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
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.
Professor Chen noted that traditionally, International Financial Institutions (IFIs) had not been active in labor rights protection. However, since the late 1990s, the IFIs have grown more involved in labor matters. He pointed to the fact that since the 2000s, labor standards have been incorporated into the policy instruments of the IFIs, with examples set by the Asian Development Bank, the International Finance Corporation, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Bank, the Nordic Investment Bank, the African Development Bank and so on.
However, IFIs’ approach to labor protection has been different from each other. Specifically, the levels of labor protection afforded are uneven among the institutions and the enforcement of labor rights remains diverse in practice. Additionally, institutionalization of labor standards within the financial institutions varies in terms of degree and means. In the course of this development, the ILO has played a very important and indispensable role in the dissemination of knowledge and expertise about labor standards.
Professor Chen posited that IFIs’ growing engagement with labor protection has created a recognized body of labor standards that are formulated, applied and enforced in a transnational context. The application of labor standards is project-specific, and is not based on the principle of personam jurisdiction, but instead the principle of in rem jurisdiction, linked to projects financed by the IFIs.
He then discussed what constitutes the content of IFI labor standards. All four ILO core labor standards, namely freedom of association and collective bargaining, prohibition of forced labor, prohibition of child labor, and non-discrimination in respect of employment and occupation, are generally recognized. Additionally, IFI labor standards may involve safe working conditions and other workers’ rights. His presentation also illustrated how controversial labor standards recognized by the IFIs are by referring to the World Bank’s position regarding the highly politically sensitive issue of freedom of association.
The Finnish China Law Center’s planned event on 15 November 2018 in its ‘One Belt, One Road’ Series, a public guest lecture and discussion on ‘China and One Belt, One Road in the Post-World War II International Legal System’, has been cancelled. The Center apologies for any inconvenience.
The Finnish China Law Center’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ Event Series
The public guest lecture and discussion was the latest of many events in the Finnish China Law Center’s series on China’s massive economic and strategic agenda, the so-called ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative. Other events held earlier in 2018 as part of the series include:
In addition to his position as Professor Public International Law at the, Professor Sheng is Director of the One Belt, One Road Judicial Research Institute of the Supreme People’s Court of China.
Professor Sheng’s academic interests focus on international law, international relations, international organisation, international humanitarian law and international criminal justice. He has published over eighty articles in leading academic journals at home and abroad, as well as six books: Challenges and Responses in International Criminal Law (2017), Constraints on the Use of Force—Legal Aspects of Armed Conflict in Early 21st Century (co-author, 2014), NGO’s in Contemporary International Relation (2004), United Nations Peacekeeping Operations: Legal Aspects (2006), Developments in British Politics and Its Foreign Policy (2008) and State Responsibility under International Law in Anti-Terrorism Campaign (2008).
In June 2011, Professor Sheng was granted the title Qianjiang Professorship by the People’s Government of Zhejiang Province, China. He is Senior Colonel (Ret. & Res.) after retirement from military service in 2009. From April 2004 to April 2005, Professor Sheng was United Nations Expert on Mission for the MONUC in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, serving as Team Leader of Military Observers and Senior Liaison Officer. He was also appointed by the Chief of the Mission Chair of Independent Board of Inquiry to review international criminal cases. In April 2005, he was granted the United Nations Medal (In the Service of Peace).
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 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.
Professor Zhao Hongrui, Dean of the School of Humanities, Social Sciences and Law of Harbin Institute of Technology, has donated his major work on China, rule of law and national security to the Finnish China Law Center.
The Chinese-language publication, ‘China’s Civilized Rise and Rule of Law in National Security’ (China Legal Publishing House 2015) draws upon his inter-disciplinary research and insights gained in his roles as Vice-President of the WTO Law Institute and President of the One Belt, One Road Economic Security and Rule of Law Institute of the China Law Society.
‘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’, Professor Nuotio says.
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.
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’.