The annual Sino-Finnish Days, held at the Nordic Center in Fudan University, represented yet another important initiative in a year marked by a growing number of legal research and education activities between China and the Nordic countries.

The two day conference provided a platform for Chinese and Finnish researchers to meet and share perspectives on areas of common interest.

The themes of this year’s conference, held on 24 and 25 October, were children and youth, education, environment and public health.

Associate Professor Suvianna Hakalehto, one of Finland’s leading scholars of child law and education law, was a member of the large Finnish delegation.

Based in the Faculty of Law of the University of Eastern Finland, a member institution of the Finnish China Law Center, Professor Hakalehto gave a presentation titled ‘From Social Problem to Rights Holders: Development of Children’s Rights in legislation and in legal research in Finland’.

According to Professor Hakalehto, the conference proved an excellent opportunity to discuss in-depth a range of issues of critical, and growing, importance to both China and the Nordic countries.

‘China is grappling with many of the same challenges as Finland the Nordic countries, including how to fully respect the rights and interests of children’, Professor Hakalehto says. ‘The chance to meet and share knowledge with Chinese colleagues working on these issues proved beneficial to both sides, and provided an enlightening comparative framework through which to develop the law and policies of our respective countries’.

The Finnish delegation also included representatives from other member institutions of the Finnish China Law Center, including Professor Heli Ruokama of the University of Lapland, Professor Jussi Kauhanen of the University of Tampere, and Professor Gyöngyi Kovacs from the Hanken School of Economics.

This year’s conference was a part of the Finland 100 festivities and was organized by the Finnish member universities of the Nordic Centre Fudan University.

Fudan University, a key partner in China of the Finnish Center of Chinese Law and Chinese Legal Culture.


International and comparative child protection research is in great demand in China, as the country continues to develop its child welfare policies and child protection practices.

The Sino-Finnish Center for Child Protection Research, led by Professor Zhao Fang, Director of the Department of Social Work in Fudan University, is well-placed to provide high-level expertise and experience needed to meet this increasing demand.

The Center is a joint project between Fudan University and the University of Eastern Finland, a member institution of the Finnish China Law Center.

The Center’s main goal is to promote interdisciplinary research and education in the fields of child welfare and child protection, says Associate Professor Suvianna Hakalehto.

A child law and education law scholar, Professor Hakalehto is a member of the Scientific Committee of the Center and one of her forthcoming projects with the Center concerns the position of migrant children in China.

The project will also involve Professor Juha Hämäläinen, also of the University of Eastern Finland, and Professor Yuan Ren, Deputy Director of the Institute of Population Research at the University of Fudan.

‘Contemporary Chinese welfare ideology and policies aim at negotiating and merging the traditional family concept and beliefs expressing a hundred years’ development and the modern civilization of late’, Professor Hakalehto says.

‘In research concerning the rights of children, and the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, it is important to pay attention to cultural aspects’.

‘For me, learning about the Chinese legal system and the country’s child protection paradigm has been personally enriching and professionally rewarding’, says Professor Hakalehto. ‘I hope to contribute to the Chinese discussion about the legal position of children’.

During her visit in October 2017 to the Center, Professor Hakalehto met Professor Lu Zhian, a Professor of Law at the Fudan University School of Law.

One of China’s leading scholars in the field, Professor Zhian invited Professor Hakalehto to Fudan University in 2018 to lecture on human rights in the school environment.


(Left to right) Professor Juha Hämäläinen, Professor Suvianna Hakalehto and Professor Lu Zhian

‘This is a great opportunity, and I look forward to another exciting visit to China and to learning more about the Chinese legal system and Chinese cultural generally’, Professor Hakalehto says.