Book launch of ‘Normative Readings of the Belt and Road Initiative: Road to New Paradigms’ (Springer 2018)

On 29 August 2018, the Finnish China Law Center and the Faculty of Law of the University of Helsinki hosted the launch of the new book, Normative Readings of the Belt and Road Initiative: Road to New Paradigms (Springer 2018).

The book, edited by University of Helsinki scholars Professor Kimmo Nuotio and Doctoral Candidate Kangle Zhang, is an international collaboration with Chinese scholars.

Professor Shan Wenhua, 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, also co-edited the publication.

Front cover of the new publication (picture courtesy of Springer).

The event was hosted by the Dean of the Faculty of Law of the University of Helsinki, Professor Pia Letto-Vanamo.

An overview of the book and its main themes was given by one of the editors, Professor Kimmo Nuotio.

Comments on the new book were provided by Professor Ditlev Tamm (University of Copenhagen) and Associate Professor Chen Yifeng (Peking University), who is also Docent in the Faculty of Law, University of Helsinki.

The event was free and open to the public.

About the new book

The edited volume of 12 chapters provides normative readings on China’s foreign affairs ‘master plan’ and signature policy of Chinese President Xi Jinping, the ‘Belt and Road’ Initiative.

According to Professor Kimmo Nuotio, co-editor and author of the book’s epilogue, the publication is 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’, Professor Nuotio says.

Sino-Nordic Perspectives on the Belt and Road Initiative, Sustainable Development and Law: Nordic Center, Fudan University 29 – 30 October 2018

On 29 – 30 October 2018, the Nordic Centre at Fudan University will host the conference Belt & Road Initiative, Sustainable Development and Law: Sino-Nordic Perspectives.

The conference will focus on issues related to the so-called ‘Belt and Road Initiative’, a major international development and infrastructure project of the Chinese government and a signature policy of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Four themes will be addressed during the conference: (1) The legal and sustainability significance of the BRI (2) National, regional and global dimensions (3) Specific fields of law and sustainability; and (4) Practitioners’ legal perspectives.

The conference is a biannual event initiated by the University of Oslo, which co-organizes the event with Nordic institutions Lund University and the University of Reykjavik, as well as with two Chinese Law Schools (Fudan University and Tsinghua University).

A tentative conference program can be found on the website of the Nordic Center at Fudan University.

Call for papers and key dates

The conference language is English. Selected papers of the conference will be published in English.

The deadline for abstracts (500 words) is 11 June 2018.

The deadline for draft papers (5000 – 10000 words) is 15 September 2018.

Abstracts and draft papers should be sent to Maria Lundberg at the University of Oslo at a.m.c.lundberg (at)

More information

For more information, please contact Maria Lundberg at the University of Oslo on a.m.c.lundberg (at) or Magnus Jorem at the Nordic Center, Fudan University on magnus (at)



To mark the start of Nordic China Law Week 2018, on 17 April 2018 the Finnish China Law Center and Faculty of Law, University of Helsinki hosted a seminar on the theme ‘Trade Governance of China’s Belt and Road Initiative: Economic Logic and Institutional Arrangements’.

The keynote address was delivered by Professor Cheng Dawei of the Renmin University School of Economics, which has been consistently ranked by the Chinese Ministry of Education as the best university in China in both theoretical and applied economics.

Professor Cheng is Dean of the International Business Program at the Renmin University School of Economics and the author of seven books, including Belt and Road Initiative China’s Trade Governance and Policy (Routledge, May 2018).

Professor Cheng Dawei (Renmin University), speaking at the opening event of Nordic China Law Week 2018 (17 – 23 April 2018) in the University of Helsinki.

Professor Cheng’s keynote presentation addressed issues including the economic logic of the ‘One Belt, One Road’ (OBOR) initiative, value choices of its trade governance and the OBOR Initiative’s institutional and legal arrangements.

She also discussed what the future holds for this huge infrastructure project, a signature project of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

‘After assuming office, President Xi Jinping emphasized the value of global governance research’, Professor Cheng said.

‘Since the proposal and implementation of OBOR, China has introduced a number of new terms associated with global governance, such as ‘connectivity’ and ‘three communities of common destiny’. Collectively, these terms form China’s unique ideology on global governance’.

Professor Cheng said that OBOR is the largest regional cooperation initiative ever, covering Asia, Europe, and Africa.

‘At one end is the active East Asian economic circle, and at the other is the developed European economic circle, collectively involving over 60 countries, 60% of the global population, and a third of the world’s gross domestic product’.

Professor Cheng said that OBOR ‘respects the existing rules and frameworks of the multilateral system and has not been established to disrupt this system’.

‘On the contrary, China remains one of the strongest supporters of the existing multilateral system’.

Professor Cheng Dawei, author of ‘Belt and Road Initiative: China’s Trade Governance and Policy’ (Routledge, May 2018), presenting the keynote address during the seminar on ‘Trade Governance of China’s Belt and Road Initiative: Economic Logic and Institutional Arrangements’, 17 April 2018.

At the same time, Professor Cheng argued that ‘based on the principles of the World Trade Organization (WTO), China should establish OBOR trade governance theories that supplement, subdue, and innovate existing multilateral trade governance theories’.

‘The advancement and progress of OBOR should perpetually abide by WTO rules and accept the constraints established by the WTO’, Professor Cheng emphasized.

Professor Cheng concluded by noting that OBOR is a national trade strategy and does not contain mandatory laws.

‘Therefore, the existing rules of the WTO provide institutional support for OBOR’.

In his remarks, seminar moderator Dr Guilherme Vasconcelos Vilaça of the Faculty of Law, University of Helsinki thanked Professor Cheng for speaking during the opening of Nordic China Law Week 2018, summarized the core aspects of Professor Cheng’s address and challenged several of the arguments she advanced during her talk.

A lively discussion ensued between Professor Cheng, Dr Vilaça and seminar participants.

Dr Guilherme Vasconcelos Vilaça, moderator of the opening event of Nordic China Law Week 2018, in discussion with Professor Cheng (Renmin University) following her address on trade governance of China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative.

The event, organized with the support of the University of Helsinki Chinese Studies and Confucius Institute at the University of Helsinki, was one of many during Nordic China Law Week 2018. Other events included:

Wednesday 18 April: Latest Developments in Chinese Intellectual Property Law

Wednesday 18 April: How Important is China’s Constitution in the Chinese Legal System?

Thursday 19 April: China Law Research Workshop

Friday 20 April: Nordic China Law Scholars Meeting

Monday 23 April: Seminar: What People Management Practices Work Best in China Today? Cultural and Legal Perspectives

Monday 23 April: Information Session on Online Chinese Legal Research