Björn Ahl and the pursuit of interest in Chinese law research

Björn Ahl is Professor and Chair of Chinese Legal Culture at the University of Cologne. He currently holds the position of President of the European China Law Studies Association. The Finnish China Law Center had the pleasure to conduct an interview with him on his personal experience and recommendations for students and young professionals in researching Chinese law.

Professor Ahl began with his law studies at the University of Heidelberg in the 1990s and spent one year at the Law School of Nanjing University as an exchange student to improve his Chinese and take classes in Chinese law. According to him, foreign students in Chinese law schools were very rare at that time. ‘It was quite an open atmosphere among students, and we had fascinating discussions about Chinese and international law issues’, he reminisced. After finishing his law studies in Germany, he worked for some time at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg, and then went back to Nanjing University to become the Associate Director of the Sino German Institute of Legal Studies. The interactions with Chinese colleagues and students during these times and being able to witness Chinese law’s rapid development had profoundly shaped his interests at this early stage of his career.

The focuses of Professor Ahl’s research include Chinese public law, comparative law and Chinese positions on public international law, and his main interests have always been comparative law and public international law. In his doctoral dissertation, he studied the application of international treaties in China. Since then, Chinese scholarship of public international law and Chinese state practice of public international law have become more and more relevant and complex topics.

During his teaching and research in Cologne, Professor Ahl has contextualized Chinese law by applying a concept of legal culture in order to tackle the challenges of studying Chinese law from an external and comparative perspective. He observed that while the context of law is regularly omitted in doctrinal legal research that takes an internal, participant-oriented approach to its object of study, external factors are more relevant for the understanding of foreign law if the people who study such law do not share the same preconceptions and preconceived attitudes as those who create and apply the law. Therefore, an approach to the research of Chinese law that is specifically sensitive to the historical, political, economic and institutional conditions of the creation, application and enforcement of law appears most suitable to avoid misconceptions and misrepresentations about the meaning and operation of Chinese law.

When being asked about the methodologies for conducting research in the field of Chinese law from the perspective of a foreign researcher, he pointed out that the answer to this question depends on the research question that the researcher wishes to pursue. However, if one likes to investigate a doctrinal question, he suggested that the researcher should not entirely omit context factors, in particular, if he or she takes a comparative approach. Otherwise, the researcher may end up with false or misleading results. He contended that this applies to the study of any foreign jurisdiction and does not pertain exclusively to Chinese law.

The interview concluded with Professor Ahl’s advice for students and young professionals wanting to go into researching Chinese law. He remarked that the fundamental basis of any meaningful research in Chinese law is a good proficiency in Chinese language. The next asset would excellent training in Chinese law. He recommended enrolling in a Chinese law school through an exchange programme as the most practical way to have the first exposure to Chinese law. He additionally noted that it would be very useful to get an insight into how law works in practice, which can be done through an internship in a Chinese law firm.

The Centre hereby takes the chance to express our gratitude to Professor Ahl for taking the time to participate in our Featured Researchers interview series.

Finnish China Law Center expands cooperation beyond the Nordic

The year 2019 oversaw the fruitful collaboration between the Finnish China Law Center, Saint Petersburg State University, and the Polish Research Centre for Law and Economy of China.

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.

From left to right: Professor Ulla Liukkunen, Director of the Finnish China Law Center; Assistant Professor Piotr Grzebyk, Head of the Polish Research Center for Law and Economy of China; and Associate Professor Elena Sychenko, Head of the undergraduate programme in Jurisprudence (with an in-depth study of the Chinese language and legal system) at Saint Petersburg State University

Peking University Law School and the Finnish China Law Center hold a seminar on Labour and Social Law

Front row: Professor Ye Jingyi (Vice-Chairperson, Peking University Law School) and Professor Pia Letto-Vanamo (Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Helsinki). Back row: Yuan Li (student in the master’s programme in International Business Law, University of Helsinki and intern at the Finnish China Law Center), Assistant Professor Yan Tian (Assistant Dean, Peking University Law School), student in the bachelor of Law programme at University of Helsinki, Professor Ulla Liukkunen (University of Helsinki, Director of the Finnish China Law Center), Assistant Professor Jari Murto (University of Helsinki), and Le Bao Ngoc Pham (Coordinator of the Finnish China Law Center)

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.

Professor Yan Tian, Faculty of Law, University of Helsinki, 13 December 2019

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.

Professor Jari Murto, Faculty of Law, University of Helsinki, 13 December 2019

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.

 

Speakers’ bios:

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.

Jari Murto 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.

 

An interview with Prof. Kimmo Nuotio (Part II): Experience with Belt-and-Road and Chinese collaborations

Introduction to this blogpost

This is Part II of the two-part blog post on the interview with Prof. Kimmo Nuotio on his thoughts and recollection of the China Law Center, as well as other aspects of Chinese collaboration, including the Belt-and-Road Initiative. The interview has been done by our research assistant, Ngor Sin. Part I can be found here.

In Part II, we cover Prof. Kimmo Nuotio’s participation in Belt and Road Initiative-related projects, and his general experience of collaboration with Chinese scholars and education institutions. He also gave very insightful comments on his personal approach of how to collaborate with Chinese colleagues.

New Silk Road Law Schools Alliance and the related publication

One of the biggest efforts in BRI regarding legal science collaboration is the New Silk Road Alliance of Law Schools, which Prof. Nuotio has knowledge since the Alliance’s infancy. He recalled that during his visit to Xi’an Jiaotong University in 2014 to give the opening lecture of a Silk Road-related seminar, there was a discussion between him and the then-Dean of Faculty of Law of Xi’an Jiaotong University Wenhua Shan. During the talk for furthering cooperation between Chinese and foreign law schools, the idea of some new arrangement was developed. After some further exchanges and preparation especially on the Chinese side, the alliance was launched in 2015. From the start, the alliance aimed at bringing together high-quality Chinese and foreign law schools and having a regular platform for exchange of ideas and possible collaborations. Each year, the Alliance would hold Dean Meetings (such as the ones in 2016) as well as other academic conferences to discuss BRI-related topics.

Prof. Kimmo Nuotio signing the documents, bringing the University of Helsinki Faculty of Law in to the New Silk Road Law School Alliance in 2015.

The publication “Normative Readings of the Belt and Road Initiative” is the direct result of the conferences. This book is an early reflection of the legal aspects in BRI. In Prof. Nuotio’s opinion, BRI is mainly a foreign policy concept, but it is interesting to conduct research on this policy, as the legal aspect of BRI comprises of not only Chinese law, but also international law, especially rules regarding how China deals with its neighbours, how the BRI investments are made and are protected by legal regimes. He also mentioned the reason for this publication is to make the best use of materials published in the conferences, as he believe that all collaborations should be serious and should result in some sort of published works, so that the world at large also can read about the results of the academic collaborations.

“Normative Readings of the Belt and Road Initiative” offers normative readings on China’s master plan on foreign affairs, in the context of China as the rising power Covers fields including legal philosophy, Chinese philosophy, labor protection, financial mechanism, environmental protection and other non-trade aspects of the BRI Written for researchers and governmental actors.

General Experience of collaboration with Chinese scholars and institutions

Talking about his experience in China, Prof. Nuotio is very positive about his collaboration as well as visits in general. His recent seminar in Peking University on sexual offences was a success. The proceedings of the seminar, including Prof. Nuotio’s presentation and responses from the audience was recently published online (in Chinese), which Prof. Nuotio is very pleased to hear about. For him, although scholars are often responsible for high-level abstract knowledge production, there must be some groundwork done in order for the legal systems to develop. He also noticed that despite the geographical differences, discussions about problems arising from the legal systems of different countries, such as China and Finland, are almost always the same, thus comparative studies would play a vital role in assisting the development of legal systems.

Prof. Kimmo Nuotio sharing the Finnish experience in development of criminal law concerning sexual offences in Peking University in 2019.

From there, Prof. Nuotio also spoke about his general perception about collaboration with Chinese scholars and institutions in general. He regarded Chinese scholars highly for their openness and frankness. As a criminal law professor, he reckoned that sometimes society has wicked problems that must be confronted and solved, and scholars must be able to openly and freely discuss these problems. He noted the importance of scholars to be able to speak and exchange ideas freely, as only honest and frank exchanges among scholars are meaningful and productive.  He also noted the huge differences in social and political systems between Finland and China, and thought that it is the scholars of that legal system to solve their respective problems with their own ways. The academic exchanges were, in his opinion, rather to tell about experiences on how the respective sides have dealt with the problems commonly faced, and what are the reflections of developments or policies concerned.

Background of Prof. Kimmo Nuotio

Prof. 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. Previously, he was the Dean of the Law Faculty at University of Helsinki between 2010–2017, and was also the chair of the board of China Law Center between 2013–2019. 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.

An interview with Prof. Kimmo Nuotio (Part I): The development of the China Law Center from its infancy

 

Introduction to this blog post

In this two-part blog post, we would be reporting on the interview of Prof. Kimmo Nuotio, done by our research assistant, Ngor Sin. In the interview, Prof. Nuotio talked about how the China Law Center was first conceived and subsequently established, followed by his participation in the scholarly efforts on the Belt and Road Initiative and New Silk Road Law Schools alliance. Lastly, Prof. Nuotio recalled his personal experience and views on collaboration with Chinese scholars. Part II can be found here.

The first part of this interview blog post would cover Prof. Nuotio’s experience with the China Law Center, as well as his personal opinion on the impact and development of the work done by the  Center. In the second part, we would cover Prof. Nuotio’s participation in collaboration with Chinese scholars in general, as well as his recent involvement in the Belt and Road Initiative scholarly efforts and the New Silk Road Alliance of Law Schools.

The birth of China Law Center

Prof. Nuotio first recalled how the idea of establishing the China Law Center came about. In 2009, the Institute of Law, Chinese Academy of Social Science (CASS Law) and the Academy of Finland agreed to collaborate in the field of comparative law, related to rule of law topics. Such collaboration resulted in several comparative law conferences held among Finnish and Chinese legal scholars, which has become a tradition since. Details of the conferences are reported on our blog: 2019, 2018, 2017).

According to Prof. Nuotio, the actual plan of building a China Law Center has been materialised in 2012-2013. Given the increase in collaboration, it has been noted that a coordinating unit between Finnish institutions and Chinese institutions is needed. Therefore, around 2012, discussions regarding the establishment of such unit initiated among the Finnish institutions, and the Center was formally launched in 2013. While the Center is based at the University of Helsinki, the whole Sino-Finnish collaboration, including the establishment of the Center, is a joint effort among all the Finnish institutions, which eventually become members of the Center.

Representatives of the Center, the Academy of Finland and the Faculty of Law of University of Helsinki visited Peking University Law School in 2013

Impact and other Thoughts about the China Law Center

On the questions regarding the impact of the China Law Center on Sino-Finnish collaboration, Prof. Nuotio is very positive about the Center’s work. He referred the Center as a national center for coordination of Sino-Finnish research efforts in legal sciences. Another notable achievement that the Center has obtained would be the China Law Center collection, which has been built with the assistance of the Center’s Chinese partners, notably Faculty of Law of Peking University, and is currently hosted by the University of Helsinki Library.

On the impacts that the China Law Center might have been exerting on the scholarly scene, Prof. Nuotio noted that research efforts are usually not easily quantifiable. Instead, it is the existence of the China Law Center that leads to many other possible Sino-Finnish collaboration. In his opinion, the China Law Center presents an alternative to the Chinese scholars on possible collaboration partners and opportunities. Through the Center, Chinese scholars have started to explore European and particularly Nordic legal tradition. Although the Center is not the only European institution engaging the same kind of work, it is the first one in the Nordic countries.

CASS President and delegation visiting the China Law Center in 2017

Prof. Nuotio remarked that the China Law Center is like a baby that he has built from scratch, since he has been involved in the establishment of the Center, and later was also heavily involved in the strategic development of the China Law Center. He is now very happy to see the Center’s current development and that it is very active in Sino-Finnish collaboration. He is also please to notice that every member institution of the Center is making the best use of the Center, and hope that this will continue under the new leadership of the Center’s Board.

In the next part, we will talk about Prof. Nuotio’s personal experience in Chinese collaborations and his recent involvement the Belt and Road Initiative-related projects.

Background of Prof. Kimmo Nuotio

Prof. 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. Previously, he was the Dean of the Law Faculty at University of Helsinki between 2010–2017, and was also the chair of the board of China Law Center between 2013–2019. 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.

BJÖRN AHL ON THE EXPANSION OF POWERS OF THE CHINESE SUPREME PEOPLE’S COURT

On 29 November 2019, Björn Ahl, Professor from University of Cologne and President of the European China Law Studies Association, gave a guest lecture at the Finnish China Law Center. The topic of his presentation was ‘Judicialization in Authoritarian Regimes: The Expansion of Powers of the Chinese Supreme People’s Court’.

Professor Björn Ahl aimed to demonstrate how the Chinese constitutional system works and what the position and function of the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) are through this lecture. He firstly introduced the global phenomenon of the 20th-century judicialization, under which, judicialization can be distinguished into two forms: expansion of the courts’ scope of action at the expense of politics, and the absorption of methods of judicial decision-making by other executive and legislative state organs.

The development of judicialization has been seen in three layers. First, legal discourses, legal terminology, legal rules, and procedures diffuse into processes of judicial decision-making. Then, courts expand their competence and increase their influence over the outcomes of political possesses. And finally, courts decide important political questions. These can be reflected from the development of the Chinese legal system. While some scholars stated that there was no judicialization in the authoritarian legal system, Professor Ahl contended that the strengthened rule of law in China can also be observed in the development of other constitutional systems.

Professor Björn Ahl, Faculty of Law of the University of Helsinki, 29 November 2019

As a One-party system concentrates powers of decision-making in the organs of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and in the executive organs of the state, Chinese courts, particularly the SPC become an integral part of the party-state structure and political institutions. This, as Professor Ahl presented, has led to some special feature of a limited and reversible judicialization in China as dynamics have been seen as intrinsically local’ and courts rely on party support and active engagement of administrative agencies under administrative litigation.

As for the SPC, Professor Ahl said that motivated by institutional self-interest, it was now less influenced by party leadership or legal reform ideologies and had transformed into a relatively autonomous policy-making organization. He then analyzed from four aspects of SPC: Fundamental rights in courts, self-empowerment through judicial interpretations, guiding cases mechanism, and mandatory death penalty review power, in which Professor Ahl emphasized the last three aspects and how they worked under the current special constitutional structure in China as a reflection of the strengthening of the SPC’s power.

Professor Björn Ahl finally concluded that Chinese judicialization bore significant differences from the judicialization in liberal constitutional systems. According to this opinion, judicialization in China has its own characteristics. The SPC still operates as an ‘active lawmaker’ even though it possessed parallel law-making powers, and has no ultimate power of decision-making on critical problems in society. As SPC’s power increasing, political decision-making of other actors of the party-state would not be changed into more rule-based judicial forms of decision making.

The text is contributed by the Center’s intern, Ms. Xiaodan Zhang who is completing her Masters in International and Comparative Law (International Business Law) at the University of Helsinki.

NEW INTERNATIONAL MASTER’S PROGRAMME WITH CHINESE LAW STREAM AT THE UNIVERSITY OF HELSINKI

Globalization has brought about situations where which different bodies of law become increasingly intertwined beyond traditional borders. Legal experts and scholars are now required to examine the content of national, international, European, and transnational laws when they apply norms.

In order to deliver the most practical knowledge and insight into the increasing globalization of law and legal thinking, University of Helsinki, a member institution of the Finnish China Law Center, sets up a new master’s programme called Global Governance Law (GGL).

The two-year long research-oriented Master’s programme offers series of lectures, seminars and interactive tutorials built by internationally distinguished experts in their fields. It is designed to provide solid foundation and skills to prepare students for expert duties in public administration, international organizations, NGO, law firms, corporate legal departments, and legal academia. During their study, programme participants will be able to specialize in key fields of law are of particular interest to them such as Global Governance Law, Public International Law, European Union Law, Global Administrative Law, Human Rights Law, International Institutions, Finance and the Environment, and Business and Company Law.

“The Master’s programme also provides the opportunity to study Chinese law, rarely on offer in faculties of law”, said Päivi Leino-Sandberg, Professor of Transnational European Law and Director of GGL.  The Director of the Finnish China Law Center, Professor Ulla Liukkunen is in charge of the Chinese law stream of GGL which provides courses on the following subjects:

  • Chinese legal system: history and presence
  • Business and Company law: governing economics
  • China in international organisations – transnational governance
  • Corporate social responsibility and fundamental labour rights in China

Students can also engage in Chinese law research activities through the Center with our strong connections with top Chinese universities.

The application period for the programme begins on 03 Dec 2019 at 08.00 (UTC+2), and ends on 10 Jan 2020 at 15.00 (UTC+2). For information about the application process and how to apply, please visit the programme website.

 

Teaching staff of the Master’s Programme in Global Governance Law: Jaakko Husa (on the left), Heikki Pihlajamäki, Päivi Leino-Sandberg, Ida Koivisto, Sakari Melander and Marianna Muravyeva. Photo credit: Mika Federley.

 

Conference on Methodology of researching and teaching of Chinese law in Russia

On 18 October 2019, the Saint Petersburg State University in collaboration with the Polish Research Center for Chinese Law and Economy, the Finnish Center of Chinese Law and Chinese Legal Culture, and Sino-Russian Legal Research Center of Jilin University will hold an International Conference on ‘Methodology of researching and teaching Chinese law.’

Time: Friday 18 October 2019, 10:00 – 17:40.

Venue: Assembly hall (room N 64), Saint Petersburg State University, 22nd Line of Vasilyevskyisland, 7.

The event is free and open to all that are interested in research and teaching of Chinese law to non-Chinese students.

The full program and list of speakers can be found in the conference programme.

For all inquiries please contact the Organizing Committee at chinalawconferencespbu@gmail.com.

About the Conference:

The Conference aims to create a platform for discussing and sharing ideas on the issues of Chinese law research and teaching in foreign universities, and to establish cooperation between specialists in relevant fields of Chinese law. The presentations focus on:

  • Defining the concept and the object of legal research.
  • Criteria for good legal research.
  • The role of practice in teaching and researching Chinese Law.
  • The contributions of comparative law to teaching and researching Chinese Law.
  • The interpretation of legal sources.
  • The use of interdisciplinary methods.
  • Quantitative empirical approaches to researching Chinese Law.
  • Building the syllabus for teaching different branches of Chinese Law.

Annual ‘One Belt, One Road’ Law Summit Attended by Pia Letto-Vanamo, Dean of the Faculty of Law of the University of Helsinki

On 27-28 September 2018, Professor Pia Letto-Vanamo, Dean of the Faculty of Law of the University of Helsinki and a member of the board of the Finnish China Law Center, attended the 2018 annual summit of the New Silk Road Law Schools Alliance.

The Faculty of Law of the University of Helsinki, one of the 10 member institutions of the Finnish China Law Center, is one of the founding members of the Alliance.

The Summit was hosted by the People’s Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University) Law School, and was the fourth Summit since the establishment of the Alliance at Xi’an Jiaotong University in 2015, with the following two Summits organised respectively by the law schools of the University of New South Wales (Australia), and Wuhan University (China).

The 2018 Annual Summit included academic discussions and a meeting of Alliance deans.

The academic sessions included the book launch of the edited volume by Professor Wenhua SHAN, Professor Kimmo Nuotio, and Mr. Kangle Zhang. Professor Nuotio is Professor of Criminal Law in the Faculty of Law at the University of Helsinki and Kangle Zhang, who also attended and spoke at the Summit, is a Doctoral Researcher in the Faculty of Law of the University of Helsinki.

The Summit also included presentations by participants from various member law schools on topics such as business activities and human rights along the Belt and Road (Professor Michael Hor of the University of Hong Kong), dispute settlement of electronic commerce (Professor Yun ZHAO of the University of Hong Kong), and environmental rights along the ‘Belt and Road’ initiative (Kangle ZHANG of University of Helsinki).

 

Professor Pia Letto-Vanamo, Dean of the Faculty of Law of the University of Helsinki, in middle front of photo, pictured with other attendees of the Annual Summit of the New Silk Road Law Schools Alliance in RUDN University, 27-28 September 2018. Photo courtesy of RUDN University.

 

At the deans’ meetings, issues including academic collaboration amongst member law schools, publication of research results, comparative law education and student exchange programs.

Law Schools represented at the Summit include the University of Hong Kong, National University of Singapore, Wuhan University, Xi’an Jiaotong University, University of New South Wales, University of Belgrade, University of Bergen, People’s Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University), and the University of Helsinki.

Thanks to Kangle Zhang, Doctoral Researcher in the Faculty of Law of the University of Helsinki, for contributing to this article.

Asianet’s annual ‘Academic Research Projects on Asia in Finland’ catalogue

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’.

Scholars and researchers were invited to update or submit information of their research projects via webropol: https://link.webropolsurveys.com/S/C8EBE5A100036FD7.

The new catalogue will be published on the Network’s website and in print during the annual Asian Studies Days, which were co-hosted in 2017 by Asianet and the Faculty of Law of the University of Helsinki, one of the 10 member institutions of the Finnish China Law Center.

The 2018 Asian Studies Days will be hosted by Aalto University, another of the Finnish China Law Center’s member institutions, on 17 – 18 October.

The 2017 research catalogue can be found here: http://www.asianet.fi/research-catalogue/.

Please direct questions to Dr Outi Luova (outluo (at) utu.fi), Director of Asianet and Vice Director of the Centre for East Asian Studies at the University of Turku.

 

GUEST LECTURE BY PROFESSOR LONG, BEIHANG UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL: CODIFICATION OF CIVIL LAW IN CHINA: RECENT DEVELOPMENTS AND FUTURE PROSPECTS

On Wednesday 29 November 2017, the Finnish Center of Chinese Law and Chinese Legal Culture hosted a guest lecture by Professor LONG Weiqiu of Beihang University, China.

Professor Long, a Fulbright Scholar and Dean of the Law School of Beihang University, gave a lecture on ‘Codification of Civil Law in China: Recent Developments and Future Prospects’.

The lecture was held in the Law Faculty of the University of Helsinki, a member institution of the Finnish China Law Center.

Dean Long’s lecture introduced the motivations, conditions and bases of the current codification of civil law in China, and discussed the controversies regarding the framework and other crucial matters.

Dean Long also commented on the relationship between the new civil code and the existing civil law system in China, and shared his thoughts on the prospects for future codification.

Professor Matti Mikkola commenting on Dean Long’s guest lecture in the Faculty of Law, University of Helsinki on 29 November 2017.

The event attracted senior scholars from the University of Helsinki, including Professor Pia Letto-Vanamo, incoming Dean of the Law Faculty, Professor Thomas Wilhelmsson (outgoing Chancellor of the University of Helsinki), Professor Matti Mikkola, and Professor Ulla Liukkunen, Director of the Finnish China Law Center.

Professor Long Weiqiu, Dean of the School of Law, University of Beihang.

The event was free and open to the public. No registration was required.