Understanding how the legal system functions in the Chinese society is vital for students who are interested in international affairs and the global economy. China’s increasing economic and political power and its evolving role in global governance have drawn international attention to its legal system.
The Chinese legal system is shaped by the country’s political arrangement and national heritage. China’s long history has produced rich cultural traditions that continue to influence the development of the Chinese legal system. While maintaining some features of the traditional legal culture, the contemporary legal system in China has also developed under the influence of the common law and civil law traditions.
Studying contemporary Chinese laws is vital in the age of globalisation for many reasons. Firstly, China’s rising economic and political power in the global order has warranted a close examination of its legal system. Various branches of law control and promote China’s domestic and international economic engagement. The legal framework maps how the Chinese government develops its socialist market economy and interacts with other countries and international institutions.
Secondly, learning contemporary Chinese law allows students to develop a broad and deep understanding of the social and political conditions in the country. Students can gain valuable insights into the mechanisms and inner logics of the laws and regulations that govern social relations and activities in contemporary Chinese society.
Thirdly, students of contemporary Chinese law can gain practical knowledge about how to interact with Chinese business entities, regulatory agencies, as well as individual citizens, in the context of business transactions, investment, employment, dispute resolution, and so forth. This practical understanding of the legal system and its role in the society can help students to develop their skills and expertise on which to build a transnational career.
Finally, studying Chinese law offers great comparative value. The Chinese legal field has transplanted legal norms and practices of common law and civil law jurisdictions in developed countries. Thus the Chinese laws provide a good vantage point for comparative studies.
Students enjoy a unique opportunity to develop their understanding of the Chinese legal system at the Faculty of Law, University of Helsinki. The Faculty of Law hosts the Finnish China Law Center, which regularly organises lectures, workshops and conferences related to Chinese law and legal culture. At the University library, students can access a growing collection of books and databases on Chinese law, in both English and Chinese. In the current and coming academic years, the Faculty of Law UH will organise the following courses on Chinese law. These courses are open to all UH students.
- The Helsinki Summer School course on Chinese law and society
- The Master of International Business Law
- Course on Chinese legal system
- Course on international arbitration from a Chinese perspective
- Course on Chinese business laws.
Welcome to the Faculty of Law to start your learning journey into Chinese law and society!
Text: Zhang Yihong, postdoc at Faculty of Law, University of Helsinki.