution system in China, the Government and businesses take a very big share. There is only a small part left for the workers. For democracy, it has been a hollow hope for most Chinese workers. The union system is bureaucratic and fails to represent the real interests of the workers. Regarding equality, in recent years, gender discrimination has been striking back. People now begin to challenge whether it is necessary to have so many women in workplaces. Relating to honor, labour is presumed by many as providing less earning and therefore, less respectable. Finally, about efficiency, debates over the inflexibility of labour law has arised in recent years. It is arguable that the labour law system is too rigid to able to accommodate the changing reality of Chinese workplace, especially in informal labour. In his final remark, Professor Yan suggested that labour law must not only keep up with the general trend of labor relations reform, but also be able to incorporate constitutional orders into the reform process, while serving as the legal platform to intergenerational synthesis.
In the next part of the Seminar, Jari Murto, Assistant Professor in Labour and Social Law at the University of Helsinki gave a presentation on ‘The Basic Income Experiment in the context of Finish Social Security System’. Professor Murto began with a short overview of the Finish social security system. The system is driven by the principle of universality, according to which the system covers all persons living (permanently) in Finland, and the principle of causality which renders right to social security benefit or services based on the specific reason (unemployment, illness, childbirth or studies, etc). The Finnish social security is divided into residence-based and employment-based social security. Residence-based social security is financed by taxation and administered by the Social Insurance Institution Kela. Employment-based social security is based on employee status, and paid for by employment related payments and contributions made by employee and employer, independent insurance companies and unemployment funds and labour market social partners. He next introduced the Basic Income Experiment carried out by the Finnish Government during 2017 and 2018. The purpose of the experiment was to gather information on the effects of basic income on labour market activities, and to examine social security models in the context of changing labour market as well as societal changes. The experiment met with criticism that it only choose unemployment people as target group, and exclude persons working in part-time employment relationships. Professor Murto finally discuss different type of problems in transitions in the labour market. The issues involve how to ensure employment rate of 75 %, how to guarantee that companies are able to recruit skilled work force and lack of skilled work force does not follow problems to business, and how to minimize risks to individual person relating interruptions and transitions in the labour market.
Yan Tian is an Assistant Professor & Assistant Dean at Peking University Law School. In addition to constitutional law, Assistant Professor Yan’s research interests include labour law and administrative law. He has published a monograph on employment discrimination law and several articles in the Chinese, English, and Korean languages. Previously, Professor Yan served as Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Peking University Law School. In addition to Bachelor and Master degrees from Peking University, Assistant Professor Yan has J.S.D. and LL.M. degrees from the Law School of Yale University.
JariMurto is an Assistant Professor in labour and social law at the University of Helsinki. His main research interests are related to the determination on terms of employment as well as development of labour law norms, norm system and doctrines of labour law. Professor Murto’s dissertation on “Company specific Group Norms” (2015) was a systematization of legal norms created at the company level concerning groups of employees. In the area of social law Murto’s main research interests are related to transitional labour market and legislation institutions in different type of transitions. Before University of Helsinki, he worked at the University of Turku.
Professor Liukkunen highlighted the latest developments in Chinese law research and education atUH with the introduction of Faculty of Law’s new international master’s programme called Global Governance Law (GGL) which offers study track in Chinese law. ‘GGL would attract many students who are passionate about learning Chinese and comparative laws from a Nordic perspective’, said Professor Letto-Vanamo. Professor Liukkunen added that meanwhile, the Finnish China Law Center has been receiving several requests to conduct visiting research here. In view of the applicants’ qualification and experience, the Center will incorporate them into the Center’s research projects and academic lectures and seminars. The Center also houses several interns from different legal backgrounds and legal cultures, who involve in legal research, editing and writing on the law and China, and events organized by the Center. In April 2020, the Center will again hold the China Law Research Workshop providing an overview of how to approach Chinese legal research and comparative law research involving China.
Professor Ye remarked that the GGL programme would be a great basis for future collaboration. PKU would consider recommending young scholars for visiting and giving lectures in the programme. She also mentioned that PKU highly valued the Center and UH Faculty of Law’s effort in promoting Chinese law and legal culture in Finland and the Nordic, and would like to joint hand in developing Sino-Nordic comparative law researches in civil law, social security, labour law, and human rights. ‘The Nordic legal model, especially in labour law, is very strong and unique. It is indeed what China can learn from,’ she remarked.
East Asia is an economically connected region with overlapping historical, linguistic, and cultural characteristics, as well as diverse nations and groups with different political systems and contemporary cultures.
For a more international perspective, University of Turku, a member institution of the Finnish China Law Center, sets up the master’s programme called East Asian Studies (EAST). With this Programme, participants will learn the sociocultural understanding and analytical skills of international relations and history development.
Students in the Programme would gain expertise on East Asian contemporary history, politics and societies and learn social science research methods. Additionally, they would have good opportunities for student exchange in East Asian universities as well as receiving East Asian study and research scholarships. The Programme provides expertise to enter international public, private and third sector professions. Students would also become qualified to apply to PhD programmes and pursue an academic career.
The Programme sets up six modules, including Study and Research Skills, Histories of East Asian Countries, Contemporary Politics, Societies, and Economies of East Asia, East Asia in Regional and Global Context, Master’s Thesis, Work Life Competences and Language Studies. It provides also courses on the following subjects about China:
The application period for the Programme begins on 8 January 2020, and ends on 22 January 2020 . For information about the application process and how to apply, please visit the Programme website.
The text is contributed by the Center’s intern, Ms. Zhiqi Luan. Zhiqi Luan is a graduate student at the China University of Political Science and Law, and an exchange student at University of Helsinki for the autumn term 2019-2020.
On 13 December 2019, the University of Helsinki, represented by Vice-Rector of Internationalisation, Professor Hanna Snellman had the pleasure to welcome a delegation from Peking University led by Professor Ye Jingyi, Vice Chairperson, University Council, Peking University, Professor and Director, Institute of Labour and Social Security Laws, Peking University Law School. During the visit, Peking University delegation met also with Dr. Erkki Raulo, Senior Advisor of Research Services, and Dr. Anna-Maria Salmi, Head of Development of International Affairs, and Professor Ulla Liukkunen, Director of the Finnish China Law Center and Board Member of the European China Law Studies Association.
The visit was an excellent opportunity for Peking University and University of Helsinki to update on topical affairs and current collaborations in the framework of their strategic partnership, and renew the exchange agreement strengthening academic contacts between the two universities.
Peking University has been one of the oldest partners of the University of Helsinki since 1983. The two Universities enjoy high level of international cooperation in research and education, especially in the legal field.
Professor Liukkunen recalled the long history of cooperation, in which Peking University Law School, the Finnish China Law Center, and its member institutions have worked together on many successful research projects, as well publications. The fruitful Sino-Finnish collaboration, she remarked, has been made possible through fundamental support from Professor Ye, Assistant Professor Yan Tian, Assistant Professor Yifeng Chen, and many other colleagues at Peking University Law School.
Professor Ye commented that Peking University has greatly benefited from strategic partnership with the University of Helsinki, especially in law, air quality, education and medicine. Most notably, she regarded the joint legal activities as great achievement, which helps foster and develop comparative studies and understanding of Finland and China’s unique legal models and legal cultures. She hoped the long-last cooperation between two Universities will continue for many years to come.
We want to bring you a great news today by presenting you the latest entries in the China Law Center Collection, kindly hosted and managed by the University of Helsinki library in Kaisa-talo! These new Chinese and English entries are donated by our partner institutions, notably Peking University, and they are going to enrich the already wide array of collection items. In this blog post, we will give you a full tour of these new entries — their details in general, and how to find them electronically and physically!
Until November, there are 39 new items entered in the China Law Center Collection for the year 2019. These items are donated to the Center from our partner institutions, notably from Peking University. In order to introduce these new items, let us start with some numbers:
Most of the English new items are entry-level textbooks for readers that would like to have an introductory view on Chinese legal system, but there are also some in-depth analysis of recent Chinese legal developments, such as the commentary on State Secret Law, Civil Procedural Law and Corporate Governance. Regarding the Chinese books, there are many high-quality publications on in-depth analysis of Chinese legal theories and the Chinese legal system, such as several publications on research about management of state-owned enterprises and other assets (2007, 2010, 2011), a publication on civil servant and their transparency, as well as two important works on human rights law (first and second editions).
Among the new items, there are quite a number of books about Chinese legal system and Chinese legal theories, both in general and specific topics. These include works on development of Chinese legal system, from the dawn of civilization all the way up to modern developments (such as in securities law and civil justice).
You can find these new items, together with the whole China Law Center Collection, either through online database (Helka) or by visiting Kaisa-talo at University of Helsinki.
For Helka, all the books and materials in the China Law Center collection can be looked up by entering search terms in the search bar or, using this link to instantly get the required parameters in Helka. Or, you can limit the call number in your advanced search to be “hc 4. krs oikeustiede china law center collection”.
For the physical collection, the Collection is located on the 4/F of Kaisa-talo library, at the end of the Law catalogue, on the side facing Fabianinkatu (See map with this link).
Yes! This unique Chinese-Finnish collaboration work might interest you:
法制改革与法治发展 : 中国与芬兰的比较
Legal reform and the development of rule of law: a comparison between China and Finland
Chen, Su and Liukkunen, Ulla
Social Science Academic Press/
Jurisprudence – Legal Philosophy
This is a collection of research output presented in the 8th and 9th Sino-Finnish Comparative Law Seminars, co-hosted by Chinese Academy of Social Science (CASS) Institute of Law and Faculty of Law, University of Helsinki. These research output included popular topics among the legal development and scholarly fields of Finland and China, namely legal reform and development; sustainable development and environmental regulatory regime; Internet, AI and responses from the legal system; and compilation and amendment of civil code. The editors believed that this publication would encourage Sino-Finnish legal cultural exchange and comparative reference to the legal systems of both countries, would provide beneficial theoretical and knowledge basis for furthering Sino-Finnish legal development.
HU Library Call No.
Hc 4. krs Oikeustiede China Law Center Collection Fazhi
I have a question about the China Law Center Collection. Where should I contact?
If the question concerns the collection itself, or you have question regarding research or library-related stuff, please contact the relevant librarian and staff at the University of Helsinki library. You can find their contact information here.
Questions regarding the China Law Center can be forwarded to the Center, via the contact methods listed here.
Before the end of the blog post, we have to thank deeply both the University of Helsinki library staff, as well as the China Law Center interns for lending extra hands in processing and transporting these new items to the library! Without their immense help, these new items would not be able to be provided to the public with such speed and accuracy.