Category: Uncategorized

GW Law Symposium on The Crisis in Xinjiang

By , March 24, 2021

On Thursday, March 25 and Friday, March 26, the George Washington Law School’s Uyghur Human Rights Initiative (UHRI) is hosting a two-day symposium on the atrocities in Xinjiang and what we can do about it. It kicks off at 4 PM on Thursday, March 25 with a keynote address from Jewher Ilham, a Uyghur activist in the United States whose dad was given a life sentence in Xinjiang.

I will be speaking at the panel on international law which will also feature Preston Lim, Jewher Ilham and Don Clarke. To RSVP to that panel or any other panels, please email

The Digital Silk Road at the China Institute –Too Much Pollyanna?

By , January 8, 2019

Pollyanna, ever the techno-optimist!

By now, most people have heard of One Belt, One Road (“OBOR”) – the Chinese government’s program to build up the infrastructure in developing countries across Asia, Eastern Europe and Africa. OBOR has largely been seen as a brick-and-mortar type of operation – building railroads, ports, pipelines. But in 2017, President Xi Jinping announced a new initiative within the government’s OBOR – promotion of a digital silk road.

And on Monday night, the China Institute hosted a discussion of that ambitious new program featuring Winston Ma, Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer of China Silkroad Investment Corporation, and moderated by Clay Shirky, a professor at New York University Arthur L. Carter Center of Journalism.  But, while the event was advertised as to be a lively, thought-provoking one that would confront pressing issues such as whether China’s digital silk road will lead to China’s domination of global internet standards and whether China’s technology will actually help emerging economies, Ma and Shirky’s conversation ended up being shallow and, as one audience member stated, blindly “techno-optimistic.”

Camal on the Digital Silk Road

For sure, the event did highlight some of developments that the rest of the world should wake up and take notice of. Going from building physical infrastructure in the developing world to cyber infrastructure unmaksks the Chinese government’s grand ambition to open those markets to its companies and become a  global superpower. And in some ways, as a country that developed simultaneously with the internet, China is uniquely situated to do that.  As Shirky pointed out, China was more of a blank slate to develop, and continuously modernize, its internet infrastructure.  The United States on the other hand, is saddled with the infrastructure of earlier telecommunications. Ma noted that this structural freedom enabled 800 million people to access the internet largely through mobile devices.  In fact, China has by-passed the use of credit cards – moving from a cash-based economy to a mobile payment one. Cash is often not an accepted form of currency, even by street vendors. Instead, the only way to pay in many places is with the swipe of your phone. What happens to those 600 million people without phones – and thus access to this economy – was not addressed.

But Ma further noted that it is this type of technology – and way of thinking – that China is also seeking to export to emerging economies.  The Taobao Villages – where farmers in rural areas can open an online “shop” and sell their produce or local crafts – is a model that could be replicated in other emerging economies. But is this good for the farmers in these other countries – to be dependent on exporting their craft goods to richer individuals?  Is it even good for the Chinese farmers? Instead of demanding that their government do more for them – such as provide quality education, health care, and social benefits that are on par with east coast cities – they must settle for peddling their goods in a virtual mall.  Unfortunately, these questions were not answered.

Surveillance in Xinjiang

Instead, both Shirky and Ma were unshaken in their commitment to the good that the internet and mobile devices can bring to all societies. Even when an audience member asked a pointed question about the use of this technology in surveilling and unlawfully detaining a million Muslims Uighurs in Xinjiang province, Ma evaded answering the question, instead re-focusing on antitrust issues. Shirky fared no better; he neither pressed Ma on the question nor rescued Ma from it by addressing it himself.

Ma was right to note that the global, technology infrastructure is the future and largely that future is still unwritten. That is why – as Shirky noted – it is dangerous for the United States to be backing out of so many global treaties and alliances when, as Ma stated, the world is on the cusp of writing “new norms for a new game.” Not only will the United States’ retreat from the global stage mean that U.S. businesses will be at a disadvantage for decades to come, but China will be the one writing those norms.  And given how easily Ma ignored the question on surveillance and mass detention in Xinjiang and how quickly Shirky acquiesced, the question is, is this a good thing?

NYC Event – Challenging Authoritarianism through Feminist Activism: Insights From China

By , December 7, 2017

On Monday, December 11, 2017, 6 pm- 8pm, Fordham Law School’s Leitner Center for International Law & Justice will be hosting panel discussion with two of China’s preeminent feminist activists, Guan Er and Xiaowen Liang.  They will discuss their work in China and feminist scholar and author, Leta Hong Fincher (author of Leftover Women:  The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China) will place their work in the historical and cultural context.  Elizabeth M. Lynch of China Law & Policy will moderate. Details about the event – from the Leitner Center’s website ( – are below.

Challenging Authoritarianism through Feminist Activism: Insights From China

December 11, 2017 6:00PM – 8:00PM
Location: Bateman, Fordham Law School, 150 W. 62nd St., New York, NY 10023

The rise of China’s economic and political power does not bring its society gender equality. There is a general demand for more feminist approaches to social issues, which have not yet been well known outside China. Regardless of the hostile political environment, Chinese feminist activists have worked collectively to fight against inequality and discrimination through all kinds of legal strategies, and to channel social grievance towards effort for social changes. Their fights are invaluable expertise for any social movement that wants to survive in difficult situations. This event aims at delivering these feminist insights from the frontline, and bridge better communication among different feminist perspectives.


Guan Er, Young Feminist Activist

Guan Er is one of the leading young feminist activists in China. She has been active in Chinese young feminist activism since 2012, and initiated multiple well-received campaigns for advocacy and public education. At this talk, she will introduce contemporary feminist activist action in China, and how to negotiate with the state for movement space.

Dr. Leta Hong Fincher, Feminist Author  

Dr. Leta Hong Fincher is author of “Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China” (2014) and her new book, “Betraying Big Brother: The Rise of China’s Feminist Resistance” will be published next year by Verso. She will give an overview of the underlying social and economic factors behind the emergence of feminist activism today.

Xiaowen Liang, Young Feminist Activist

Xiaowen Liang is a Chinese feminist activist. She started her activism work in LGBT movement and feminist movement in 2012. After graduation, Xiaowen worked as a legal project manager of a feminist activist group. She has initiated and participated in several successful campaigns by using legal strategies and network building with women lawyers. During her studies at Fordham Law School, she initiated a Chinese feminist group in New York and put on a theater play called “Our Vaginas, Ourselves” at Times Square. She will share her experiences on being an activist in China and how to support China’s activism while in the U.S.


Elizabeth M. Lynch, Attorney and China Watcher

Elizabeth M. Lynch is a legal aid attorney in New York City and the founder of China Law & Policy. She was named a New York Law Journal “Rising Star” in 2015, and her writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Huffington Post and the George Washington International Law Review. From 2007 to 2009, Elizabeth was a research fellow at NYU Law School’s US-Asia Law Institute where she worked with Professor Jerome Cohen on criminal justice reform projects in China.


Happy 5th Birthday China Law & Policy!

By , July 14, 2014

Happy 5th Birthday China Law & Policy!

Happy 5th Birthday China Law & Policy!

Five years ago today, China Law & Policy was born. I had just finished my fellowship at NYU Law School’s U.S.-Asia Law Institute and wasn’t 100% clear on what I was going to do next. Why not a blog. I didn’t know much about blogging but what I did know was that China was – and still is – too important a country not to be understood by the general public. But all too often people’s opinions on China are informed more by stereotypes and sound bites.

China Law & Policy was created to overcome that simplistic view and to explain in easy to understand terms, why non-China people should care about some of the underlying issues about China’s rule of law development.  We strive to ensure that our analysis is always well-documented and informed. Our secondary goal has also been to provide a platform for more diverse voices to opine about China and to this day, 50% of our podcast interviews have been conducted with women, a fact that we are very proud of.

So five years in, it’s time to take stock. Every year, China Law & Policy continues to grow. We know have over 3,500 followers to our website via various outlets (twitter, facebook, email, RSS feed) and every year we publish an article that gets a lot of attention. This past year, our series on foreign journalist visas and media censorship in China has become the most popular of posts. But in a close second is a piece that took me a long time to come to terms with and write: Chen Guangcheng and the Commandeering of Our China Human Rights Policy.

But as China Law & Policy continues to grow, the same cannot necessarily be said about China. Our inaugural post, on July 15, 2009, concerned the riots that had engulfed Xinjiang Province, the Uigher area in China’s northwest. A month later, we were writing about the detention of public interest lawyer, Xu Zhiyong (pronouced Sue Zhi-young). Fast forward five years and Xinjiang is again seeing a sharp increase in violence followed by a strong government crackdown; Xu Zhiyong is once again in prison, serving a four year term.

I hope that China Law & Policy continues to be a useful blog for both China-watchers and ordinary people. I have a lot of fun with the blog

It's my birthday, get me some cake!

It’s my birthday, get me some cake!

and will continue with it in between my day job. But as always, I welcome feedback and ideas. Have an idea for a blog post? Want to write that post yourself? Just email me –

In celebrating our 5th anniversary, I again want to thank everyone who reads this blog and who has given me much needed comments, edits and information. But in particular, I want to thank a few individuals who were there at the founding of this blog and who provided support, encouragement, and ideas: Tom Cantwell, Andrea Worden, Robert Burnett, Michael Standaert, Jeremy Daum, Susan Tice, Eva Pils, Nicky Moody, Don Clarke, Madhuri Kommareddi, Susan Fishman Orlins and Jerome Lynch.

Finally, China Law & Policy could not exist if WordPress – the software that powers the blog – was not offered free to the public. Thank you Matt Mullenweg, the founder of WordPress, for creating an easy-to-use, open-source software that has been an important democratizing tool.

Here is to another 5 years!

birthday chinese

Hack Attack! CL&P Falls Victim to Malware

hackThose of you who receive China Law & Policy updates via email or RSS feed will have noticed that our June 3 posting – an article about the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown – was prefaced with viagra ad jibberish.  First, we apologize for that experience.  Unfortunately, CL&P was hacked and our site was open to some nasty malware.

We have changed our security system.  Our new system assures us that the site has been cleaned and the backdoor eliminated.  Here is hoping that the next attack is a long ways off.

And no, I don’t think it had anything to do with the Tiananmen post.  I could be wrong but the CCP leadership doesn’t strike me as the types that see the humor in hacking with viagra ads.


First Lady Michelle Obama & Kids to Travel to China

By , March 3, 2014

The Obama Ladies - Set to Take the Middle Kingdom by Storm

The Obama Ladies – Set to Take the Middle Kingdom by Storm

While it might be true that a US President’s visit to China is more “strategic,” this impending trip to China scheduled by the First Lady sounds like a heck of a lot more fun.  With her mother and two daughters in tow (Sasha studies Chinese and practiced with Hu Jintao), this should be a very interesting cultural exchange trip.

While tensions have been rising between the US and China, especially in regards to the South China Sea, this type of good will trip can help to remind the people of the two nations that our relationship is more than just government-to-government; it is people-to-people.

To the Obama ladies – 一路平安 (Yee Lou Ping Ann – Have  a Safe Journey!)


Office of the First Lady



March 3, 2014

First Lady Michelle Obama to Travel to China March 19-26, 2014

Mrs. Obama to Visit the Washington Yu Ying Public Charter School on March 4

The First Lady will travel to China from March 19-26, 2014. She will be visiting Beijing from March 20-23, Xi’an on March 24, and Chengdu from March 25-26. During her trip, the First Lady will meet with Madame Peng, the spouse of China’s President Xi Jinping. She will also visit a university and a high school in Beijing, and a high school in Chengdu. Additional details about the First Lady’s trip will be announced in the coming weeks. Accompanying Mrs. Obama on this trip will be her mother, Mrs. Marian Robinson, and daughters, Malia and Sasha Obama.

During the trip to China, as on previous international trips to Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America, the First Lady will be focusing on the power and importance of education, both in her own life and in the lives of young people in both countries.

She will also be visiting important historical and cultural sites in China, and will share with students in the U.S. the stories of the students she meets in China, as well as interesting facts about China’s history and culture – emphasizing the importance of students learning from one another globally.

The First Lady is encouraging students and classrooms across the U.S. to follow her trip by signing up for updates throughout the visit. View the First Lady’s message to students here.

PBS LearningMedia and Discovery Education will offer engagement opportunities for young people surrounding the trip, along with resources available for U.S. classrooms that explore the culture, geography, current events and people of China.



Just for Fun: Hunan Manor – New York Restaurant Review

By , July 18, 2013

Diners at Manhattan’s new Hunan Manor

For the past few years, Sichuan restaurants have opened in New York City like no one’s business , with over six being clustered in just a few blocks of Manhattan’s midtown east.  But if you are like me – you are Sichuan’ed out.  In fact out of all of China’s various cuisines, Sichaun probably has the least versatility.  Eventually that spicy, tingly feeling and taste after every dish gets a bit repetitive.

That is why I was excited to learn that a new cuisine had moved into the Sichuan barrio – Hunan Manor.  Hunan Manor boasts of an equally spicy cuisine – that of Hunan province – but with a lot more freshness, flavor and diversity.  Hunan food relies less on the chili paste and peppercorns of Sichuan cuisine and instead incorporates greater use of garlic, fresh chili peppers and shallots.  Hunan food is usually a treat.

Unfortunately that was not the case at Hunan Manor.  Hunan Manor is the Manhattan sister restaurant of perhaps one of Flushing’s bests, Hunan House.  I had eaten twice before at Hunan House in Flushing and both times thought the food was amazing.  So I was looking forward to trying out Hunan Manor.

But perhaps because Hunan Manor does not serve an exclusively Chinese clientele, its food was bland and ultimately uneventful.  In fact, the menu itself demonstrates that Hunan Manor must serve two masters – the first two pages of the menu are filled with traditional American Chinese food, an option that is missing in Flushing’s Hunan House.

My dining companions and I ordered five different dishes and only one was particularly outstanding, the eggplant and string bean dish.  The

Sauteed Eggplant and String Bean

dish was extremely flavorful and fresh with the string beans appropriately crispy and the eggplant not too soft.  Also the garlic flavor was pronounced in a good way – while noticeable, it did not over power the vegetables .

Unfortunately from this dish it was pretty much downhill.  The Hunan fried noodles were far from spectacular.  The flavor was bland and ultimately it tasted too much like take out.  But not good take out; more like 1 AM hangover take out where nothing better is open.  The braised pork Mao style, which is perhaps one of my favorite dishes in the Flushing restaurant, lacked the flavor and the richness of Hunan House.  And the sizzling tofu with shrimp was nothing to write home about.  It was good but nothing great.

Although there was only one stand out dish out of four, my dining companions and I decided to continue to venture the further down the menu, with the hope that things would get better.  As a result, we ordered one of my favorite dishes – a dish that I don’t understand why more Chinese restaurants in America haven’t realized that this dish would be a big hit: zha mantou (pronounced ja man-toe).  Zha mantou is basically fried bread dipped in sweet condensed milk.  Just thinking about it makes my mouth water.  The zha mantou redeemed Hunan Manor a bit – the mantous came out hot which makes the dish even more divine.  It could have been fried a bit less but ultimately I ate three of these little guys.

Sizzling tofu and shrimp

Strangely, we were served no tea at Hunan Manor.  At first I thought this was an oversight, but many of the other tables lacked any teapots.  This itself should have been a sign.

My ultimate take away – skip Hunan Manor and instead make the venture to Hunan House in Flushing.  The food is more authentic, fresh and flavorful there.  It does justice to the amazing cuisine which is Hunan food.

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Hunan Manor

339 Lexington Ave (at 39th Street)
New York, NY 10016
(212) 682-2883

China Law & Policy Turns 4!

By , July 14, 2013

Happy birthday China Law & Policy!  Monday marks the 4th anniversary of this blog’s founding and we want to take this moment to thank all our readers, commentators and supporters these past four years.  When we posted our first post on July 15, 2009, we didn’t know where this blog would take us.  Over the past 4 years, we have been able to analyze various areas of Chinese legal development and interview a number of experts in the field.

Year 4 started off with a bang.  Last July, we ran a three part series on the proposed legislation in the United States known as the Chinese Media Reciprocity Act that was picked up by a number of other websites.  The Chinese government’s increasing belligerence toward Western reporters became an issue that we would return to throughout the year, especially after New York Times reporter Chris Buckley’s journalist visa was not renewed and after China’s most prestigious news paper – Southern Weekend – protested government censorship of the paper’s New Year’s message.

In terms of traditional legal development, China Law & Policy interviewed Prof. Margaret K. Lewis on China’s amended Criminal Procedure Law which took effect in January of this year.  Soon after that interview, Gu Kailai – the wife of Bo Xilai – was tried and found guilty of the murder of British citizen Neil Heywood.  Glenn Tiffert, a PhD candidate in history at the University of California, Berkley, guest blogged in two posts analyzing the jurisdictional issues in the Gu Kailai trial and the role of the party-state in the Bo Xilai affair.  Those two posts are still being commented on.

We finished off our third year with China Law & Policy’s most popular blog post – at least by numbers – “Chen Guangcheng and the Commandeering of Our China Human Rights Policy.”

So what does the future hold for China Law & Policy?  This blog’s goal has always been to make one of the most important relationships in the world – the United State’s relationship with China – more accessible to the general public, to those who are not “China people.”  Central to understanding a modern China is understanding its developing legal system.

So we will continue to blog about legal developments in China and general policy issues.  We will look to increase the number of experts we interview and hopefully can convince more people to guest blog.  We will also continue with our periodic book reviews and “Just For Fun” section which often informs you of the best Chinese restaurants out there.

This means that China Law & Policy needs you!  Have a blog post idea, email us (  Want to write a blog post, email us (all posts are reviewed and edited).  We are especially looking for younger, less established “China people” so don’t think just because you don’t have a PhD you can’t blog.

All suggestions from the public to make this website better are always appreciated.  Like something we did and want to see more of it?  Don’t like something?  Just email:

Happy birthday and thank you again to everyone who has helped to make this blog a success!



Google Reader is Closing – Don’t Forget to Change Your RSS Reader!

By , June 26, 2013

We will miss you Google Reader!

Just as a reminder, for those of you who subscribe to China Law & Policy via Google Reader (RSS feed), remember that it will close its doors at 12:01 AM, July 1, 2013.

If you would like to continue to receive China Law & Policy updates via RSS, please register with a new reader before July 1.  Here at China Law & Policy, we have switched out RSS feed to Feedly which has a very similar look and feel to Google Reader (website here).  It can also import all of your feeds from Google Reader but you only five more days to do that.

In addition to Feedly, there are multiple other readers you can use as well.  CNET recently listed its Top 5 Replacements for Google Reader.  Check it out here.  A Google search for “google reader alternatives” will also pick up websites recommending countless other readers.

Finally, if you want to do away with readers altogether, a good way to follow China Law & Policy updates is through our Twitter feed or via email.  You can subscribe by clicking the buttons on the top right hand side of this website or by clicking here for Twitter feed or here for email updates.

As always, thank you for your support and for taking the time to read China Law & Policy!

Running on Empty? A Missing Assistant Secretary of State

By , April 8, 2013

Is anyone else confused as to why the position of Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs remains empty?  Especially as North Korea all but prepares for war?  Two months after its former occupant – Kurt Campbell – stepped down on February 8, 2013, Secretary Kerry – who was sworn in on February 1 – has yet to fill the position.  True former Deputy Assistant Secretary Joseph Yun has capably stepped in, but the question remains – what signal are you giving to the region, especially North Korea, when you don’t officially fill the position?

Hopefully Secretary Kerry is feeling the pressure.  But who will fill the spot?  Here are some names that have been mentioned by others:

  • Joseph Yun – the current Acting secretary and former Deputy Assistant Secretary, of Korean descent and familiar with the issues on the Korean peninsula.
  • Daniel Russel – currently the National Security Council (NSC) Director for Asian Affairs.  While he started his career as a Japan guy, arguably you can’t be NSC Director for Asian Affairs without knowing alot about the Korean peninsula and problems with China.
  • Frank Jannuzi – currently head of Amnesty International’s Washington office, but has decades of experience in DC policy circles, serving close to ten years in the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research and then 15 years as the policy director of East Asia and Pacific Affairs on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Out of these three names, Jannuzi would likely be the best pick.  And not just because China Law & Policy is partial to policy makers who are North Korea's increasingly belligerent behavior China hands (and speak Mandarin).  China will always be the big issue in the region, and Jannuzi likely has the most intimate knowledge of the country.  But he has also long served as an important and knowledgeable resource on North Korea.  Not to mention, that he served as a staffer on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee while Kerry was a Senator on the Committee (and eventually Ranking member).  To the extent that Kerry is looking for someone he already knows and can trust, that would be Jannuzi.

Jannuzi would be also be an exciting pick because of what the choice would signal to China’s new leadership.  Jannuzi would come back to government after serving at Amnesty International, a very active human rights group that has long been a thorn in China’s side.  Such a choice would  subtly indicate to China that human rights will continue to be on the agenda.

But in looking at the possible nominees and the current senior officials of the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, a truly inspiring pick would be a woman.  Out of the eleven senior officials listed on the Bureau’s website, only one currently is a woman.

Prof. Susan Shirk

And that’s why we think there is a good possibility that Susan Shirk – even though she is in academia – is in the running.  Shirk is a professor of political science out at UC-San Diego.  She has also long been an influential thinker on China.  China: Fragile Superpower altered the way that many policymakers viewed China.  Similar to Jannuzi, her knowledge of China comes from a longstanding relationship with the country and its people.  She has had an important part in US-North Korea relations – she all but founded and continues to lead the Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue, a high-level official dialogue between the two countries.  Finally,  she has experience at State, serving as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and in seeing her speak on multiple occasions, she has command of a room that is astounding.  The question is – will she want to leave beautiful San Diego for DC?

The one person  we are not putting our money on – Dennis RodmanHis trip in March to North Korea was just plain bizarre.  Hanging out with Kim Jong Un without even acknowledge the suffering of millions of North Koreans at the regime’s hands was also extremely offensive.  That alone would put Rodman out of the running.  But more than anything, do we really want an Assistant Secretary that can’t win at Celebrity Apprentice for a second time?

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