Posts tagged: China Law & Policy

China Law & Policy Turns 10!

By , July 15, 2019

Today marks China Law & Policy’s (“CL&P”) tenth anniversary.  And like any good anniversary, it’s an opportunity to look back at where we started, where we have been and where we would like to go.

On July 15, 2009, we published our first post, a simple two-part piece to explain the riots that had recently engulfed Urumqi, the capital of China’s Xinjiang province.  Ten years and 374 posts later, we are back where we started as Xinjiang continues to fill the news.  This time for the Chinese government’s unlawful internment of 1.5 million Uighur and Kazak Muslims, perhaps the world’s greatest human rights violation perpetrated by a current superpower (although the United States doesn’t have a firm leg to stand on right now given its inhuman treatment of undocumented immigrants).

Similarly, since CL&P’s inception, we have covered the Chinese government’s increasing suppression of human rights advocates and civil society.  No doubt that the suppression has become more severe since Xi Jinping became president in 2013, with his passage of restrictive laws on civil society and his July 2015 nationwide crackdown on human rights advocates.  But our posts show that the Chinese government had already moved in this direction even before Xi took power.  Posts from 2009, when Hu Jintao was still president, called on the Obama Administration to raise the issue of the Chinese government’s harrassment of human rights lawyers and discussed the unlawful detention – and the eventual release – of key activists including Xu Zhiyong and Ilham Tohti.  Both would again be arrested under Xi and be given harsh prison sentences in 2014: Xu, a four year sentence for disturbing public order and Tohti given life for separatism.

Another constant during the life of this blog has been the Chinese government’s use of the visa process to try to censor foreign journalists.  We first covered this issue back in 2012, with the what was effectively an expulsion from China of Al Jazeera reporter Melissa Chan.  Since then we have written about the denial of a visa to veteran China journalist Paul Mooney in 2013, the forced departure of New York Times journalist Austin Ramzy in 2014, the effective expulsion of L’Orbs reporter Ursula Gauthier in 2015 and the effective expulsion of Buzzfeed’s Megha Rajagopalan in 2017.  In fact, three posts concerning foreign journalists’ visas rounded out our top five most read pieces, including Self-Censorship or Survival? If so, Bloomberg is Not Alone, Late to the Party? The U.S. Government’s Response to China’s Censorship, and the post about Gauthier.

But our most popular post by far was Parallels in Authoritarianism: Trump and the Chinese Communist Party, a post written only a few weeks after Donald Trump’s inauguration that compared his leadership style to those of authoritarian rulers like Mao Zedong.  Over the past two years, these parallels have only become more apparent.  Our second most popular piece was one 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 I am glad that I did.

Oddly, our most read posts are not necessarily our most commented.  Those all happen to be some of our “lighter” pieces and posts from our “Just For Fun” category.  Our most commented post was our movie review of Zhao Liang’s “Petition: The Court of Complaints,” with many commenting on China’s unique petitioning system as a away of handling disputes.  Another heavily commented post was my critique of Maureen Dowd’s criticism of Bob Dylan performing in China, with many noting that I was too harsh on Dylan’s Christmas album by calling it “abysmally bad.” Since I have written that post, I have listened to Dylan’s Christmas album and it is surprisingly endearing; I now no longer skip it in my Christmas playlist and find myself singing along.  Thank you to those who raised this issue in the comments and forced me to change my view.

And that is what has been great about this blog for the past ten years.  It has forced me to more carefully analyze a country that I care deeply about and that has seen seismic change in this past decade.  Additionally, I hope that my passion for understanding China has been communicated to our readers.  CL&P was created to overcome simplistic views of China 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.  Since its inception, I have strived to ensure that our analysis is always well-documented and informed.  With Trump as president and the fact that he has few China experts working for him as he deals with a more powerful China, understanding the country now is more important than ever.  And we will continue to blog and offer our perspective on US-China relations as well as the continued rise of China in a world where the U.S. seeks to exit the world stage.

In closing, I want to note that this blog would not be successful – and been able to continue for ten years – without the support of many friends and family and the readers who have emailed me to correct a fact or just to give me encouragement.  Your support has been instrumental to me over the years.  For my Chinese friends who have often provided me with a more nuanced understanding of what is happening on the ground in China, I want to say thank you for that and all that you do in China.

So join me in wishing a happy birthday to China Law & Policy!

Happy Birthday China Law & Policy!

By , July 15, 2016

Seven years ago today, China Law and Policy (“CL&P”) was born.  With Chinese language skills, a knowledge of Chinese history and an understanding of law, our goal was to offer a nuanced perspective on China, in particular its legal development and how that development shapes the rest of the world.

In the past seven years, many of our blog posts have focused on the growth, and recent retraction, of China’s human rights attorneys. We believe that legal development does not happen in a vacuum.  While the most recent crackdown on human rights lawyers appears limited to just these lawyers, it is not.  It reflects a ruling party ideology that is uncomfortable with – if not completely hostile to – a rule of law.  Especially when that rule of law seeks to constrain the unbridled actions of the Chinese Communist Party, or more aptly, the actions of its chief, President Xi Jinping.  The western public should not be surprised that China has no interest in abiding by the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s South China decision if it willy-nilly violates its own domestic laws, holding human rights attorneys in detention without access to lawyers and charging them with subversion.

As a result, CL&P’s mission is even more important now than when we first started.  But since it is CL&P‘s birthday, it is time to take stock.  Our reach continues to grow.  We have over 5,500 followers over all of our platforms (twitter, facebook, email and RSS feed) and our posts continue to be cited by journalists, Congress, academics and other bloggers.  Our most popular posts this year deal with issues that China is grappling with in its relationship with the rest of the world.  Our post on the expulsion of French journalist Ursula Gauthier was by far the most popular post this year.  But Anatomy of a Crackdown: China’s Assault on its Human Rights Lawyers, was a close second.  Also in the top five were our analysis of China’s first gay marriage case and our review of Wang Nanfu’s movie, Hooligan Sparrow, a documentary on the life, times and adversity of feminist advocate Ye Haiyan.  Our annual Lunar New Year greeting, a playful post in our “Just for Fun” category, again rounded out the top five.

Where is the cake? Happy birthday China Law & Policy!

While CL&P continues to thrive, I will admit that over the past few months, balancing this blog with other life events has been a challenge.  Hence, a decrease in the level of posting.  But going forward my commitment remains strong to continue this blog and to find even more voices to publicize through our podcasts and guest blogging program.  So if you are interested in writing for CL&P or you have an idea for a blog post or podcast, please reach out: elynch@chinalawandpolicy.com.

Again, this year, I 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 have provided support, encouragement, and ideas that have sustained me through this year:  Jerome Cohen, Amala Lane, Jeremy Daum, Andrea Worden, Edward Wong, Eva Pils, Tom Cantwell, Madhuri Kommareddi, Elise Brown and Jerome Lynch.

Finally, I want to thank the hundreds of Chinese public interest lawyers who continue to fight for the rights of China’s most vulnerable, even in the wake of the Chinese government’s efforts to end their work and obliterate their lawyering.  From your practice of law and your tenacity I have learned much that I seek to apply in my work as a legal services attorney. I continue to be humbled by all that you do.

Thank You and Happy Birthday to China Law & Policy!

Happy Birthday China Law & Policy!

By , July 18, 2010

Last Thursday marked China Law & Policy‘s first year anniversary, giving us an opportunity to take stock.

When I started this website last summer, a good friend who has his own website told me I should be happy if I get more than 10 hits a day.  And I was.  Things started out slow, but when I was getting a consistent 20 hits a day, I felt good.  But now, a year later, China Law & Policy receives over 1,500 hits a month, with a subscriber list of over 200 people.  In a year, China Law & Policy has published 103 articles, covering a variety of issues, some serious, and some a little less so.  But all with the purpose to offer a different perspective on China and to better inform the U.S. public about issues pertaining to China.

Interestingly, the two most popular articles both involved criminal justice in China.  The article on British citizen Akmal Shaikh’s execution in China at the end of December received the greatest readership (Death Sentence for British Citizen Upheld; Execution Date Set).  But our April 19 article on the Rio Tinto trial in China (Rio Tinto Trial in China – A Miscalculation about Rule of Law?) and Prof. Vivienne Bath’s critique of the article (A Response to Rio Tinto – A different Opinion from Australia) was also extremely popular with our readership.  Rounding up the top three is from the “Just for Fun” section about Lady Gaga’s popularity in China (Oh My Lady Gaga! A Star is Born in…China).

China Law & Policy has also been very fortunate to attract other talent as well.  Marcy Nicks Moody, a regular contributor, has written a series of hard hitting articles about economic policy and trade issues between the U.S. and China.  Her article on China’s response to the Haiti earthquake (In the Aftermath of Haiti’s Earthquake: Where is China?) offered an interesting perspective on China’s soft power and was picked up by many other websites.  We also have had great articles from trade specialist Adam Bobrow, Chinese lawyer and professor Cao Xinglong, longtime China-watcher Susan Fishman Orlins, Gaga expert and Uigher food enthusiast Thomas Cantwell, and Chinese art expert Taliesin Thomas.

One of the goals of China Law & Policy has been to offer an outlet to a younger set of China-watchers, those who have come of age with a China that has always been a friend and never a foe.  The mainstream press is still largely reserved for an older set of “China experts” – those raised during the Cold War and who had to deal with the baggage of Red China vs. Free China (the Mainland vs. Taiwan), baggage that today’s younger China watchers do not have to carry.

In the next year, China Law & Policy would like to increase the number of guest bloggers and further diversify the opinions offered on the website.  We would also like to have more articles from Chinese scholars.  Prof. Guo Zhiyuan’s interview on mental illness and the Chinese criminal justice system remains our most popular interview.

Finally, China Law & Policy would like to thank all of those who have been supporters of the website.  From the beginning, there have been many that have constantly encouraged, provided article ideas and new ways of thinking of issues; this support has truly been invaluable.  Thank you.

But we still want to hear from you. Have ideas about what China Law & Policy should do in the next year?  Have topics that you think China Law & Policy should cover?  Or just general comments?  Please use the comment section to let us know.  Thank you for your continued support!

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