On 8 September, the Finnish China Law Center held an informal meeting between Björn Ahl, Professor and Chair of Chinese Legal Culture at the University of Cologne and students and researched at the Faculty of Law. This talk was titled as ‘Why and How Do We Study Chinese Law in Our Times’.
The talk highlighted various topics relevant to the students interested in Chinese law: current challenges, the features of Chinese legal system, and many aspects of academic cooperation between Western universities and China. Not least due to China’s zero-Covid strategy, the loss of physical access to Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan has caused damage to academic world. Practitioners and scholars have lost a way to discuss and conduct interviews with each other and the access to primary sources has been limited or made more difficult as a result. In the long run, this isolation might even lead to the lack of interest in the subject by younger researchers if longer stays are not possible.
However, the talk also shined some light on possible career prospects that remain for European students of Chinese law. China and developments of Chinese law will be influential for Europe as well, and despite the current challenges, Chinese markets remain as the most attractive in terms of long-term growth. This indicates why there is an urgent need of expertise on Chinese law in Europe.
Cooperation will not be easy. Academic freedom is limited in China and censorship of research publications is constantly taking place. Demand for cooperation still exists and some speculate Singapore’s development into a center of Chinese law research. For Europe, however, the most crucial thing remains to be the co-ordination of teaching and research of academic institutions in Europe. In any event, cooperation continues to be desired.
The blogpost was written by the Center’s intern, Samppa Penttinen.