The Finnish China Law Center’s role is aimed at deepening bilateral research and education cooperation between China and Finland on sustainability issues, including ‘corporate social responsibility, sustainable business practices, labour law, environmental law, Arctic-related laws and other fields of mutual interest’, according to the Plan.
Professor Yifeng Chen, Associate Professor and Assistant Dean (International) of Peking University Law School, says the Plan is ‘a testimony to how quickly the Finnish China Law Center has established itself over the years of its operation’.
‘The Center is an important platform for intellectual exchange between legal scholars in Finland and China, and increasingly the Nordic region as a whole’.
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).
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.
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’.
‘This reflects ever-deepening interest in Chinese law in the Nordic academic, and broader public, arena’.
‘In addition, Nordic China Law Week 2018 is being held in response to strong and growing interest in Chinese law and the Chinese legal system from the private and non-profit sectors’, Professor Liukkunen says.
‘In light of corporate demand, including from local SMEs and startups, Nordic China Law Week 2018 will include many events on Chinese business and corporate law, including Chinese intellectual property law’.
The Week is targeted at lawyers, those in business (including entrepreneurs), people working in governments or international organizations, academics, students, those working in NGOs /civil society and anyone with an interest in learning about Chinese law and legal culture.
All events are free and open to the public, with the exception of the Nordic China Law Scholars Meeting (aimed at senior scholars from education and research institutions in the Nordic region, though junior academics, including doctoral candidates, are welcome to join). The host of the Nordic China Law Scholars Meeting will be Professor Pia Letto-Vanamo, Dean of the Faculty of Law of the University of Helsinki.
The Workshop will provide an overview of how to approach Chinese legal research and comparative law research involving China.
The event will be of benefit to students, researchers and practitioners who are interested in Chinese law and the Chinese legal system, and provide an excellent opportunity for participants to meet and network with others who are working with, or interested in, Chinese law and legal culture.
The Joel Toivola Foundation is an independent Finnish foundation supporting Finnish academic studies on China.
The Foundation awards grants for talented young scholars in the fields of humanities and social science research on China, as well as for Finnish students’ Chinese linguistic studies in China.
The last deadline for applying for grants, including Research Fellowship and travel funds, closed on 15 February 2018 at 16:00.
Further information on the grants and detailed application instructions can be found on the Foundation’s website.
For further information on the Joel Toivola Foundation, please contact Foundation’s Executive Director, Mr. Mikko Eskola at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Joel Toivola
According to the website of the Joel Toivola Foundation, Ambassador Joel Toivola (1915-1999) worked for the Finnish Foreign Service in several important posts for more than three decades. He is especially remembered as a great friend of China and throughout his career encouraged relations between Finland and the People’s Republic of China. Mr. Toivola served as the Ambassador of Finland to Beijing from 1961 to 1967.
Upon his return, the Finnish China Law Center took the opportunity to discuss with Dr Hodzi his experience as Visiting Scholar at one of China’s best universities, and to learn more about his current research into Chinese politics and law.
Finnish China Law Center: Congratulations on your appointment as a Visiting Scholar at Renmin University. Before we discuss that experience, could you please say a little about your background?
Dr Hodzi:I’m aPostdoctoral Researcher in the Department of Cultures at the University of Helsinki. Before joining the University of Helsinki, I was a visiting scholar at the Institute for Peace and Security Studies, Ethiopia. I have also worked for various international and regional organizations in my home country of Zimbabwe, as well as Kenya and Germany on projects about democratic governance and transitional justice.
Finnish China Law Center: Can you explain your main research interests?
Dr Hodzi: I’ve long had an interest in China’s international political and legal engagement, including in relation to Africa. I obtained my PhD from a Chinese university, Lingnan University in Hong Kong, where I researched political and legal aspects of China’s military engagement in Africa. My current research focuses on emerging powers and global governance. In particular, I look at China-Africa security relations and politics in Africa, including the domestic and legal implications of China’s engagement.
Finnish China Law Center: How was your research assisted by working as a Visiting Scholar in China?
Dr Hodzi: Having lived and worked and lived in both China and different Africa has given me a more nuanced understanding of the different political and legal cultures and orders at play across China and throughout Africa. I’ve come to appreciate that reading, discussing and researching about China is nothing compared to seeing it in real life! This certainly was my realization during my research in mainland China. Being able to discuss with scholars, practitioners and other relevant actors in China – both Chinese and from other countries – enriched my research and has opened new avenues of future collaboration for which I am very grateful.
Dr Hodzi: This theme is timely and important, and it connects directly with my current and future work. Over the next two years my research focus will be on the Chinese model of development and governance in Asia and Africa. As China gets comfortable in its global primacy role, all roads are leading to Beijing. In the jostling for a piece of the China cake, there is obviously bound to be conflict and contractions regarding international law. For instance, this is seen in the case of the South China Sea dispute, as was discussed during the China Research Day and Asian Studies Days events, as well as anti-dumping measures against Chinese companies. I would also say that security issues will become even more important for both China and other countries as Chinese firms and citizens go abroad.
Finnish China Law Center: You are helping organize a Conference on the so-called ‘Chinese model’ of governance next year. What thematic ground will be conference cover, and why is the conference important?
Dr Hodzi: The Confucius Center at the University of Helsinki is organizing the Helsinki Conference on Chinese Model of Governance. It will be held on 20 March 2018. During the conference, scholars from Finland and abroad will re-visit discussions of the Chinese model of governance. The old and new features of President Xi’s model of governance will be discussed at length. The conference is important because the bulk of contemporary scholarship on the ‘China model’ questions whether such a model even exists. And even those who acknowledge the existence of such a model debate its characteristics. In light of this ongoing debate, the conference will discuss the various manifestations of the Chinese model of governance. These manifestations range from local governance, local election, civil society to economic policies. A particular strength of the conference will be its interdisciplinary nature, using a variety of perspectives such as critical empirical case studies. I’m already excited about it! We have great keynote speakers, too: Oscar Almén, Uppsala University, Sweden, and Zhongyuan Wang from Fudan University, China.
Finnish China Law Center: Finally, we understand that your book will be published shortly. Congratulations, and could you please say a little about it?
Dr Hodzi:My book, The End of a Non-intervention Era: China in African Civil Wars, will be published by Palgrave Macmillan (London) next year (fall 2018). I hope that it will help set the research agenda on emerging security issues emanating from China’s going out strategy. China is moving, and taking the world with it!