Opening remarks were delivered by Dr Harriet Lonka of the University of Eastern Finland and Tiina Lampisjärvi, Executive Director of the Finfood – Finnish Food Information.
A keynote was delivered by Dr Xiao Pinghui.
Dr Xiao is a senior lecturer at Guangzhou University Law School and a researcher (Sam Walton Scholar) affiliated to the Law School at the Center for Coordination and Innovation of Food Safety Governance of Renmin University of China. Since 2017 he has served as an officially accredited mentor of the National Food Safety Law Publicity Program launched by China Food and Drug Administration.
Another keynote was given by Professor Katja Weckström Lindroos.
Professor Weckström Lindroos is Professor of Commercial Law at UEF Law School, University of Eastern Finland. She specializes in intellectual property and international trade law with an emphasis on regulating emerging markets.
On 22 August 2018, the Finnish China Law Center, in collaboration with the Faculty of Law of the University of Helsinki, hosted a guest lecture titled ‘China’s Arctic Policy – The ‘Belt and Road’ Initiative and the Nordic Countries’.
China published its first Arctic Policy White Paper in January 2018 following years of preparation, including an introduction of a proposed ‘Polar Silk Road’. Prior to this, China joined the Arctic Council as an observer in 2013 and included the Arctic region in its Vision for Maritime Cooperation under the ‘Belt and Road’ initiative in June 2017.
What does it mean that China’s so-called ‘Belt and Road’ initiative has entered the Arctic region? How is this likely to affect potential Arctic investment and trade and influence legal developments?
This lecture will focus on China’s Arctic engagement, cooperation with the Nordic countries (including through the platform provided by CNARC), and its impact on Arctic developments in an evolving world order.
The event will be of interest to researchers, policy-makers, civil servants and those from civil society, as well as business people with an interest in both the Arctic region and in China’s overseas activities.
The event was free, open to the public and registration was not necessary.
About the speaker
Dr Kopra is a specialist on China and environmental responsibility. Her publications include academic articles and popular science texts on China’s climate policy, Arctic governance, sustainable development and international environmental responsibility. Her professional positions include Postdoctoral Researcher in the Aleksanteri Institute and Member of Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS), both located in the University of Helsinki.
About the book
Based on a premise that great powers have unique responsibilities in international society, Dr Kopra’s book explores the way China’s rise to great power status transforms the notions of great power responsibility in general and in the context of international climate politics in particular. The book produces empirical knowledge on the Chinese party–state’s conceptions of state responsibility and the influence of those notions on China’s role in international climate politics.
Regarding theory, the book builds on and contributes to the English School of International Relations and argues that the international norm of climate responsibility is an emerging attribute of great power responsibility. The book also discusses the way China will act out its climate responsibility in the future and ponders broader implications of China’s evolving notions of great power responsibility for climate change. Thus, it seeks to shed new light on the transformations China’s rise will yield and the kind of great power China will prove to be.
Until 30 August 2018, the Finnish University Network for Asian Studies (Asianet) was collecting information about ongoing or recently completed research on projects on Asia for the 2018 edition of its annual catalogue ‘Academic Research Projects on Asia in Finland’.
He says the publication was an international effort that aims to shed light on under-explored non-trade normative aspects of China’s epic global infrastructure project, as well as the initiative’s socio-legal implications.
‘The book focuses on aspects of the so-called ‘New Silk Road’ Initiative that we thought deserved more attention, such as issues relating to culture and legal philosophy, environmental law and protection, social responsibility, and the rule of law, judiciary and the role of lawyers’.
‘Given the scale and importance of the ‘Belt and Road’ Initiative, we also felt it necessary that the book generate critical insights into how the project could or should develop and be better regulated’, Professor Nuotio says.
The book was also edited by Professor Shan Wenhua, one of China’s leading scholars on the ‘Belt and Road’ Initiative.
Professor Shan is founding Dean of the School of Law and founding Director of the Silk Road Institute for International and Comparative Law (SRIICL) at Xi’an Jiaotong University.
Doctoral Researcher Zhang Kangle of the Faculty of Law, University of Helsinki, also co-edited the publication and authored a chapter on the relationship between China’s new financial institutions and the country’s global strategy.
Dr Guilherme Vasconcelos Vilaca, also of the Faculty of Law, University of Helsinki, contributed a chapter on ‘Strengthening the Cultural and Normative Foundations of the Belt and Road Initiative: The Colombo Plan, Yan Xuetong and Chinese Ancient Thought’.
‘It’s important for the Center to build inter-institutional and person-to-person relationships across the Nordic region and between the Nordic region and the rest of Europe’.
‘Strong relationships with our European partners complement the Center’s network of partnerships in China’, Professor Liukkunen says.
‘I look forward to working with the Center’s Director, Assistant Professor Piotr Grzebyk, to exchange information and experience about conducting China law-related research and education, and to explore deeper forms of inter-institutional cooperation’.
Professor Kimmo Nuotio, Chair of the Center’s Board, welcomes this initiative. ‘I have noticed rising interest in China in Polish academic circles. I visited the University of Warsaw just few weeks ago on other matters, and I was impressed about the work being done there’.
The collaboration was discussed during a visit to Finland by Maximilian Piekut, Deputy Head of the Polish Research Centre for Law and Economy of China.
The goal of the Center’s activities is to enhance the quality of legal research in Poland and better implement innovative solutions in legal research for the benefit of science, business and society.
The School of Law and Economy of China, established in 2018 under the framework of the Polish Research Centre for Law and Economy of China, offers year-long interdisciplinary courses to students of all faculties, entrepreneurs and senior-level managers as well as representatives of state and local administration in charge of cooperation with their Chinese counter-parties.
The School’s program is designed to build up knowledge and understanding of the Chinese legal system, economy, culture and language.
‘The Center is proud to contribute to an important academic and social discussion within the Nordic region about the role and significance of law in China, and China’s increasing involvement in global affairs’, Professor Liukkunen said.
For Professor Liukkunen, the strength of Nordic China Law Week 2018 lay in the breadth and relevance of themes covered, the wide appeal of events to both the public and private sectors, and the involvement of scholars and participants from China, the Nordic region and other countries.
‘That the events during the Week were so well-attended testifies to the fact that Nordic interest in Chinese law and the Chinese legal system continues to grow’, Professor Liukkunen said.
‘I was particularly pleased at the diversity of participants during the Week. While the focus was primarily scholarly and academic, the organizers were careful to balance law, theory and concrete practice. This was important, including because of the Nordic business community’s deepening engagement with China’.
‘As Nordic China Law Week 2018 was organized to take account of both academic and practical perspectives, its events attracted participants not just from Nordic and Chinese academia, but also from legal practice, the Finnish corporate community – including entrepreneurs from Finland’s thriving startup scene, which is increasingly engaging with China – as well as participants from NGOs, international organizations, the media and the diplomatic community’.
‘For example, over 10 nationalities were represented among the more than 80 registered participants in the China Law Research Workshop. Startup founders, ambassadors, students, Finnish government representatives, leading Nordic scholars and representatives of multinational corporations discussed how to research and apply Chinese law, including the practicalities of doing field work and conducting business in China’, Professor Liukkunen said.
‘The Center is grateful to Professor Jukka Kola, Rector of the University of Helsinki, for his support of Nordic China Law Week 2018, including through holding a Rector’s Reception after one of the Week’s flagship events, the China Law Research Workshop, hosted by the Dean of the Faculty of Law, Professor Pia Letto-Vanamo’.
‘From the beginning, the Finnish China Law Center has received significant input to developing its core activities from the Peking University Law School, which has worked together on many research projects and co-organized a number of international academic events with the Center and its member institutions’, Professor Liukkunen said.
‘I would like to congratulate in particular my friends and colleagues from Peking University Law School, including Professor Zhang Shouwen, Professor Ye Jingyi, Professor Li Ming, Professor Liang Genlin, Associate Professor Su Jiang, Assistant Professor Yan Tian and many others whose contributions have led to strong Sino-Finnish cooperation across different fields of law’.
‘Assistant Professor Chen Yifeng has also been instrumental in building the strategic relationship in legal research and education between the University of Helsinki and Peking University, and more broadly between legal academia in China and the Nordic countries’, Professor Liukkunen said.
The round-table discussion was held as part of Nordic China Law Week 2018, and was attended by scholars from 10 universities in Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway.
The event was was open to those affiliated with universities or research institutions in the Nordic region whose research or teaching relates to the law and China (including Chinese law, comparative law involving China, and China’s engagement with international law).
Professor Pia Letto-Vanamo, Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Helsinki, chaired the meeting, which provided a forum in which scholars shared their China law-related activities and plans.
Forms and possibilities of inter-institutional collaboration at a general level were explored during the two hour-long gathering.
Scholars also discussed Nordic-wide involvement in events being organized by the Faculty of Law at the University of Helsinki and the Finnish China Law Center, including the 9th Bilateral Seminar on Comparative Law with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) (Beijing, September 2018).
As a result of the meeting, discussions are continuing between Nordic institutions about better coordinating the region’s approach to China law research and education and promoting knowledge and awareness of Nordic legal models and systems in China.
The meeting was one of many events organized during Nordic China Law Week 2018, with others including:
To mark the end of Nordic China Law Week 2018 (17 – 23 April), Aalto University and the Finnish China Law Center hosted a half-day seminar on ‘What People Management Practices Work Best in China Today? Cultural and Legal Perspectives’.
The event, held during the 40th anniversary of China’s ‘Reform and Opening Up’ reforms, brought together academics from management and legal backgrounds, as well as Peter Vesterbacka, one of Finland’s leading entrepreneurs and business figures, to provide interdisciplinary insights and explore developments in contemporary people management practices in China.
Presentations and ensuing discussions were had against a backdrop in which China is the second largest country in the world in terms of GDP and in light of ever-increasing entry of Finnish firms into the Chinese market.
A challenge facing Finnish firms, whether it be a smaller startup or larger multinational corporation, is that there are legal and cultural differences between Finland and China. These differences mean that many Finnish people and firms find it challenging to understand what management practices work best in China.
The event highlighted how, as China’s economy continues to grow and diversify, new opportunities and challenges are emerging.
During her presentation on fundamental labour rights and corporate social responsibility in China, Professor Ulla Liukkunen, Director of the Finnish Center of Chinese Law, outlined various legal considerations, including a range of Chinese labor laws based on international standards, that affect how businesses operating in China manage their workforce.
The event concluded with a panel discussion on ‘The Future of People Management in China: Educational, Political, Economic and Legal Considerations’, featuring all the seminar’s presenters.
Following the seminar was reception and networking event, during which Mr Vesterbacka and the other presenters discussed the themes of the event in more detail with participants.
The seminar was one of many events organized during Nordic China Law Week 2018 (17 – 23 April 2018), with others including:
As was the case with the first Workshop, the event was attended by a diverse range of people. The over 80 registered attendees of more than 10 nationalities included university scholars, think tank researchers, diplomats, students, lawyers, those working in business (ranging from large multinational corporations to startups), entrepreneurs and government representatives.
Professor Julie Yu-Wen Chen, Professor of Chinese Studies and Director of Confucius Institute at the Faculty of Arts at the University of Helsinki, discussed the relationship between culture and research involving contemporary China.
Professor Matti Nojonen (University of Lapland), Deputy Chair of the Finnish China Law Center, drew upon his experience in China and ongoing research when talking about the ‘Intersections of Economics, Business and the Law in China: Implications for Legal Research’.
Another well-received presentation at the Workshop was given by Post-doctoral Researcher Dr Yihong Zhang (University of Helsinki), who drew upon her academic background and experience as a corporate lawyer in China when speaking on the China’s Company law regime.
The Workshop ended with Rector’s Reception hosted by Dean Letto-Vanamo, which provided an excellent opportunity for speakers and participants to network and have in-depth discussions about the themes covered during the Workshop.