CHINA LAW WEEK 2020 SESSION 1: CHINESE LAW AND LEGAL CULTURE – A DIVERSITY OF APPROACHES

The China Law Week 2020 kicked off with the first session entitled “Chinese Law and Legal Culture – a Diversity of Approaches”. The session was chaired by Professor Pia Letto-Vanamo, Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Helsinki.

Chair of the session, Professor Pia Letto-Vanamo  speaking on “Taking Account of History When Researching Contemporary Law”, 20 October 2020

The session began with a presentation titled “Taking account of History When Researching Contemporary Law” by Professor Letto-Vanamo. She emphasized the importance of history when researching comparative differences. In Professor Letto-Vanamo´s opinion, knowledge of contemporary politics alone is not sufficient to understand the reasons for comparative differences. She found that the only way to understand Chinese Law is to understand its history, not just legal history but for instance philosophical history and general Chinese mentality as well.

Professor Björn Ahl speaking on “Different Approaches to Chinese Legal Culture”, 20 October 2020

In the second presentation of the session, Professor Björn Ahl from the University of Cologne discussed the different approaches to Chinese legal culture. He first explained the Chinese legal culture, observing that Chinese legal culture as a residual concept lacks explanatory value, invites essentialized approaches to Chinese culture, and more prone to legal orientalism. Professor Ahl then introduced the Chinese legal culture in law-related Chinese studies at the University of Cologne, pointing out that learning Chinese law needs to start from an external and comparative perspective.

Associate Professor Joanna Grzybek speaking on “Dispute Resolution in China: A Language Perspective “, 20 October 2020

The third presentation on “Dispute Resolution in China: A Language Perspective” was given by Associate Professor Joanna Grzybek from Jagiellonian University in Kraków, who is also Deputy Head of the Polish Centre for Law and Economy of China. Professor Grzybek started by giving the overall legal status regarding dispute resolution in China. She stated that due consideration should be given to how language affects international communication and our frames of mind. She stressed that not only legal, but also historical and sociological angles are needed in legal linguistics research.

Professor Johanna Niemi speaking on “Law and Gender: Finnish and Chinese Perspectives”, 20 October 2020

Professor Johanna Niemi from the University of Turku gave the next presentation on “Law and Gender: Finnish and Chinese Perspectives”. She focused on the positioning of the researcher while doing research in another culture and especially when working with the experts from a society different from the one the researcher is custom to. She highlighted the importance of remembering that post-colonial is not just history in many countries but something that still has an impact on the work culture and relationships to other countries even today.

Professor Kimmo Nuotio speaking on “Criminal Law in the Context of Rule of Law: Finnish and Chinese Perspectives”, 20 October 2020

The session closed with the last presentation about “Criminal Law in the Context of Rule of Law: Finnish and Chinese Perspectives” by Professor Kimmo Nuotio from the University of Helsinki. Professor Nuotio talked about how differently Finland and China approach criminal law and the concept of rule of law. In Finland, criminal law has to be compliant with the constitution, meaning that the state must ensure the protection of every individuals’ rights as well as the division of powers and an independent judiciary. In China, however, criminal law has a long tradition of enforcing justice with harsh methods and not guaranteeing fundamental rights or independence of the judiciary.

The Center would like to thank our interns, Elias Jakala, Li Yuan, Anwar Al-Hamidi, Sukhman Gill and Johanna Fähnrich for contributing text for this article.

Finnish China Law Center expands cooperation beyond the Nordic

The year 2019 oversaw the fruitful collaboration between the Finnish China Law Center, Saint Petersburg State University, and the Polish Research Centre for Law and Economy of China.

On 18 October 2019, the three institutions co-organized an international conference on ‘Methodology of researching and teaching Chinese law.’ The conference created platform for discussion on the issues of Chinese law research and teaching through sharing of ideas, research and practice. It ended in tremendous success in terms of both participation and reception. This suggested a strong interest among Finnish, Russian and Polish scholars and specialists in China law education and research, and strong potential for Chinese law-related inter-institutional cooperation.

The year 2020 promises further collaboration between the three institutions in the form of seminars, workshops, and dialogues.  For starter, researchers from Saint Petersburg State University, and the Polish Research Centre for Law and Economy of China will join and contribute their expertise in the Nordic China Law Week 2020 during 20 to 23 April  at the University of Helsinki.

The Center welcomes students, researchers, practitioners, and the wider public from all over the world to take part in an exciting week packed with presentations and discussions surrounding the current hot topics in Chinese law and legal culture.

‘The Center would like to take this opportunity to expand our impact in fostering education and research on Chinese law, and strengthen our contacts and partnerships with other institutions that conduct Chinese law research and education within and beyond the Nordic,’ says Director Ulla Liukkunen.

From left to right: Professor Ulla Liukkunen, Director of the Finnish China Law Center; Assistant Professor Piotr Grzebyk, Head of the Polish Research Center for Law and Economy of China; and Associate Professor Elena Sychenko, Head of the undergraduate programme in Jurisprudence (with an in-depth study of the Chinese language and legal system) at Saint Petersburg State University

Nordic China Law Week 2018: Information Session on Online Chinese Legal Research

On 23 April 2018, the Finnish China Law Center and University of Helsinki, one of the Center’s 10 member institutions, hosted an information session on online Chinese legal research as part of Nordic China Law Week 2018 (17 – 23 April 2018), coordinated by the Finnish China Law Center.

The information session was attended by representatives from some of the Center’s member institutions, and focused in particular on the use of CNKI (Tsinghua University) and LawInfoChina (Peking University).

The Center provides access to LawInfoChina to its member institutions. More information about the LawInfoChina service offered through the Finnish China Law Center can be found on the Center’s blog.

In addition, later this year the Center will start a trial of certain CNKI products relating to legal research. During the trial, the Center’s member institutions will have access to these CNKI products. The dates of this trial will be informed on the Center’s blog when they have been finalized.

In addition to the various online services offered through the Center to its member institutions, the Center has a large and growing collection of legal publications in both English and Chinese. The Center’s collection is housed in the main library of the University of Helsinki.

A representative from online database provider CNKI (Tsinghua University) speaking at the Information Session on Online Chinese Legal Research in the University of Helsinki’s main library on 23 April 2018.