Category: Event

And Things Just Got More Awesome: CECC To Host Hearing on Rights Lawyers

By , April 7, 2014

ceccToday, the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) added two new witnesses to it’s April 8 hearing on the recent and severe crackdown on China’s rights activists.  If Prof. Don Clarke of GW Law School and Dr. Sophie Richardson of Human Rights Watch were not enough of a draw, the CECC just added Jewher Tothi, daughter of recently detained Uyghur scholar and activist Ilham Tothi and human rights lawyer, Teng Biao.

For those not in Washington, D.C., the hearing will also be broadcast live on the CECC’s website.


Hearing:  Understanding China’s Crackdown on Rights Activists
Date: April 8, 2014
Time: 3:30 – 5 pm
Location: 418 Russell Senate Office Building
Live webcast can be found by clicking here.

The hearing will also be archived on the CECC’s website.

DC Event: The End of Re-education Through Labor? – May 9

Like many aspects of the Chinese legal system, “Re-Education Through Labor” (RTL) is a frequently-used anachronism, leaving outsiders scratching their heads as to how it can still exist.  First used in the 1950s under Mao Zedong, RTL is form of punishment and detention completely outside of the criminal justice system.  Instead, the RTL system imposes an administrative punishment carried out exclusively by the police – individuals are rarely tried or sentenced by a court before being sent to an RTL camp.  Although initially created to quash dissent and rid society of trouble-makers, today it is estimated that the vast majority of RTL prisoners

It’s a curious thing – in a country where the police already yield so much power and the judiciary is subject to the will of the Communist Party, why then is something like RTL even needed?  And doesn’t this type of extrajudical detention violate the Chinese Constitution let alone human rights treaties?

You would not be the only one asking these questions.  For the past year or more, the Chinese press has been filled with heated discussions and demands from more liberal scholars to get rid of RTL.  Even some parts of the Chinese government has called for its abolishment.

But it is still there.  Why?  And will it ever end?

These are the questions that will be discussed on Thursday in at a roundtable discussion hosted by the Congressional-Executive Commission on China.

Prof. Margaret Lewis, who gave an in-depth interview on China’s new Criminal Procedure Law (“CPL”) to China Law & Policy last September (click here to listen to the interview or read the transcript), will be speaking at this roundtable.  She will be joined by Ira Belkin, executive director NYU Law School’s US-Asia Law Institute and who just wrote a fascinating piece on the remnants of Maoist thought holding back China’s rule of law development (read it here).

Joining Prof. Lewis and Mr. Belkin will be joined by two very familiar with RTL – Li Xiaorong and Harry Wu.  Both naturalized U.S. citizens, both have felt the heavy hand of China as a result of their activism in their attempts to return to China (Li was denied a Chinese visa when she applied for one to attend her mother’s funeral and Wu was detained in 1995 when he returned to China on a valid visa).  Both have been focusing on the RTL system and have been important activists in calling for its abolishment.

The End of Re-Education Through Labor? Recent Developments and Prospects for Reform
Thursday, May 9, 2013
11 AM – 12:30 PM
Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 562

NYC Event: LGBT Rights in China – Nov. 7

By , October 24, 2012

China’s Comrades: New Developments in LGBT Rights
Social and political attitudes towards sexual orientation and gender identity are changing rapidly in China.  Vibrant new LGBT networks have sprung up around the country.  At the same time, activists report widespread discrimination against LGBT people, and Chinese media have reported on several hate crimes in recent years. 
Discussing the significance of these changes will be:
  • John C. Balzano, Visiting Assistant Professor, Boston University School of Law
  • Zhou Dan,  legal advocate and Executive Director of Yu Dan, a Shanghai-based organization with a mission to achieve positive perception of, and full recognition of, gay rights in China
  • Sam Zhao, leading lesbian activist and co-founder and co-editor of Les Plus, mainland China’s first lesbian magazine
Date: Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2010
Time: 4 pm – 5:50 pm
Where: Fordham Law School, Room 312
1.5 NY CLE Credits Free to Public Interest Lawyers ($90 for all others – please view RSVP page to arrange payment)

NYC Event: China’s Influence on International Human Rights – April 13

By , April 11, 2012

China’s rise raises a lot of questions for the rest of the world.  How will it flex its increasing military might?  What impact will its insatiable demand for resources have on the rest of the world?  Will its economy overtake the US’ in the near future?

Another question that is being raised with more frequency is: as China becomes a more equal player on the world stage, how will its views of human rights impact the development of international human rights laws and the role of the United Nations.

On Friday, April 13, RightsLink, a human rights law research organization based out of Columbia Law School, will host a forum examining exactly the issue of China’s influence on international human rights discourse.  It is likely inevitable that China will begin to have a louder voice on the human rights world stage, but is that destined to be a bad thing?  Find out on Friday at what will likely prove to be a thought-provoking discussion.


Rightslink Henkin Forum: Rise of China and Its Influence on Human Rights

Friday, April 13th, 2012
1:30 – 4:30 (2 Panel Discussions – see below)
Columbia Law School

Room 103, Jerome Greene Hall
435 W 116th Street
Box Lunches will be Served

1:30 – 2:45 pm   China, the UN, and  Influence on International Human Rights

  Moderator: Professor Ben Liebman – Robert L. Lieff Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Chinese Legal Studies, Columbia Law School
  Thomas Kellogg – Program Director, Open Society Institute; Adjunct Professor, Fordham Law School
  Steven Hill Counselor for Legal Affairs, United States Mission to the United Nations
  Eva Pils – Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, Chinese University of Hong Kong
3:00 – 4:30 pm China’s Relationship with Africa and its Impact on Human Rights 
  Moderator: TBA
  Matt Wells – Researcher, Africa Division, Human Rights Watch
Sarah Cook – Senior Research Analyst, East Asia, Freedom House

NYC Event – How are Legal Services Administered In China – Mar 12

By , March 7, 2012


Light refreshments will be served at the China Chat!

Hopkins Nanjing Center and Asia Catalyst are sponsoring an informal “China Chat” about legal services organizations in China.  Lawyers from the All China Environment Federation and from the Beijing Migrant Worker Legal Aid Station will speak about their work, cases they have brought and obstacles they have faced.  We read about the work of many of these lawyers in the New York Times and the South China Morning Post, but rarely is there an opportunity to hear directly for the lawyers doing the work themselves.


RSVP is required to this exciting event:


March 12, 2012
6:30 pm – 8 pm
Ethan Cohen Fine Arts Gallery (ECFA)
14 Jay Street
Tribeca, New York, NY

Directions:  Take the #1 subway to Franklin Street, walk one block west to Hudson and two blocks south to Jay Street, make a right. ECFA is on the left-hand side going toward Greenwich.

Light Refreshments will be served!

Please RSVP to

NYC Event – Fifth Annual China Town Hall – At Fordham Law School – Nov. 16

By , November 13, 2011

Since 2007, the National Committee for US-China Relations (NCUCR) has hosted a “China Town Hall,” a national day of awareness of the U.S.’ relationship with China.  As part of this Town Hall, the NCUCR organizes events throughout the country, hosts a webchat with a prominent China person (last year was US Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman), and encourages the local events to invite their own local guest speaker for a live conversation.

For the 2011 China Town Hall, NCUCR will be hosting a webchat with President Carter’s National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski.  Although it was President Nixon who was the first U.S. president to visit the People’s Republic of China (PRC), it was under President Carter that relations with the PRC were normalized and recognition of the Republic of China (Taiwan) was cut.  Dr. Brzezinski was in the middle of all these decisions.  More recently, Dr. Brzezinski has commented on the US-China relationship in a January 2011 N.Y. Times op-ed (see criticism of his opinion here).

Where to watch the China Town Hall? In the New York City area, this year’s China Town Hall will be hosted by

Prof. Rebecca MacKinnon

Fordham Law School, with the local guest none other than internet freedom guru Rebecca MacKinnon.  Now, I have never seen Prof. MacKinnon speak before, but in following her blog and her twitter feed, I have a feeling her talk is not to be missed.

BUT for the Fordham event, you NEED to RSVP – the event is free but RSVP is required.  Please RSVP here:

China Town Hall
Fordham Law School
McNally Auditorium – 140 West 62nd Street, New York, NY
Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2011
6:45 – 9 pm

6:45 p.m.  Doors Open
7:00 p.m.  Webchat with Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski
7:45 p.m.  Live Talk with Prof. Rebecca MacKinnon
8:30 p.m.  Q&A with Prof. MacKinnon

Remember to RSVP here:

For a listing of China Town Hall Events in your neighborhood, click here:

NYC Event – A New Beijing Consensus in UN Peacekeeping Operations

By , September 15, 2011

China's UN Peacekeepers - Expect to See More

As China emerges as a global power, the question arises: what role will it play in the UN, especially in peacekeeping operations?  Since first re-emerging on the world stage in 1978, China has maintained a philosophy of noninterference in other countries’ domestic affairs, making China’s involvement in peacekeeping operations limited.

But more recently, China has begun to step up to the plate in UN peacekeeping operations, sending non-combat PLA soldiers to assist with such effort.  In March 2011, Beijing issued a white paper on the matter, commending its troops for serving in UN peacekeeping operations and stating that such a role is important for a “responsible party.”

So why the change?  And how will China move forward?  Noted China law professor Margaret K. Lewis will examine these developments and discuss China’s future role with Steven Hill, Counselor for Legal Affairs at the United States Mission to the United Nations, at an event next Thursday at Seton Hall Law School.   All are welcomed to attend; RSVPs (to get a sense of numbers) are very much appreciated; for lawyers in the house, the event will provide 2.0 hr NJ/NY CLE.

***RSVP HERE: ***

A New Beijing Consensus in UN Peacekeeping Operations
Featuring Steven Hill, Counselor for Legal Affairs at the United States Mission to the United Nations
with Comments by Prof. Margaret K. Lewis, Seton Hall Law School

Thursday, September 22, 2011
4 pm – 6pm
Seton Hall Law School, 5th Floor Faculty Library
1 Newark Center
Newark, NJ 07102
(2 minute walk from Newark Penn Station which has the Path & NJ Transit)

INVITATION TO BLOG – China Law & Policy’s staff will be out of town next week; anyone interested in blogging about the event please contact me at This is an interesting event and should provide for a stimulating blog post.  Thank you in advance.

NYC Event – Human Rights Watch Discusses New Report on Feb. 9

By , January 25, 2011

In April 2009, the Chinese government released its first  National Human Rights Action Plan (2009-2010) ostensibly to better protect the civil rights and civil liberties enshrined in the Chinese Constitution, such as the right to a fair trial, the right to question the government and the need to eliminate torture in police interrogations.  With such a bold plan, the question remains – how did China do in fulfilling the promises of its first Human Rights Action Plan. 

Human Rights Watch (“HRW”), in its recent report, “Promises Unfulfilled: An Assessment of China’s National Human Rights Action Plan,” attempts to answer that question and to explain how a country which promotes economic freedom has seen a recent regression in terms of civil liberties. 

HRW China researcher Phelim Kine will present the findings of “Promises Unfulfilled” in a discussion at Seton Hall School of Law in Newark New Jersey on February 9, 2011.  Hosted by Chinese legal expert and Seton Hall Law Professor Margaret K. Lewis and with participation from the Open Society Institute’s China Program Director, Thomas Kellogg, the discussion should prove to be an interesting conversation of an issue that was front and center at President Hu Jintao’s recent visit to the U.S.  RSVP is appreciated ( 

And just as a shout out to HRW – their reports are pretty amazing and there are only a few other organizations that are able to produce such accurate and informative reports regarding what’s happening on the ground in China.  Phelim Kine is not to be missed!

Wednesday, February 9
1:45 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.
Seton Hall School of Law
1109 Raymond Blvd.
Newark, NJ
RSVP here:
Directions: Seton Hall School of Law is a 5 minute walk from Newark Penn Station which is accessible from NYC via the PATH train or NJ Transit.  More specific directions can be found here –

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