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).
‘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.
‘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’.
‘From the beginning, the Finnish China Law Center has received significant input to developing its core activities from the Peking University Law School, which has worked together on many research projects and co-organized a number of international academic events with the Center and its member institutions’, Professor Liukkunen said.
‘I would like to congratulate in particular my friends and colleagues from Peking University Law School, including Professor Zhang Shouwen, Professor Ye Jingyi, Professor Li Ming, Professor Liang Genlin, Associate Professor Su Jiang, Assistant Professor Yan Tian and many others whose contributions have led to strong Sino-Finnish cooperation across different fields of law’.
‘Assistant Professor Chen Yifeng has also been instrumental in building the strategic relationship in legal research and education between the University of Helsinki and Peking University, and more broadly between legal academia in China and the Nordic countries’, Professor Liukkunen said.
As was the case with the first Workshop, the event was attended by a diverse range of people. The over 80 registered attendees of more than 10 nationalities included university scholars, think tank researchers, diplomats, students, lawyers, those working in business (ranging from large multinational corporations to startups), entrepreneurs and government representatives.
Professor Julie Yu-Wen Chen, Professor of Chinese Studies and Director of Confucius Institute at the Faculty of Arts at the University of Helsinki, discussed the relationship between culture and research involving contemporary China.
Professor Matti Nojonen (University of Lapland), Deputy Chair of the Finnish China Law Center, drew upon his experience in China and ongoing research when talking about the ‘Intersections of Economics, Business and the Law in China: Implications for Legal Research’.
Another well-received presentation at the Workshop was given by Post-doctoral Researcher Dr Yihong Zhang (University of Helsinki), who drew upon her academic background and experience as a corporate lawyer in China when speaking on the China’s Company law regime.
The Workshop ended with Rector’s Reception hosted by Dean Letto-Vanamo, which provided an excellent opportunity for speakers and participants to network and have in-depth discussions about the themes covered during the Workshop.
On 18 April 2018, the Finnish China Law Center and the University of Helsinki, one of the Center’s 10 member institutions, hosted a guest lecture by Assistant Professor Yan Tian of the Peking University School of Law on ‘How Important is China’s Constitution in the Chinese Legal System?’
Assistant Professor Yan shared three Chinese constitutional law prospects. First, constitutionally-based judicial review would likely not be feasible. Second, legislative review of the legality of administrative regulations may be much more robust. But such review has nothing to do with China’s constitution. Third, Chinese citizens might employ ‘constitutional discourse’ much more than previously.
But two main uncertainties remain, Assistant Professor Yan said. First: Will the NPC interpret and implement China’s constitution, and if so, how? Second: Will the Chinese state tolerate constitutional discourse, especially when such a discourse may be framed against the state?
Following his lecture was a robust discussion among participants on the implications for Chinese law and legal theory of the recent constitutional changes, prospects for constitutionalism in China, and a broader discussion of other developments in the Chinese political/legal system.
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.
‘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’.
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’.
NEWDAY is a training program that addresses current global challenges in a unique social setting. The program emphasizes cultural understanding and cross-cultural communication with classroom teaching, lectures, discussions, socializing, workshops, and excursions, and features lectures by prominent scholars, journalists, and thinkers as well as debates and dialogue between students and teachers on the burning issues of our time.
The main themes of the 2018 include gender and society; media and activism; and climate crisis and environmental degradation.
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.