The annual China Research Day for 2017 will be held on Thursday 9 November from 13:30 – 15:30 at the University of Helsinki (Unioninkatu 35 (1st floor), Auditorium 116). 

The event is organized jointly by the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, the Finnish Center of Chinese Law and Chinese Legal Culture, the Faculty of Law of the University of Helsinki, the Confucius Institute of the University of Helsinki, and the Finnish Network for Asian Studies (Asianet).

The event is part of the Asian Studies Days 2017, sponsored by the Joel Toivola Foundation.

‘China-US Relations and Asian Security’ 

East Asia has for decades been a haven of stability. Despite the historical grievances affecting the intra-regional relations politically, the economic interdependencies have made the region’s actors seek cooperation over conflict. Recently, worries have emerged about the situation changing. China’s actions in the East and South China Seas can be regarded as more assertive than before, the presidency of Donald Trump has introduced a heightened level of tension in China–US relations, and the bold nuclear and missile tests by North Korea have actualized the risk of a military confrontation in the region in an unprecedented manner. The theme “China–US Relations and Asian Security” will be discussed by two prominent keynote speakers, highlighting the views from Asia and China in particular.

Registration process

The participants of the seminar are also invited to a reception hosted by the City of Helsinki (by pre-registration only, for a limited number of participants).

Those who would like to participate in the event are kindly asked to confirm their participation both to the seminar and the reception by Wednesday 1 November by filling out this registration form:

When filling out the form, please indicate any dietary restrictions.


13:00 Tea and coffee

13:30 Chair: Elina SINKKONEN, Senior Research Fellow, the Finnish Institute of International Affairs

Welcoming words and introduction to the theme: Julie CHEN, Professor of Chinese Studies, University of Helsinki

The United States and China Today: The Emerging Strategic Retrenchment in Dynamic Uncertainties: SHI Yinhong, Professor of International Relations, Renmin University of China

Comments: Sabine BURGHART, University Lecturer, Center of East Asian Studies, University of Turku

China’s Strategy in the South China Sea Dispute: LI Mingjiang, Professor, Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Comments: Jyrki KALLIO, Senior Research Fellow, the Finnish Institute of International Affairs

15:30 End of seminar

18:30–19:30 Reception hosted by the City of Helsinki, Old Court House, Aleksanterinkatu 20

Please note that the dress code for the reception is smart casual. Once your registration has been confirmed you will receive an invitation for the reception which you need to print out and present at the entrance.

Further information

Biographies of the speakers and further information about the event can be found here.

If you have any questions or for further information, please contact Kukka-Maria Kovsky via telephone at +358 9 432 7718 or via email at kukka-maria.kovsky (at)

Organizing institutions

The China Research Day event is proudly organized by:











Director of the Finnish China Law Center, Professor Ulla Liukkunen, Elected as Member of the Board of Directors of the European China Law Studies Association

The Director of the Finnish Center of Chinese Law and Chinese Legal Culture, Professor Ulla Liukkunen, has been 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).

The European China Law Studies Association (ECLS) was founded in 2006. Since then, it has grown into an important global forum for scholars and practitioners engaged in Chinese law research and education.

ECLS has over 300 members from across the world who are dedicated to ECLS’s goal of advancing comparative and interdisciplinary research on Chinese law.

The election of Professor Liukkunen is recognition of the efforts of the Finnish China Law Center and its ten member institutions, as detailed in the Center’s recent Report, in advancing China law research and education in Finland and the Nordic countries.

Professor Liukkunen joins a small group of internationally-renowned China law scholars on the Board of Directors.

The other members of the Board of Directors are: Professor Dr. Björn Ahl, University of Cologne (President), Professor Stéphanie Balme, Sciences Po (Vice President), Professor Xi Chao, Chinese University of Hong Kong (Treasurer), Dr Rogier Creemers, Oxford University, and Professor Ronald Brown, University of Hawai’i.

Professor Ulla Liukkunen speaking at the Rule of Law Forum (Chinese Academy of Social Science, Beijing, November 2016).

A key initiative of the ECLS is its annual conference, which brings together leading scholars from Europe, China and other regions to exchange knowledge and experience on Chinese law. These conferences also serve as an important platform for research collaboration. The 2017 conference was held in Leiden and focused on helping young scholars improve their international careers and develop their methodological skill set when researching Chinese law.

Questions about the activities of the ECLS can be directed at the Finnish China Law Center (stuart.mooney (at) or to the ECLS itself.


The Confucius Center at the University of Helsinki is calling for submissions to present at the Helsinki Conference on Chinese Model of Governance to be held on 20 March 2018 at the University of Helsinki, Finland.

Scholars are invited to revisit discussions of the Chinese model of governance and articulate the old and new features of Xi Jinping’s model of governance. Most current research on the China model debates whether there is such model, and the characteristics and essences of the model if it exists. This conference welcomes critical empirical case studies of various manifestations of the Chinese model of governance, ranging from local governance, local election, civil society to economic policies.

Keynote speakers to the conference are Oscar Almén, Uppsala University, Sweden, and Zhongyuan Wang from Fudan University, China.

Submissions to present at the conference are requested by 1 November 2017.

Please the title of your proposed presentation, an abstract (150 words), brief biographical information and contact details to the Director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Helsinki, Professor Julie Chen, at julie.chen (at)

8th Sino-Finnish Comparative Law Seminar a ‘tremendous success’

On 28-29 August 2017, the Finnish Center of Chinese Law and Chinese Legal Culture organized the 8th Sino-Finnish Bilateral Seminar on Comparative Law. The seminar is held annually and its location alternates between China and Finland. This year the seminar was hosted by two of the Finnish China Law Center’s member institutions, the University of Helsinki and University of Tampere.

CASS Law delegation in Finland

The value of the seminar as a vehicle for meaningful legal collaboration and comparative law exchange was underscored by the visit of six academics from a leading Chinese research and education institution, the Chinese Academy of Social Science (CASS) Institute of Law. These distinguished academics included the Director of the Institute of Law, Professor Li Lin, and Professor Xie Zengyi.

Both of these well-respected academics have had long connections with the Finnish China Law Center. The seminar also brought together researchers from universities across Finland, including active representation and participation from most of the Center’s 10 member institutions.

Professor Li Lin, Director of the CASS Institute of Law, at the opening of the bilateral seminar

Strengthening Finnish – and Nordic – bilateral cooperation 

According to Professor Li Lin, this year’s seminar was a ‘tremendous success’. A sentiment repeated throughout the seminar was the importance of further deepening legal education and research collaboration between not just Finland and China, but China and other Nordic countries.

As was underscored by Professor Li Lin, Professor Kimmo Nuotio, Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Helsinki, and Professor Ulla Liukkunen, Director of the Finnish China Law Center, the long and rich historical relationship between Finland and China provides fertile ground in which deepening cooperation can flourish.

The importance of strengthening bilateral legal education and research between Finland and China transcends the historical connections linking the two countries.

Professor Li Lin highlighted four key areas of mutual concern. First, there is significant alignment between China’s values and ideas and the concept of solidarity in the Nordic context. Second, there is overlap between the goals of China and Finland’s social security systems, with China seeking to actively learn from the Nordic welfare model. Third, environmental rights are an area of mutual concern, with China transitioning towards ‘Green China’ and emphasizing the importance of having an ‘ecological civilization’. And fourth, the rule of law, human rights and judicial cooperation are areas of joint interest.

While China’s legal system has changed significantly in these respects, there ‘still remains much to be done’, Professor Li Lin said.

Seminar co-organizer Professor Jukka Viljanen from the University of Tampere echoed these thoughts. He observed that it is important that we recognize Finland and China face common issues, which can be fruitfully approached from a comparative law perspective.

(Left to right) Professor Ulla Liukkunen, Director of the Finnish China Law Center; Professor Li Lin, Director of the CASS Institute of Law; and Professor Kimmo Nuotio, Chair of the Board of the Finnish China Law Center and Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Helsinki.

The seminar tradition is not simply a unique opportunity for the robust exchange of views on areas of mutual concern. Rather, it has also been a practical forum that may result in new bilateral research projects, like the one on law and gender, as Professor Liukkunen underscored.

In China, the bilateral seminars and resulting collaboration impacted on policy-making. Professor Li Lin noted that ‘the exchange of knowledge, experience and expertise have manifested themselves in reports that have influenced Chinese decision makers’.

‘So while this is an academic platform’, Professor Li Lin said, ‘it has a practical impact on development of rule of law in China and its modernization. It has a real impact’.

Among other concrete proposals for expanding the relationship between CASS and the member institutions of the Finnish China Law Center, Professor Li Lin said CASS’s new university provides an additional ‘platform to further expand our cooperation’.

Thematic areas of the seminar

This year’s seminar covered four legal fields. Focusing on such a multidimensional spectrum of issues provided rich opportunities for comparative assessments. Comparisons were made not just between Finnish and Chinese law and legal practice, but with the Nordic legal model more broadly.

The first legal field to be discussed was child law. This involved presentations by Associate Professor Suvianna Hakalehto from the University of Eastern Finland and Professor Xie Zengyi from the CASS Institute of Law. University Lecturer Dr. Niina Mäntylä, from the University of Vaasa, added comments and stimulated a lively discussion on children’s rights at school and China’s ‘Two Child Policy’.

Professor Jukka Viljanen from the University of Tampere, co-organizer of the conference, giving his presentation on the environmental right in the Finnish constitution

The second thematic area covered was transport law. Professor Ellen Eftestöl-Wilhelmsson from the University of Helsinki spoke on the role of environmental information in promoting a sustainable transport industry. Associate Professor Li Zhong from the CASS Institute of Law gave an overview of developments in Chinese transport law in China. Lastly, Professor Lena Sisula-Tulokas adroitly drew out common themes, parallels and challenges facing both Finland and the Nordic countries.

A third thematic area analyzed was public procurement. University Lecturer Dr Kristian Siikavirta shared his knowledge of the European and Finnish public procurement systems and how they work based on his research at the University of Vaasa.

Associate Professor Wang Xiaomei presented her impressively data-driven research undertaken in the CASS Institute of Law into transparency in public procurement in China. In her comments, Post-Doctoral Researcher Dr. Zhang Yihong, based in the University of Helsinki, identified broader political/legal implications of the presentations and highlighted areas of further research.

Environmental law was the final area to be discussed. This was clearly a field of significant mutual interest. Professor Antti Belinskij, based at the University of Eastern Finland, discussed international Water Conventions and Finnish-Russian cooperation. Professor Li Honglei from the CASS Institute of Law spoke on judicial review of environmental impact assessment decision-making in China. In summing up, Dr Yulia Yamineva drew upon her experience as a Senior Researcher in the University of Eastern Finland and provided comments drawing together both comparative and international law dimensions.

Other presentations on environmental law were given by Professor Jukka Viljanen, who enlightened listeners on the environmental right in the Finnish constitution. Professor Viljanen’s talk provided a departure point for another visiting CASS Institute of Law researcher, Associate Professor Jin Shanming, to reflect on the constitutional protection of environmental rights in China. University Teacher Heta Heiskanen from the University of Tampere then highlighted how international human rights obligations contribute to environmental rights in Finland. Finally, Post-Doctoral Researcher Sanna Kopra from the University of Lapland identified key comparative law insights that formed the basis of a subject of lively discussion among participants on environmental rights in China and Finland.

Upcoming book publication

Reflecting the high quality of speeches and discussions over the two days, presentations given during the seminar will form the basis for chapters in an upcoming book to be published by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Concluding thoughts

Professor Ulla Liukkunen delivering remarks at the closing ceremony, highlighting the importance of comparative law collaboration and scholarship

The annual bilateral seminars play an important role in building legal research and education links between Finland and China. With such positive outcomes, this year’s seminar paves the way for future opportunities for Finnish and Chinese universities and research institutions to collaborate.

As Professor Liukkunen emphasized in her closing remarks, the seminar again highlighted the relevance of comparative law including the growing significance of the Nordic model in Chinese policy and academic circles.

‘We make comparisons’, Professor Liukkunen concluded. ‘We must realize that what appear to be similar can in fact be different. We need to have tools and equip ourselves to deal with obstacles and challenges in this undertaking, for which this seminar is a unique setting’.

Next year’s bilateral comparative law seminar will be held in China.


Associate Professor Li Zhong, CASS Institute of Law, with Professor Pia Letto-Vanamo, University of Helsinki, inspecting the China Law Center Collection in the main University of Helsinki library

Visit to Finnish China Law Center by Professor Lin Ka, Zhejiang University

On 7 September the Finnish China Law Center welcomed a visiting group from Zhejiang University, China. The group was headed by Lin Ka, Professor Social Policy and Social Work, and the group’s visit to the Finnish China Law Center was hosted by its Director, Professor Ulla Liukkunen.

This visit was something of a homecoming for Professor Lin, who lived in Finland and worked as a Doctoral Researcher (1994-1999) and Research Fellow (1999-2002) in one of the Finnish China Law Center’s member institutions, the University of Tampere. Later, Professor Lin worked as a Senior Researcher (2003-2006) in the University of Turku, another of the Center’s member institutions.

Professor Liukkunen, Director of the Finnish China Law Center, with Professor Lin, Zhejiang University

During the group’s visit, Professors Lin and Liukkunen discussed a wide range of legal topics including the value of conducting comparative law between China and the Nordic states, recent developments in Chinese labour and social security law, and the increased interest in Chinese academic and policy circles about the Nordic welfare model.

Professors Liukkunen and Lin also discussed concrete ways to strengthen the relationship between Zhejiang University and the Finnish China Law Center and its member institutions.

In recognition of the delegation’s visit, Professor Liukkunen presented gifts of two publications made as a result of the Finnish China Law Center’s work: Ulla Liukkunen and Chen Yifeng (eds), ‘China and ILO Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work’ (Kluwer Law International 2014) and Ulla Liukkunen and Chen Yifeng (eds), ‘Fundamental Labour Rights in China – Legal Implementation and Cultural Logic’ (Springer 2016).

Professor Lin with visiting students, Zhejiang University outside the Law Faculty, University of Helsinki

Zhejiang University, one of China’s leading research and education institutions, has relationships with a number of Finnish China Law Center member institutions. These include a mobility agreement between the Zhejiang University School of Management and the Hanken School of Economics and an institutional partnership with the University of Turku. More information about Zhejiang University’s relationship with the Center’s member institutions can be found in the Center’s recent report.

During its visit, the delegation was also hosted by the University of Helsinki’s Confucius Institute and its Director, Professor Julie Yu-Wen Chen.


Travel Grant Call: Experts for Matchmaking Tour to China (23-31 October 2017)

FinCEAL Plus Asia, a program financed by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture, has opened a targeted travel grant call to support the participation of 1-3 senior level experts from Finnish universities, universities of applied sciences or research institutions interested in attending the Matchmaking Tour to China (Chengdu, Beijing and Qingdao).

The Matchmaking Tour to China is organized by the European Research and Innovation Centre of Excellence in China (ERICENA) from 23-31 October 2017.

ERICENA will be officially launched and setup in Beijing in October 2017 with a first regional Centre in Chengdu, during Matchmaking tour in Beijing, Chengdu and Qingdao from 24th until 31 of October 2017.

More information about the Matchmaking Tour, including registration, can be found here.

The travel grant call is directed to experts – including legal experts – focusing on or interested in building further collaboration with partners in China. The thematic areas include renewable energy, ICT, health, food security and safety, water management, cleantech, and nanotechnology.

Please note that the travel grant call is only for senior level experts (with a strong academic background), of Finnish universities, universities of applied sciences and research centers, and residing in Finland only, and only for this particular event. Interested researchers should send a short description detailing their interest in the event and how it relates to their work and FinCEAL Plus Asia thematic areas. A CV or link to your profile should also be included.

FinCEAL Plus  Asia will award 1-3 grants. The maximum individual grants are between 1400€-1500€ depending on the destination and departure city in Finland. The grant can be used to cover travel, accommodation, and daily allowances. The deadline for sending the travel grant applications is 13 September. The deadline for the registration to the Matchmaking tour is 17 September.

More information about the travel grant call can be found here.

All applications and related questions should be sent by email to Jarkko Mutanen, Jarkko. Mutanen[at], Coordinator of FinCEAL Plus Asia.


On 21 August 2017, the Finnish China Law Center hosted a guest lecture by Professor Xi Chao, Vice-Dean and Vice Chancellor’s Outstanding Fellow of the Faculty of Law, The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

The lecture, titled ‘Biased Securities Regulators? Evidence from China’, was introduced by Professor Ulla Liukkunen, Director of the Finnish China Law Center.

Prof. Xi Chao, Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Law at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, discussing his research on Chinese securities regulators.

In his presentation, Prof. Xi discussed the much-debated question of whether securities regulators are sensitive to considerations that extend beyond the ‘mere merits’ of a case. While this question has received attention in the United States, little is known about the determinants of enforcement actions taken by regulators of Chinese securities markets.

Why is this important? Among other reasons, because the Chinese securities market is the second largest in the world.

During a stimulating presentation and discussion, Prof. Xi discussed his empirical research that involved manually collecting a new dataset on all so-called ‘disclosed’ securities enforcement actions, both formal and informal, taken against securities violations by Chinese securities regulators between 1998 -2016.

Prof. Xi’s research demonstrates that larger Chinese firms, those controlled by the state, those that are more politically embedded, and firms that cooperate more closely with securities regulators, are less likely to be targeted by regulatory enforcement actions. In addition, when these types of firms are targeted, they are more likely to fare better.

On the other hand, Prof. Xi’s research revealed what he considered a ‘counter-intuitive finding’: that closer personal bonds between people working in Chinese firms and securities regulators are likely to reduce the severity of enforcement actions, but are unlikely to minimize the likelihood of being targeted in the first place.

During his visit to Finland, Professor Chao also taught in the University of Helsinki Summer School Course, ‘Law and Society in China‘, coordinated and taught by the Finnish China Law Center’s postdoctoral researcher Dr. Yihong Zhang.


The Finnish Center of Chinese Law and Chinese Legal Culture and Faculty of Law, University of Helsinki are pleased to announce a guest lecture by Professor Xi Chao, Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Law, Chinese University of Hong Kong:

‘Biased Securities Regulators? Evidence from China’

TIME: 2 – 4pm, Monday August 21

PLACE: Law Faculty Meeting Room (P545), 5th floor of the Porthania Building (Yliopistonkatu 3, Helsinki).

The event is free of charge, open to everyone and no registration is needed.

Lecture overview

In the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis, a much debated topic in the academic and policy discourse on securities regulation is whether securities regulators are sensitive to considerations beyond just the merits of the case. While the literature is growing in regard to securities enforcement in the United States, little is known as of yet about the determinants of enforcement actions taken by the primary regulators of the Chinese securities markets, the second largest in the world. This research draws on a unique, hand-collected dataset on all disclosed securities enforcement actions, both formal and informal, taken against securities violations by the Chinese securities regulators during the period from 1998 through 2016. It offers a glimpse into the intensity of securities enforcement actions, both market-level and firm-level, in China. It also sheds important light on the determinants of Chinese securities enforcement practices. It shows empirically that firms that are larger in size, firms that are controlled by the state, and firms that characterize with a higher level of political embeddedness, and firms that cooperate more closely with the securities regulators are less likely to be targeted and, when they are targeted, they are more likely to fare better. A somewhat counter-intuitive finding of this research is that a closer personal bond with the securities regulators are likely to reduce the severity of enforcement actions, but are unlikely to minimize the likelihood of being targeted in the first place.

This research has been supported by a General Research Fund (CUHK-452913) from the Hong Kong SAR Research Grants Council.

Biography of Professor Xi

Dr Xi is Professor and Vice Chancellor’s Outstanding Fellow of the Faculty of Law, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). He specializes in comparative corporate law, securities regulation, and financial regulation, and has published extensively in leading peer-reviewed international journals. He is Professorial Research Associate of the SOAS China Institute, University of London, and a Board Member of the European China Law Studies Association.

Further information

For questions about this, and other events organized or facilitated by the Finnish Center of Chinese Law and Chinese Legal Culture, please contact Center Coordinator Stuart Mooney (stuart.mooney (at)

Interview with Renwen Liu, Director of the CASS Criminal Law Department

Mr. Liu in the office of the Center Coordinator, Iina Tornberg.

Prof. Dr. Renwen Liu, Director of the Criminal Law Department of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), is a specialist in Chinese criminal law. Starting his career at the CASS Law Institute as early as 1993, he has extensive experience in the field both in China and abroad. Mr. Liu has been a research fellow at top-ranked universities such as Oxford, Yale, Harvard, and Columbia University in New York, and has visited a number of universities across Western Europe as well as in Russia and in Asia. His post as the Director of the Criminal Law Department has a wide array of responsibilities in Beijing, which currently binds him to the city for most of the time. The Finnish China Law Center had the great pleasure to host Mr. Liu during the Chinese New Year, a big Chinese holiday celebration – a time when Beijing is bustling with festive social activities. Even though engaged in research and seminars during the holiday, Mr. Liu finds the stay in Finland “nice and relaxing.”

As Professor of criminal law and Director of the Criminal Law Department of CASS, Mr. Liu is involved in an array of different fields. The CASS professors work closely with the government, offering consultancy, advice and expertise in the field of law, which they gain from research as well as cooperation with other sectors of the society. For instance, Mr. Liu’s recent cooperation with the Chinese Securities Regulatory Commission gets him on top of the newest developments in financial criminal activity. He has also assumed the responsibility for researching major judicial topics for the Supreme Court, such as that of cybercrime and the difficulties in applying justice in cyberspace.

The current challenges faced by the Chinese legal society have an international dimension and are faced by countries worldwide. Even though the Chinese legal system is different from that of European states, China’s approach is to be open-minded and learn from others. “It is very important that we learn from each other and from the international community, especially in new areas such as terrorism and cybercrime. China learns from other countries and cares about the reactions of the international community.”

In the light of cross-border challenges, Mr. Liu emphasizes the importance of comparative research in the drafting of new Chinese laws. For example, Mr. Liu was one of the advisors in drafting a new Chinese anti-terrorist law.  For background and guidance, information was collected from other countries such as Germany, France, Russia and the United States to see how they were dealing with similar issues. “Each country usually focuses on its domestic system of criminal justice. They have their relatively independent criminal law, criminal court and legal culture. We should share mutual respect for each other’s systems and approach them with understanding. But in areas such as counterterrorism, we need to strengthen cooperation in international criminal justice and its application in order for it to become more effective.”

China is also challenged by international pressure to abide by certain western standards, for instance in defining a suitable punishment for criminals, and its implementation of the death penalty. On the one hand, criminal activity has to be punished. “But the other side of the coin is that we also need to protect human rights,” Mr. Liu says. China often faces criticism from the international for the treatment of criminal suspects, defendants and prisoners. However, fundamental differences between China and Western societies should not to be neglected. China is still a developing country. “Thirty years ago, the Chinese society was still very poor. Even today many peasants in the countryside are poor,” Mr. Liu reminds. The pace of economic reforms in China has been very rapid, and as a result of government policies, millions of people have been lifted out of poverty. “China’s economic development is not only a contribution to the international community, but has also helped to restore wealth and wellbeing to many of the Chinese poor areas. This is the most important contribution to the human rights development. I really think that our human rights situation is getting increasingly better.” Mr. Liu also notes that this development has been possible due to the relative stability of the country. “There is no war, no massive movements, no fighting.”

Mr. Liu checking out Iina Tornberg’s books.

The newfound wealth and the still-existing poverty in China are not the only differences between China and Western Europe. Also the vast size of the Chinese population – 1.3 billion people – and the differing cultural traditions sometimes pose an impediment for reaching mutual understanding. “In Chinese criminal law, death penalty is perceived as a normal punishment for serious crimes. This is accepted by our culture – our people and our government. But the international trend is for the abolition of the death penalty.” Mr. Liu points out that the trend of abolishing the death penalty has, however, been noticed in China: the number of death penalties has decreased by half compared with the number ten years ago. Still, Western critics and human rights advocates claim that it should be abolished all together. “Execution as a payment for taking away the life of another human being is deeply rooted in the Chinese culture. Therefore, even though for non-violent crimes we can abolish the death penalty, for the crime of murder, the death penalty is still relevant. We shouldn’t try to run before learning how to walk; we need to progress gradually. Of course, even for the crime of murder we are limiting the scope of death penalty implementation,” says Mr. Liu.

The different perceptions of the domestic and international audiences are highlighted by the example of the death penalty. “For Chinese, these numbers are great progress. But for the international community the numbers are still unacceptable. From the domestic standpoint, there has been big improvement in the condition of human rights. But from the international standpoint, there is still distance to the ideal situation.” As we speak of human rights, Mr. Liu admits that China is not perfect – but then again, each country has their own problems. As long as the Chinese society keeps steady in its course towards improving the quality of people’s wellbeing, Mr. Liu sees the situation in a positive light.

Coming back to the role of comparative research, Mr. Liu believes there are great benefits in engaging with the international community. “In the past years, we’ve learned a lot from the UN and the international society. We are thankful for that. They give us good references when we make our laws.” It is clear that in comparative research, China is looking to other big powers such as the US, Germany and France. But what about a small country like Finland? Mr. Liu sees Finland as a part of a greater whole: the Nordics. The Nordics as a region has become a major point of interest to the Chinese. “Most Chinese people think that the Nordic countries are good. In China, we also say that we are a socialist country. And we say that the Nordic countries are the newest socialist countries. They don’t have such a big gap between the rich and the poor. But for China this is a big social problem. We have highly advanced cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, but the countryside and western areas are poor. So people say that we should learn from the social welfare system of the Nordic countries.”

Mr. Liu appreciates the dedication of Finland towards comparative study of law between Finland, as well as the Nordics, and China. Certainly there are big challenges in adapting desired Nordic elements into the Chinese society. Yet, through continued cooperation and comparative research which identifies key similarities and differences between the approaches of our respective countries, we can foster mutual understanding, create a good platform for communication and cultural exchange, and together develop better solutions for the future.