European Law Students’ Association Members Visit Finnish China Law Center and Faculty of Law, University of Helsinki

On 1 February 2018, the Finnish China Law Center, based in the Faculty of Law at the University of Helsinki, welcomed a group of students from the European Law Students’ Association (ELSA) who visited the Center to learn about Chinese legal education and research.

ELSA is an international, independent, non-political and non-profit organisation run by and for students and recent graduates interested in achieving academic and personal excellence in addition to their legal or law-related studies at university.

The visit by ELSA was hosted by Professor Pia Letto-Vanamo, Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Helsinki.

Professor Pia Letto-Vanamo, Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Helsinki, speaking during the ELSA visit

Dean 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, with a strong interest in Chinese law and Chinese legal culture.

During her opening speech at the event, Dean Letto-Vanamo delineated the history of comparative law and Chinese legal education and scholarship in Finland, and underscored the increasing importance of understanding Nordic law not just in its European context, but from the global perspective, including in comparison with Chinese law.

Professor Ulla Liukkunen, also of the University of Helsinki, was another speaker at the event. Professor Liukkunen is Director of the Finnish Center of Chinese Law and Chinese Legal Culture and has been recently elected as a Member of the Board of Directors of the European China Law Studies Association (欧洲中国法研究协会).

Professor Ulla Liukkunen, Director of the Finnish China Law Center, sharing her experiences as a China law researcher with visiting ELSA students

Professor Liukkunen spoke about the Finnish China Law Center’s role in facilitating and promoting China law and comparative law research, and about the increasing Nordic-wide approach to Chinese legal education and research. During her presentation, Professor Liukkunen also drew upon her research in Chinese law and comparative law involving China, and highlighted the importance of taking local conditions and culture into consideration when conducting comparative research with Chinese law.

The main speech during the ELSA visit was given by Post-Doctoral Researcher Dr Yihong Zhang.

Dr Yihong Zhang giving the main presentation during the ELSA student visit 

Dr Zhang, who lectures at the University of Helsinki and is responsible for its popular annual summer school program in Chinese law, drew upon her academic and professional experience in China when discussing the Chinese legal system in a comparative context, including its foundations, sources of law, the way law is applied and enforced, and current legal ‘hot topics’ in China.

A short discussion followed Dr Zhang’s presentation, during which time students asked questions about China’s criminal justice system and the rule of law in China.

The Center strongly encourages students – and anyone else – interested in Chinese law and legal culture to follow its blog, Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Questions about Chinese law can be directed to the Coordinator of the Center, Stuart Mooney, at stuart.mooney (@)

Dean Letto-Vanamo’s book on different legal cultures and systems around the world, co-authored with Professor Ditlev Tamm of the University of Copenhagen, is being translated into English.