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Chinese Law Blog

Chinese Law Blog promotes legal scholarship with the aim to develop a deeper understanding of China and to facilitate open dialogue between the East and the West. Mainly sourcing from the Chinese Law eJournal edited by the Philip K. H. Wong Centre for Chinese Law, the Blog selects and posts the most cutting-edge research on Chinese law on a near daily basis. It will also track pertinent news, reports, activities, and events that contribute insights into the Chinese legal system.
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How Credible are China’s Foreign Policy Signals? IR Theory and the Debate about China's Intentions

Posted on Fri, Jun 14, 2024

Brandon Yoder, University of Virginia


Scholars and policymakers currently lack systematic criteria for determining the credibility of China's foreign policy signals, which has produced widely divergent conclusions about its likely intentions. Drawing on theoretical scholarship on signaling and credibility in IR, this paper introduces general deductive criteria for assigning credibility to a rising state's foreign policy signals. It then applies these criteria to evaluate the specific Chinese signals that optimists and pessimists have cited in support of their respective positions. 


Harnessing Competition Law and Policy for Achieving Sustainable Development Goals: The Chinese Experience

Posted on Fri, Jun 14, 2024

Mohamad Zreik, Sun Yat-sen University 


This research focuses on China, exploring the relationship between competition law and sustainable development within the context of rapid economic growth. It specifically examines how China's competition law and policies interact with selected SDGs. The study employs a qualitative approach, incorporating a systematic review of literature, legislative actions, and empirical data. The study also examines how competition laws can contribute to societal objectives beyond economic growth.


Historicizing Internet Regulation in China: A Meta-analysis of Chinese Internet Policies (1994-2017)

Posted on Thu, Jun 13, 2024

Min Jiang, University of North Carolina

Weishan Miao, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences 


The authors created the first comprehensive database of national-level Chinese Internet laws and policies between 1994 and 2017 and conducted a meta-analysis of 358 policy documents using content analysis and social network analysis. This study contributes to debates on three core issues in Internet governance from a Chinese perspective: Who (should) regulate the Internet? What issues (should) fall under regulatory oversight? And how should the Internet be regulated via what mechanisms?


Regulation of Digital Platforms and the State's Use of Platform Technologies in China

Posted on Thu, Jun 13, 2024

Jens Prufer, Tilburg University

Inge Graef, Tilburg University

Doh-Shin Jeon, Toulouse School of Economics


This report takes stock of China's current state of digital platform markets and regulation of platform technologies (AI and data analytics). It also offers a view on the current use of platform technologies by the Chinese government and the CCP, including Social Credit Systems and the surveillance state. Based on these insights, the authors identify key challenges for EU policymakers and formulate crucial questions for future research.


Selected Chinese Cases on the UN Sales Convention (CISG) Vol. 3

Posted on Wed, Jun 12, 2024

Peng Guo, Swinburne University of Technology

Haicong Zuo, University of International Business and Economics

Shu Zhang, Deakin University


This book series intends to provide a comprehensive and systemic analysis of Chinese cases on the CISG to show international legal scholars and practitioners not only the judicial interpretation and application of the CISG in China but also the scholastic understandings of and approaches to it. Another aim of the series is to identify whether there is a special Chinese approach to the interpretation and application of the CISG. 


A Right to an Explanation of Algorithmic Decision-Making in China

Posted on Wed, Jun 12, 2024

Hong Wu, NingboTech University


This article is the first to critically analyze China's unique legislative approach on the right to explanation, which distinguishes between the public and private law scenarios. It argues that the differences in objects and goals between public and private law jurisprudence make it impossible to design a right to explanation that is uniformly applicable. 


Inter-Asian Law

Posted on Tue, Jun 11, 2024

Matthew S. Erie, University of Oxford

Ching-Fu Lin, National Tsing Hua University


What happens when Western law is no longer the default referent for legal modernity? This is a deceptively simple question, but its implications are potentially significant for such fields as comparative law, law and development, and international law. “Inter-Asian Law” (IAL) points to an emerging field of comparative law that explores the legal interactions—historical and contemporary—between and among Asian jurisdictions.


Is Antitrust Enforcement Effective in China? Evidence from SAMR v. Alibaba

Posted on Tue, Jun 11, 2024

Kenneth Khoo, National University of Singapore

Sinchit Lai, City University of Hong Kong

Tian Chuyue, National University of Singapore


This article explores the effectiveness of antitrust enforcement in China by examining the landmark decision of SAMR v. Alibaba (2021) through an event study methodology. The results suggest that antitrust enforcement in China may rely more on non-pecuniary sanctions than financial penalties, challenging the notion that there is under-enforcement in this area.


Campaign-style Law Enforcement in China: Causes and Consequences

Posted on Fri, Jun 7, 2024

Jingyi Wang, Chinese University of Hong Kong

Peng Wang, The University of Hong Kong


This article aims to address two primary research questions: first, why does the Chinese government consistently favour campaign-style law enforcement, and second, what are the consequences of this law enforcement approach for China’s criminal justice system? This article offers both top-down and bottom-up explanations regarding the government's persistent employment of campaign-style law enforcement to tackle serious and organised crime, and illustrates its implications on the criminal justice system.


Reframing International Law: The China Strategy?

Posted on Fri, Jun 7, 2024

Karen J. Alter, Northwestern University


This essay engages international relations (IR), legal sociology, and transnational legal order theory (TLO) to examine what it would take for China to reframe international law (IL). Alter argues that only constructivist change can accomplish the larger goal of a redefinition of IL as the West knows it. The analysis of China's efforts, and what it would take for them to succeed, implicitly identifies the role of scholars in aiding or resisting such efforts.


The High Cost of GPT-4o

Posted on Thu, Jun 6, 2024

Angela Huyue Zhang, The University of Hong Kong

S. Alex Yang, London Business School


OpenAI's newest artificial-intelligence tool, GPT-4o, leverages a large and growing user base – drawn in by the promise that the service is free – to crowdsource massive amounts of multimodal data and use it to train its AI model. But much of the data is not owned by its users, and copyright holders will have little recourse.


The Chinese Conception of Cybersecurity

Posted on Thu, Jun 6, 2024

Rogier Creemers, Leiden University


How does the Chinese government define cybersecurity? The Chinese conception of this term is different from the Western one, and is embedded within the country’s distinctive political, economic and technological context. Drawing on Chinese government documents, this paper will trace the evolution of how successive generations of Chinese leaders have identified digital security concerns, and how they have deployed institutional, regulatory and policy tools to respond to them.


The State of AI Safety in China Spring 2024 Report

Posted on Wed, Jun 5, 2024

Concordia AI


This Report explains developments of AI safety in China over the past 6 months across 6 domains: technical safety research, international governance, domestic governance, lab and industry governance, expert views on AI risks, and public opinion on AI.


Chinese Legality: Ideology, Law, and Institutions

Posted on Wed, Jun 5, 2024

Shiping Hua, University of Louisville


This book discusses how Chinese legality in the Xi era is defined from a theoretical, ideological, historical, and cultural point of view. It examines how legality is reflected and embodied in laws and constitutions, and how legality is realized through institutions, with particular focus on how the CCP interacts with the legislature, the judiciary, the procuratorate, and the police.


Autonomous Driving in China

Posted on Tue, Jun 4, 2024

Mingyan Nie, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics

Yuan Shen, Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH


The authors first outline the recent development of China’s autonomous vehicles (AVs) industry and policies released by relevant government agencies to promote its growth. The central and local government rules about AVs road testing and demonstration application are analyzed thereafter. The commercialization of AVs is still in its infancy in China, and a comprehensive legal framework has not yet been formulated. Lastly, the authors discuss the attribution of liability induced by AVs of different levels under China’s existing laws and regulations.


China's Response to US Calls for Decoupling: The Foreign Investment Law of 2020

Posted on Tue, Jun 4, 2024

Daniel Chow, Ohio State University


US calls for decoupling from China by repatriating US business operations in China to the US and eschewing new investments in China have been met by China with a powerful response: the 2020 Foreign Investment Law (FIL). While China still has a restrictive investment climate by US standards, the FIL represents a significant improvement of the investment climate and is a signal of China’s willingness to consider additional reforms. The FIL might create incentives for some US companies to ignore calls to decouple and to continue to establish new business operations in China.


Contemporary Export Control Law of China

Posted on Mon, Jun 3, 2024

Deming Zhao, Global Law Office


Export Control Law in China has been born with the notion of protection of national security and interest as well as non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their carrying vehicles, along with the process of China’s confronting the abuses against the nation by relevant countries, the US in particular. Understandably ECL has a defensive or countering posture. At the same time, ECL reflects the persistent position of China to maintain the multilateral non-proliferation mechanism and exhibits the basic attitude of China as a responsible big nuclear State committed to international obligations.


China and the Investment Treaty Regime: Rule Taker or Rule Maker?

Posted on Mon, Jun 3, 2024

Sheng Zhang, Xi’an Jiaotong University


Since its first bilateral investment treaty (BIT) with Sweden in 1982, China has signed BITs with more than 130 countries. Indeed, China’s practice in international investment law is also a microcosm of China's participation in general international law. When signing BITs, China mainly follows the template or style as set by western countries. Yet with the development of China’s economic growth, China is more willing to establish its own approach toward the investment treaties.


Contracts, Inequality and the State: Contract Law Ultra-heterodoxy in China

Posted on Fri, May 31, 2024

Weitseng Chen, National University of Singapore


This paper examines the role of contract law in tackling inequality unveiled by the COVID-19 pandemic, with a focus on China, where courts seem to have made the most drastic moves. Whether contract law has any role to play in addressing economic inequality is the focal point of a long-lasting debate among contract law scholars. The author finds that neither orthodox nor heterodox approaches can explain Chinese courts’ drastic approach to dealing with inequality. Chinese courts have gone further to espouse what the author terms “ultra-heterodoxy” to denote the greater latitude they enjoy in deciding cases that impact inequality.


Intellectual Property Rights Protection and Firm Innovation

Posted on Fri, May 31, 2024

Bochuan Dai, Central South University

Zichao Ma, Tsinghua University

Tao Shen, Tsinghua University


The authors examine the impact of intellectual property rights (IPR) protection on local private firm innovation. This paper highlights the importance of proximity and accessibility to local patent dispute jurisdiction for promoting private firm innovation in China.


The Court as a Policy Information Discoverer: Evidence from China’s Emerging Industries

Posted on Thu, May 30, 2024

Tianhao Chen, Tsinghua University

Wei Xu, Tsinghua University

Jing Zhao, Tsinghua University


This paper delves into the pivotal role that courts play in shaping public policy, particularly in the context of burgeoning industries. It shifts the focus from Constitutional and Supreme Courts to the significant, yet often unnoticed, role of local courts. It proposes that these local courts are uniquely positioned to act as discoverers of vital information for public policy, especially critical in the fast-paced arena of emerging industries where policymakers often lack comprehensive information. 


How Should Modern Corporate Law Respond to Technological Challenges?

Posted on Thu, May 30, 2024

Chen Wang, University of California, Berkeley

Xu Ke, Renmin University of China


This article explores the potential interplay between cutting-edge technologies, such as distributed ledger technology and artificial intelligence, and corporate law. It examines whether these advancements necessitate a fundamental restructuring of core corporate law doctrines. The article then delves into specific aspects of corporate law, with a comparative analysis of Chinese and US corporate and securities laws and regulations. The article proposes innovative approaches to developing the future corporate law. 


Talk: Tackling Cyberbullying – China’s Law and Policy Initiatives in Recent Years (Jun 20 2024)

Posted on Wed, May 29, 2024

Philip K.H. Wong Centre for Chinese Law, The University of Hong Kong


Cyberbullying has long been a common phenomenon in China. These online abuses have not been specifically addressed by the government. Most victims of cyberbullying can only resort to bringing civil lawsuits. But legal remedies are meagre and cannot stop further incidents. Things took a sudden turn in the past couple of years after several tragedies. The authorities were under new pressure to act. Policy documents and a draft legislation addressing cyberbullying were announced. This talk will examine several high-profile cyberbullying cases in China, the trend of cyberbullying over the years, and whether the new regulatory and legal measures can be effective.

Date & Time: June 20, 2024 (Thu), 13:00-14:00

Venue: Room 723, 7/F Cheng Yu Tung Tower, HKU


Judicial Reform and Privatization of State-owned Enterprises

Posted on Wed, May 29, 2024

James Si Zeng, Chinese University of Hong Kong


Given the widely held belief that state-owned enterprises (SOEs) are inefficient, scholars have long been interested in the determinants of privatization. However, current studies have largely focused on political, political economy, or economic determinants for privatization. This article examines whether judicial independence affects the extent of privatization by utilizing a reform that has been gradually implemented in China since 2014, which removes local governments’ authority over the financial and personnel decisions of local courts, resulting in a significant enhancement of the independence of these courts. 


From “Line Appraisal” to “Case-Process Ratio”: Will the New Case Quality Assessment System Facilitate the Changing Role of Chinese Prosecutor?

Posted on Tue, May 28, 2024

Peter Chan, City University of Hong Kong

Wanqiang Wu, Shanghai Jiao Tong University


China’s Supreme People’s Procuratorate has shifted its traditional case quality assessment model of “Line Appraisal” to a new system with the “Case-Process Ratio” as the pivotal metric in 2020. This article analyses the latest case quality assessment system and the changing role of China’s prosecutors based on two appraisal documents from the SPP regarding the “Case-Process Ratio” reform and two provincial performance evaluation documents. 


Oriental Despotism Inside Out: On the Global Travels of Montesquieu’s De l’esprit des lois

Posted on Tue, May 28, 2024

Teemu Ruskola, University of Pennsylvania


This speculative essay analyzes Montesquieu’s comparative method in his De l’esprit des lois (1748) and its contemporary legacies. It takes as its focus his theory of Oriental despotism. The author discusses Montesquieu’s use of China as a paradigmatic instance of Oriental despotism. However, Montesquieu himself is forced to admit that in several key respects China does not fit the category it supposedly exemplifies. The author concludes by examining the geopolitical implications of Montesquieu’s analysis with respect to the discourse of Chinese authoritarianism today.


The Chinese Balloon Incident and Partisanism in International Law

Posted on Mon, May 27, 2024

Samuli Seppänen, Chinese University of Hong Kong


This Article discusses the implications of the February 2023 Chinese balloon incident for understanding Chinese foreign policy elites’ approaches to international law. It argues that the Chinese balloon incident fits the perception of a globally ambitious and activist China. At the same time, the ethically ambiguous context of foreign surveillance flights problematizes the stark dichotomies between authoritarian and liberal approaches to international law. 


Systemic Convictions: China’s Fundraising Crimes and its Financial System

Posted on Mon, May 27, 2024

Daniel Sprick, University of Cologne


Fundraising crimes are legion in China. The unclear demarcation of these crimes produces legal uncertainty that has its root cause not only in vague provisions of the Criminal Law or broad legal interpretations of the judiciary, but also in the systemic function of these crimes. This paper argues that normative analyses about legal (un)certainty and regulatory necessities in the field of illegal fundraising in China need to be widened and additionally include a perspective of political expediency. 


China's Foreign State Immunity Law: A View from the United States

Posted on Fri, May 24, 2024

William S. Dodge, University of California, Davis


On September 1, 2023, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress promulgated the Foreign State Immunity Law (FSIL) of the People's Republic of China, which adopts the restrictive theory of foreign state immunity. This article has two goals. First, the article introduces China's FSIL to English language readers by explaining its provisions in some detail. Second, the article provides a U.S. perspective on the FSIL by comparing it to the U.S. Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) and discussing the U.S. experience with foreign state immunity.


Transparency and Authoritarian Rule of Law: Mixed Effects of Open Government Information in China

Posted on Fri, May 24, 2024

Handi Li, Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies


Many authoritarian countries have adopted transparency laws in the 21st century. Do such initiatives actually monitor government behavior and protect citizens’ rights in these countries? Existing literature indicates that authoritarian leaders monitor and regulate their agents through institutional challenges from citizens. This study examines whether central transparency mandates can mobilize these challenges and how successful the challenges can be. The author analyzes two original datasets in China using a difference-in-differences design based on a transparency pilot program. 


Application of Forum Non Conveniens in Chinese Court

Posted on Thu, May 23, 2024

Jianli Song, Supreme Court of the PRC

Bing Cheng, King & Wood Mallesons


The doctrine of forum non conveniens generally refers to a system in which a competent domestic court finds that the trial of the case is more convenient and fair by another foreign court with jurisdiction after accepting the case, and thereby refuses to exercise jurisdiction or conditionally suspends its own jurisdiction.


Justice and Law at the (1980) Chinese Movies

Posted on Thu, May 23, 2024

Alison W. Conner, University of Hawaii


This essay analyzes two of the most famous examples of Chinese “scar cinema,” movies that depicted the harsh realities of the political and cultural campaigns of the Cultural Revolution and the terrible suffering they caused. Though very different in story and style, Xie Jin's Legend of Tianyun Mountain and Wu Yonggang’s Evening Rain constitute works which, in addition to their individual stylistic achievements, feature ideas of justice and even of law that remain relevant to China today.


Situating Chinese Engagement in Internet Governance

Posted on Wed, May 22, 2024

Riccardo Nanni, Fondazione Bruno Kessler


This chapter provides a short overview of China’s domestic digital ecosystem, which is necessary to gauge its complexity and discard simplistic views depicting China, its government, and its companies as a monolithic whole controlled by the Communist Party. Through literature and the first-hand analysis of legal and policy documents, three historical phases are identified and addressed in the development of China’s domestic digital policies. This chapter provides the domestic historical background to better interpret Chinese stakeholders’ engagement with global Internet governance.


Sorting Citizens: Governing via China's Social Credit System

Posted on Wed, May 22, 2024

Rui Hou, University of Toronto

Diana Fu, University of Toronto


China's social credit system can be examined as a governance tool which sorts citizenship behaviors into trustworthy and untrustworthy categories as part of the regime's long-standing effort to cultivate a loyal citizenry. Based on a data set comprised of central-level official documents, national model citizen lists, and media reports, this study qualitatively examines how the Chinese state constructs “good” and “bad” citizen ideal types. 


Call for Papers: 2024 CIBEL Global Network Conference and Young Scholars Workshop (Nov 20-21, 2024)

Posted on Tue, May 21, 2024

China International Business and Economic Law (CIBEL) Centre, University of New South Wales


This year’s theme will be on Restoring Global Supply Chains: From Regulatory Divergence to Connectivity and Coherence. Bringing together researchers, policymakers, and businesses, our event aims to discuss policies and regulatory frameworks developed by governments domestically and internationally, the interaction between regulatory actions and business strategies, the challenges associated with regulatory divergence, the impact on global supply chains, and steps that have been or can be taken to pursue regulatory connectivity and coherence including through bilateral, regional and international cooperation. [Due date for proposal submission: Jul 22, 2024]


Connotation and Characteristics of Chinese Rule of Law Path

Posted on Tue, May 21, 2024

Xiaobo Dong, Nanjing Normal University

Jie Guo, Nanjing Normal University


Chinese rule of law path embodies profound historical connotations, reflects the distinct socialist nature, mirrors the objective laws of the process of rule of law modernization, and verifies the inherent character of the development of the rule of law. Since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, especially in the more than 40 years of reform and opening up, the arduous practice of exploring a new path to the modernization of the rule of law with Chinese characteristics has historically formed the overall characteristics of the Chinese rule of law path.


The Unintended Consequence of Environmental Regulation

Posted on Mon, May 20, 2024

Hao Gao et al., Tsinghua University


This paper aims to reveal whether implementing stricter environmental regulation will generate unintended effect on corporate decision. Employing the enforcement of China’s New Environmental Protection Law as an exogenous shock, our results show that firms belonging to polluting industries manipulate discretionary accruals upward to smooth the heightened compliance costs. Furthermore, corporate earnings management induced by environmental regulation compromise firms’ future growth without improving corporate environmental performance.


Cross-Border Data Flow in China: Shifting from Restriction to Relaxation?

Posted on Mon, May 20, 2024

Shuai Guo, China University of Political Science and Law

Xiang Li, 21st Century of China Research Center


In recent years, contrary to the general international perception that China imposes strict restrictions especially due to national security concerns, China is de facto relaxing its regulation on cross-border data flow especially for digital trade. This article suggests three underlying incentives. It further submits that this paradigm shift would has two main implications: first, due to economic reasons, the international trend of freeing cross-border data flow would be joined by China and others. Second, a catalogue-based security review would be interesting for all countries that intend to balance free flow of information vis-à-vis national security.


Book: The Role of Law in China’s Economic Development, 1978–2011

Posted on Fri, May 17, 2024

Jia Hu, Goethe University Frankfurt


This book concerns how China's legal institutions promoted its economic growth and demonstrates that the law has played different roles at various stages of China's economic transformation, a signal of legal paradigm shifts in reaction to the changing political and economic pursuits.


China-made National Security Law Applied in Hong Kong’s Common Law Courts

Posted on Fri, May 17, 2024

Guobin Zhu, City University of Hong Kong

Shiling Xiao, City University of Hong Kong


The Chinese legislature enacted the National Security Law on 30 June 2020 to be applied in Hong Kong. This article compares the texts between the NSL and relevant Chinese Mainland law and identifies four ways in which the Chinese legislative provisions and legal elements have been incorporated into the NSL. This suggests that completely disregarding Chinese laws in Hong Kong judicial proceedings may not be feasible and advisable in some cases for interpreting and applying this specific made-in-China law. 


Understanding Chinese Internet Users' Perceptions of, and Online Platforms' Compliance with, the Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL)

Posted on Thu, May 16, 2024

Morgana Mo Zhou and others, City University of Hong Kong


The PIPL was implemented in November 2021. However, the impact and existing shortcomings of the PIPL remain unclear, carrying significant implications for policymakers. This study examined privacy policies on 13 online platforms before and after the PIPL. Concurrently, it conducted semi-structured interviews with 30 Chinese Internet users to assess their perceptions of the PIPL. Users were also given tasks to identify non-compliance within the platforms, assessing their ability to address related privacy concerns effectively. 


Olson in China: Regional Chamber of Commerce, Political Brokers, and Firm Subsidies

Posted on Thu, May 16, 2024

Zeren Li, National University of Singapore

Shenghua Lu, Zhejiang University


Selective incentives are a crucial mechanism for preventing the free-rider problem in Olson’s theory of collective action. This study analyzes the selective incentives offered by business interest groups in China. The authors demonstrate that the selective benefits provided by business associations include access to political leaders. These associations act as brokers, connecting member firms with powerful officials who offer particularistic benefits. 

Rights in China: Myths, Abuses, and Politics

Posted on Tue, May 14, 2024

Sida Liu, The University of Hong Kong

Sitao Li, University of Toronto


This article presents a sociological perspective on understanding rights in China, examining the interplay between multiple myths of rights, rights abuses, and the politics of rights within various social and physical spaces. It highlights competing myths of rights held by the state, ordinary citizens, rights activists, and legal professionals. The article examines how rights abuses contribute to rights consciousness and mobilization across different human rights domains in a particular political context. By analyzing the politics of rights in interconnected spaces, it emphasizes the importance of continuous engagement between domestic and overseas actors in shaping China’s human rights future.


Highlights: Will the EU's AI Act Have a 'Brussels Effect' on China?

Posted on Tue, May 14, 2024

Philip K. H. Wong Centre for Chinese Law, The University of Hong Kong


On April 26, 2024, the second session of our “Generative AI Governance Summit Dialogue” series was successfully held, which centered on the EU AI Act and China’s AI legislative initiatives. The event was conducted as a Zoom roundtable and livestreamed on four popular platforms: PKULaw, XiaoeTech, Bilibili, and WeChat, attracting nearly 6000 online viewers. The lively atmosphere and engaging discussion were highly appreciated and praised by the audience. We offer a synopsis of the dialogue to encourage further discussions on AI governance in the future.


The Order of Law-based vs. Rules-based: The Competition in Space Order Between China and the United States

Posted on Mon, May 13, 2024

Qisong He, East China University of Political Science and Law


China has attempted to build a law-based order in the emerging strategic space competition that is distinct from the US rules-based order. This article examines China’s law-based order and compares it with the US rules-based order. The article also explores how China has competed with the US in the reconstruction of the order in space and the consequences of this competition. 


Talk: China's Path to Establishing Rule of Law (May 28, 2024)

Posted on Mon, May 13, 2024

Philip K.H. Wong Centre for Chinese Law, The University of Hong Kong


This lecture will review and summarize the pivotal moments and distinctive features of China’s legal development history. Professor Jianyong Li will highlight the accomplishments made by mainland China in its pursuit of the rule of law. Additionally, he will discuss the prevalent issues and shortcomings, and offer valuable insights into the future prospects of the rule of law in China.

Date & Time: May 28, 2024 (Tuesday) 12:00 – 14:05

Venue: Room 723, 7/F, Cheng Yu Tung Tower, HKU (Live via Zoom)


Online Trials in China: Legal and Institutional Approaches During Different Stages of the Pandemic

Posted on Fri, May 10, 2024

Chi Zhang, Peking University

Zhewei Liu, Peking University


China has set off a wave of legal and institutional approaches to meet the need of access to justice and rule of law in cyberspace. Online trials and Internet courts as the approaches have not been developed so rapidly until the outbreak of COVID-19. This article will divide the development of online trials in China into three stages and discuss their functions and orientations during different times of the pandemic.


Fairness in Chinese Contract Law: A Borrowed Mistake

Posted on Fri, May 10, 2024

Hao Jiang, Tulane University

James Gordley, Tulane University


Chinese law on contractual fairness has recently been modified to resemble that of the US and Europe. For a contract to be invalid, there must be both substantive and procedural unfairness. Substantive unfairness contradicts the will theories which were concerned only with what the parties willed and not with what is fair. Requiring procedural unfairness is an attempt to salvage an element of these theories by suggesting that the reason for giving relief is some defect in the will such as a failure in the bargaining process. It fails to account for what is really at stake. The result is an incoherence in doctrine which China imported from the West. Chinese law would have been better off on its own.


China's Path to Establishing Rule of Law

Posted on Thu, May 9, 2024

Philip K.H. Wong Centre for Chinese Law, The University of Hong Kong


Professor Jianyong Li will highlight the accomplishments made by mainland China in its pursuit of the rule of law, starting with the reform and opening up and with special focus on the progress made since 1997. Additionally, he will discuss the prevalent issues and shortcomings, and offer valuable insights into the future prospects of the rule of law in China.

Date & Time: May 28, 2024 (Tuesday) 12:00 – 14:05

Venue: Room 723, 7/F, Cheng Yu Tung Tower, HKU (Live via Zoom)


China’s Legal Efforts to Facilitate Cross-border Data Transfers: A Comprehensive Reality Check

Posted on Thu, May 9, 2024

Fengan Jiang, China University of Political Science and Law


In the past, the Chinese government mainly focused on the issue of national security and thus created a security assessment mechanism for cross-border data flows (CBDFs) with broad coverage. It is about time for China to reconsider its data governance regime based on a balanced approach. Various initiatives to facilitate CBDF have thus been started in so-called pilot free trade zones (FTZs) and special administrative regions (SARs). The good practice in FTZs would help formulate nationwide rules. 


FRT Regulation in China

Posted on Wed, May 8, 2024

Jyh-An Lee, Chinese University of Hong Kong

Peng Zhou, Chinese University of Hong Kong


This chapter introduces China’s legal framework regulating facial recognition technology (FRT) and analyzes the underlying problems. Although current laws and regulations have restricted the deployment of FRT under some circumstances, these restrictions may function poorly when the technology is installed by the government or deployed for the purpose of protecting public security. Based on case studies and evaluation of relevant rules, this chapter explains why China has developed this distinctive asymmetric regulatory model towards FRT specifically and personal data generally.


In the Name of Protection—A Critical Analysis of China's Legal Framework of Children's Personal Information Protection in the Digital Era

Posted on Wed, May 8, 2024

Guan Zheng, Zhejiang University

Jinchun Shu, Zhejiang University


This article provides a critical analysis of the China's legal framework of children's personal information protection in the digital era. It demonstrates that Chinese lawmakers adopt a dual-protection paradigm consisting of data privacy law and family law to protect children’s personal information. This results in severe restrictions on children's freedom of expression and access to information, along with their evolving capacities, while depriving parents of the right to the custody of their children. This article argues that different legal frameworks should be adopted for different age groups of children to protect the best interest of the child. 


Recognition and Enforcement of Money Judgments between the People's Republic of China and the United States of America: A Comparative Analysis

Posted on Tue, May 7, 2024

Sui To Godfrey Ng, University College London


This paper aims to explore the possibilities of future cooperation on mutual recognition and enforcement of money judgments between China and the US by comparing relevant legal systems, case law, and commentaries. Evidence suggests that there will generally be little pushback for Chinese courts to find theoretical reciprocity and subsequently recognize and enforce US judgments. Harmonization between the two legal systems has been the trend and remains the most feasible and appropriate approach to facilitate the recognition and enforcing of money judgments among the two countries in the foreseeable future.


The Sale of Offices, Corruption, and Formalization: A Comparative Study of China and France in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries

Posted on Tue, May 7, 2024

Xinyu Huang, Yale University


This paper provides a detailed exploration of the sale of offices in China and France in the 17th and 18th centuries. In France, the sale of offices became deeply integrated into the officialdom, effectively serving as a formal institution. However, this practice led to public dissatisfaction due to concerns about the fairness of the judicial system. Conversely, in China, the sale of offices was considered an ad hoc, informal, and pragmatic solution to financial emergencies. The sale of offices, in a different context, was seen as having both positive and negative aspects, with its impact varying, depending on the specific function it served.


Land Reform and Illegal Adoption of Children

Posted on Mon, May 6, 2024

Yu Bai, Tohoku University

Yanjun Li, Tohoku University


Masaki Nakabayashi, University of Tokyo

The paper investigates how China's land reform during 1978–1984 derived demand for children beyond the one-child policy's birth quota, leading to increased illegal adoption of abandoned or abducted children, particularly boys. Following the reform, transitioning land rights from collective to individual households granted them decision-making authority and full residual income from the land. This quasi-property rights shock weakened clan influence, which traditionally valued bloodline, catalyzing a societal shift in family concepts.


The Synergistic Effect of the Supervision Law Amendment and Commission for Discipline Inspection Involvement

Posted on Mon, May 6, 2024

Yile Wang, Sichuan University

Yuhan Wang, Sichuan University

Haiyue Liu, Sichuan University


Based on the Fraud Triangle Theory and Legitimacy Theory, this study demonstrates the effectiveness of political supervision in optimizing corporate governance. Focusing on the enhancement of the status and functions of the Commission for Discipline Inspection in Chinese SOEs through supervision system reforms, the authors posit the fundamental hypothesis that state ownership’s monitoring role enhances internal governance. This study fundamentally contributes to the theoretical exploration of institutional factors influencing internal governance within firms.


Establishing Law in Context: An Insider's Perspective

Posted on Fri, May 3, 2024

Francis Snyder, Peking University 


The Law in Context Movement was a revolution in legal studies. This blog traces its origins and development from the 1990s till today and outlines various contributions to law teaching and research, such as the International Workshop of Young Scholars (WISH) , the ELJ from 1995 to 2014 and today's journal published by Cambridge University Press, European Law Open.


Authoritarian Legality with Chinese Characteristics

Posted on Fri, May 3, 2024

Kwai Hang Ng, University of California, San Diego


The concept of authoritarianism has risen to prominence in the community of legal scholars studying non-democratic regimes. China’s legality is also described as authoritarian. However, what does it mean to label China as having a system of authoritarian law? The concept of authoritarianism, and by extension, authoritarian legality, is yet underexamined. This article discusses how China, as a single-party state, differs from other authoritarian regimes in developing its own brand of authoritarian legality that the author describes as “legal gradationalism.” 


Angela Huyue Zhang on Why Beijing Took On the Tech Giants

Posted on Thu, May 2, 2024

Eliot Chen, The Wire China


Angela Huyue Zhang is the author of High Wire: How China Regulates Big Tech and Governs Its Economy, a highly acclaimed book that absorbs all that happened during China’s 2020–2022 tech crackdown to explain how the government there regulates its tech sector. In this lightly edited Q&A, Angela Huyue Zhang spoke with Eliot Chen about when and why Beijing’s attitude towards China’s big tech darlings changed, how the relationship between regulators and companies has developed in the aftermath of the crackdown, and what all this means for China’s artificial intelligence industry.


Actions and Motives of Interactions between Regulators and Firms in Fintech Policy Making in China

Posted on Thu, May 2, 2024

Yan Xu, Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Zhongren Zhao, Shantou University


Through purposive sampling and snowball sampling, coupled with semi-structured in-depth interviews with key figures from some local regulators and focal firms in the Fintech sector, this study intends to systematically describe the relations between the regulators and firms as mutual engines in policy making in China’s Fintech sector for the first time. The result shows that Co-production of knowledge, Framing of co-benefits, Provision of capacity, Engagement of experts, and Legitimacy of regulatory authority are the five primary motives of interactions between Fintech regulators and firms.


Empowering through Courts: Court Capture and Municipal Financing in China

Posted on Tue, Apr. 30, 2024

Jiayin Hu, Peking University

Wenwei Peng, Harvard University

Yang Su, Chinese University of Hong Kong


This paper shows that alleviating court capture by local governments can inadvertently undermine local governments’ borrowing capacity. By exploiting the staggered roll-out of a judicial organizational reform that aims to alleviate local court capture in China, this paper finds that alleviating court capture can reduce judicial bias favoring local governments. Since the majority of government lawsuits involve contractors and suppliers rather than creditors, creditors are inadvertently disadvantaged, leading to higher government borrowing costs, lower borrowing capacity, and reduced spending. This effect occurs despite the fact that contractors and suppliers respond by offering slightly lower prices ex ante.


Construction of Model Contract Law for Guangdong-Macao Intensive Cooperation Zone in Hengqin

Posted on Tue, Apr. 30, 2024

Man Teng Iong, University of Macau


The Guangdong-Macao Intensive Cooperation Zone in Hengqin has emerged as a pivotal economic hub. This article delves into a comparative study of contract laws between the People’s Republic of China and Macao. Analyzing key facets such as pacta sunt servanda, freedom of contract, principle of equity, contract form, principles of interpretation, and termination of contract, the study identifies nuanced differences. Recognizing the imperative of aligning contract laws for the Intensive Cooperation Zone’s development, the article advocates for a unified legal environment.


Damages Per Share in Securities Litigation: A Comparison of Chinese and US Systems

Posted on Mon, Apr. 29, 2024

Timothy J McKenna, NERA Economic Consulting


In late 2021, the Intermediate People’s Court of Guangzhou awarded damages totaling RMB 2.46 billion to investors in Kangmei Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. This article compares the methodology used by the Court to compute damages with the methodology typically used in securities litigation in the US. The Court’s method is not centered on what can be directly observed about the impact of the fraud. As such, if the goal is to compensate investors solely for their losses due to the fraud, the method used by the Court is not as accurate as the method used in the US.


Hong Kong Matrimonial Finance Law – Enamoured by Big Banking?

Posted on Mon, Apr. 29, 2024

Alexander Clevewood Ng, University College London


This article critiques the recent Hong Kong District Court decision of Shanghai Commercial Bank v Lee Yau Tak due to its application of an erroneous approach in operating the common intention constructive trust in situations concerning matrimonial finance. It highlights the increasing role of commerciality in similar cases and evaluates whether, despite being overruled by the Hong Kong Court of Appeal, this would have major societal implications.


The Limits of Liberal Justice: On Authoritarianism and Instrumental Theories of Law

Posted on Fri, Apr. 26, 2024

Teemu Ruskola, University of Pennsylvania


This paper uses Sucheng Wang’s book Law as an Instrument as a point of departure for reconsidering the conventional opposition between liberal and authoritarian forms of legality. This opposition is embedded in an even more elemental distinction between different state forms. The author first investigates the historical and geopolitical processes by which modern political theory reduced the political universe into three (then two) species of states. He then turns to the contemporary genealogy of the concept of rule of law. The paper concludes by focusing on the China to evaluate the utility of assessing its legal order in terms of authoritarian legality as well as in terms of democracy more generally.


Competition Law Response to Platform’s Banning Behavior: Rethinking EU and China’s Solution

Posted on Fri, Apr. 26, 2024

Hechen Wang, China University of Political Science and Law


Banning behavior is the most prevalent and potent method for platforms to build up high walls to prevent competitors. A thorough understanding of the implications of banning behavior and an evaluation of its competitive harm are prerequisites for competition law intervention. The EU DMA and China’s competition law exemplify two different legislative strategies to tackle platform banning behaviors, and neither is flawless. Reflecting on these approaches and their potential impacts can provide valuable insights for future competition laws regulating banning behaviors.


Analysis of Legal Framework for Investment in Africa by Chinese Firms and Government

Posted on Thu, Apr. 25, 2024

Nicholas Olwor, Kyambogo University


This study is based on enormous amount of Chinese investments in Uganda, with the objective of considering the legal aspects involved therein. Under international business law, commercial relations are usually ruled according to the law of the country hosting the investment. This study examined the legal regimes of Chinese investments in Uganda and the challenges presented by the Chinese investment in the country given that the systems of business law in Uganda are generally out of date and enforcement mechanisms under Western rule of law standards are often far from reality.


Pandemic Impact and Women's Resilience in China

Posted on Thu, Apr. 25, 2024

Xiaoqian Hu, University of Arizona

Yanliu Tao, Renmin University of China

Qichen Zhang, Renmin University of China


This chapter seeks to draw a macro image on gender and Covid-19 in China through a bricolage of snapshots including academic literature, national surveys, and two sets of in-depth interviews. Compared with men, women in China experienced more economic insecurity, heavier workload in the workplace and at home, and worse personal well-being during the pandemic. The impact fell disproportionately on women with less education, a lower economic status, a rural background, or childrearing obligations. 


Toward a Postmetaphysical Approach to the Study of Chinese Law

Posted on Wed, Apr. 24, 2024

Xiaoqian Hu, University of Arizona


In a world where differences between the United States and China are increasingly amplified and weaponized, how can legal scholars study China fairly, insightfully, and constructively? To explore this question, the author contrasts two approaches to studying Chinese law: the “metaphysical approach” and the “postmetaphysical approach.” Although neither approach is wholly practiced or rejected by any real-world scholar, these ideal types help illustrate the different ways of seeing, knowing, and analyzing China. 


Casting Gender Light on Authoritarian Legality in China

Posted on Wed, Apr. 24, 2024

Jue Jiang, University of London


This paper provides a rare yet much-needed gender perspective on authoritarian legality in China, drawing upon sentencing and punishment for the crime of rape. Four categories of cases were selected, based on four sexual relationships embodying various power dynamics between the offender and the victim: public official and citizen/sex worker; husband and wife; adult and child; caregiver and dependent. Based on empirical research, the author argues that the criminal justice system in China embodies and reinforces a particular gendered order and “sex hierarchy,” instrumentalized by the state to maintain its authoritarian power.


China’s Pragmatic Approach to International Human Rights Law

Posted on Tue, Apr. 23, 2024

Sida Liu, The University of Hong Kong

Yun Xian, The University of Hong Kong

Sitao Li, University of Toronto


This article argues that China has adopted a pragmatic approach to international human rights law in the early 21st century, characterized by three main features: (1) pragmatic experimentation in the appropriation and modification of human rights norms; (2) selective decoupling of international and domestic human rights rules; and (3) divergent enforcement in the legislative and practical responses to various human rights issue areas. Contrasting the normative approach of the United States, which closely links human rights to democracy and the rule of law, China’s pragmatic approach is defined not only by the prioritization of social and economic rights over civil and political rights, as frequently shown by its critics, but also by the flexible applications of human rights rules in its lawmaking and enforcement. This approach permits significant gaps between “law on the books” and “law in action,” as well as between domestic rules and international law.


Will the EU AI Act Have a “Brussels Effect” on China? (Apr 26 2024)

Posted on Tue, Apr. 23, 2024

Philip K. H. Wong Centre for Chinese Law, The University of Hong Kong


In March 2024, the European Parliament officially adopted the EU AI Act. Concurrently, leading Chinese legal scholars have proposed model AI laws and are actively seeking feedback from policymakers and industry experts across China. In light of these recent developments, the second session of our Generative AI Governance Summit Dialogue series will focus on the EU AI Act and explore whether it will have a “Brussels Effect” on China. Topics will include the scope of AI legislation, management of open-source models, the risk-based regulatory framework, oversight of highly impactful AI systems, and various practical implementation challenges. 

Date & Time: April 26, 2024 (Friday), 21:00–22:15 (HKT), 09:00-10:15 (EDT)

Venue: Zoom Webinar (Chinese & English with simultaneous interpretation)


Asian Law Junior Scholars Workshop, August 22-23, 2024

Posted on Mon, Apr. 22, 2024

Yale Law School


Applications due by May 20, 2024


A group of scholars working on Asian Law have come together to organize a rotating workshop for prospective law teaching job market candidates who write in this field. The workshop seeks to aid junior scholars in their initial job searches by offering them an opportunity to present their research (including potential job market papers) on Asian law to peers, conference co-organizers, and invited senior scholars. It will also provide a roundtable conversation on the logistics of the job market, focusing specifically on the unique challenges that Asian law scholars tend to face.


This workshop invites advanced doctoral students, recent JD graduates, and VAPs/fellows who study some aspect of Asian law to apply to present their research at our inaugural workshop at Yale Law School on August 22-23, 2024. This in-person workshop is open exclusively to junior scholars who plan to go on the law teaching market at some point in the next three calendar years (2024-26). Successful applicants will receive funding for travel.


Applicants must submit a curriculum vitae with a list of references, a completed paper of comparable length and substance to usual job talk papers, and a short (200 words) description of their expected job search timeline. Application materials are due by May 20, 2024 by email attachment to


The co-organizers listed below together constitute the selection committee. Applicants will be notified by early June of decision on selection. 


Jacques deLisle (UPenn)

Mark Jia (Georgetown)

Ji Li (UC Irvine)

Shitong Qiao (Duke)

Mark Wu (Harvard)

Angela Huyue Zhang (USC, starting from Fall 2024)

Taisu Zhang (Yale, current host)


“Intelligent Justice”: Human-centered Considerations in China’s Legal AI Transformation

Posted on Fri, Apr. 19, 2024

Nyu Wang, Virginia Tech

Michael Yuan Tian, Virginia Tech


In recent years, the Chinese government and its judiciary have made a policy decision to leverage AI in broader judicial reform efforts. The push to use AI to such a large extent in the judiciary is unique to China, influenced by chronic challenges facing the courts, including an exponential increase in casework and a shortage of qualified professionals in the judiciary. This piece briefly summarizes the current landscape of China’s technology-driven judicial reform and highlights a number of key considerations that the authors believe are pivotal to whether China’s investment in AI will succeed in improving the efficiency and legitimacy of the courts.


Bridging Two Worlds: Comparing Classical Political Thought and Statecraft in India and China

Posted on Fri, Apr. 19, 2024

Amitav Acharya, American University

Daniel A. Bell, The University of Hong Kong

Rajeev Bhargava, Parekh Institute of Indian Thought

Xuetong Yan, Tsinghua University


The rise of China and India could be the most important political development of the 21st century. What will the foreign policies of China and India look like in the future? What should they look like? And what can each country learn from the other? Bridging Two Worlds gathers a coterie of experts in the field, analyzing profound political thinkers from these ancient regions whose theories of interstate relations set the terms for the debates today. This volume is the first work of its kind and is essential reading for anyone interested in the growth of China and India and what it means for the rest of the world.


Smart Governance in China’s Political-Legal System

Posted on Thu, Apr. 18, 2024

Straton Papagianneas, Leiden University


The rapid digitization and automation of social governance in China, called “smart governance,” entail new approaches to social and political control, driven by innovations in algorithmic systems, big data analytics, and artificial intelligence. This article seeks to reveal the ideological foundations of the PRC’s push for “smart governance.” Drawing on international scholarship on Chinese Marxism and Leninism, it argues that the positivist organizational and ideological principles of Marxism-Leninism help explain why technology and automation are embraced so enthusiastically by the Chinese party-state. 


The US–China Rivalry and the Emergence of State Platform Capitalism

Posted on Thu, Apr. 18, 2024

Steve Rolf, University of Sussex


The rise of digital platforms as a new form of business organization concentrates power in the United States and China. Platform capitalism further intersects with and reinforces pre-existing trends towards state capitalism, where states more actively direct economies in response to economic turbulence and heightened geopolitical tension. The concentration of global business power within two states, combined with the increasing capacity for these states to leverage and direct platform activities for their own geopolitical–economic ends, has catalyzed the rise of “state platform capitalism.”


Venture Capital Research in China: Data and Institutional Details

Posted on Wed, Apr. 17, 2024

Jun Chen, Renmin University of China


China has already become the second largest venture capital market in the world after the US. Despite the remarkable growth of both China’s tech sector and venture capital market, academic research in this area remains sparse. Two broad issues hinder the efforts of researchers studying this market: choosing the right data sources and understanding evolving institutional details. To address these two issues, the author first describes available data sources, accompanied with filters aimed at improving the quality of the data. He then reviews institutional details unique to the Chinese setting and recent regulatory changes that have direct impacts on the Chinese venture capital market


Regulating Donation-based Crowdfunding Platforms in Hong Kong: A Trust Law Framework

Posted on Wed, Apr. 17, 2024

Hui Jing, The University of Hong Kong


Recent media coverage highlighting scandals of maladministration of donation funds in the context of informal public donation appeals has impelled regulators to establish a systemic framework to govern crowdfunding platforms that host informal public donation appeals in Hong Kong. This article addresses two main aspects of this topic. First, it discusses the operation of crowdfunding platforms that host informal public donation appeals and the risks associated with them. Second, it explores the feasibility of utilising trust law to regulate the administration of donation funds by these crowdfunding platforms.


Law and Industrial Policy: the East Asian Experience

Posted on Tue, Apr. 16, 2024

James Si Zeng, Chinese University of Hong Kong 


According to the conventional wisdom of law and development, the role of law in economic development is primarily passive, focusing on property protection and contract enforcement. However, East Asian economies have defied this conventional approach by achieving remarkable growth through the strategic implementation of industrial policies. Building on the experiences of East Asian economies, particularly China, this article argues that law can serve as an instrument for implementing industrial policy objectives. Consequently, industrial policy introduces a hierarchical dimension to the law. By comprehending the interplay between industrial policy and law, we can gain fresh perspectives on how the law impacts economic development. 


Book Review: A Certain Justice: Toward an Ecology of the Chinese Legal Imagination

Posted on Tue, Apr. 16, 2024

Teemu Ruskola, University of Pennsylvania


While there is already much excellent work in the genre of Chinese Law and Literature, Haiyan Lee’s A Certain Justice: Toward an Ecology of the Chinese Legal Imagination (University of Chicago Press 2023) sets a new standard for the field. This is a review Lee’s smart and ambitious book, which far exceeds the bounds of both law and literature, expanding into adjacent fields of legal and literary humanities: history, political theory, moral philosophy, and cognitive psychology, to name just some of the many literatures on which Lee draws. The book is filled with exciting local and global insights, some of which are dazzling.


Revolutionizing the Family: Politics, Love, and Divorce in Urban and Rural China, 1949–1968

Posted on Mon, Apr. 15, 2024

Neil J. Diamant, Dickinson College


In 1950, China enacted a Marriage Law to allow free choice in marriage and easier access to divorce. In this comprehensive study of the effects of that law, Neil J. Diamant draws on newly opened urban and rural archival sources to offer a detailed analysis of how the law was interpreted and implemented throughout the country. In sharp contrast to previous studies of the Marriage Law, which have argued that it had little effect in rural areas, Diamant argues that the law reshaped marriage and family relationships in significant--but often unintended--ways throughout the Maoist period. 


China's Financial System and Economy: A Review

Posted on Mon, Apr. 15, 2024

Zhiguo He, University of Chicago

Wei Wei, University of Chicago


China's financial system has been integral to its spectacular economic growth over the past 40 years. While early work on China's financial system emphasizes the state-owned enterprise reform, the recent literature explores other more market-based financing channels—including shadow banking—that grew rapidly after 2010. These new financing channels not only are intertwined with each other, but also, and more importantly, are often ultimately tied back to the dominant banking sector in China. Understanding the mechanisms behind these channels and their intrinsic connections is crucial to alleviate capital allocation distortion and mitigate potential systemic financial risk in China.


Talk: A Great Shift—The Birth of Regulatory Party State in China (Apr 24, 2024)

Posted on Fri, Apr. 12, 2024

Philip K. H. Wong Centre for Chinese Law, The University of Hong Kong


Since 2012, China’s approach to economic governance has undergone a significant transformation. Dr. Andrew Huang introduces the “Great Shift” concept, which denotes a recalibration of the state-market boundary within China’s political economy. Acknowledging the Great Shift calls for rethinking traditional “state capitalism” views and adopting a more nuanced engagement with China’s distinct state-driven model. Dr. Huang sheds light on the pivotal elements driving the Great Shift and its extensive impact on China’s political economy and the broader scope of global economic governance.

Date & Time: April 24, 2024 (Wednesday) 12:00 - 13:00 (HKT)

Venue: Academic Conference Room, 11/F, Cheng Yu Tung Tower, HKU (In-person only)


Trafficking Data: How China Is Winning the Battle for Digital Sovereignty

Posted on Fri, Apr. 12, 2024

Aynne Kokas, University of Virginia


Drawing on years of fieldwork in the US and China and a large trove of corporate and policy documents, this book explains how China is fast becoming the global leader in internet governance and policy, and thus of the data that defines our public and private lives. Confronting data trafficking as the defining international competition of the 21st century, this book advocates for an alternative future of data stabilization.


The National People's Congress in China

Posted on Thu, Apr. 11, 2024

Ying Sun, Sun Yat-Sen University


China is a unitary system with two special administrative regions (SARs). The Chinese government does not welcome the idea of checks-and-balance as it believes that the people's will can only be exercised through the people's congress system. According to the Chinese Constitution, the National People's Congress is the highest organ of state power. 


Foreign Investment in China: The Administrative Legal System

Posted on Thu, Apr. 11, 2024

Peter Corne, NYU Shanghai


China’s legal system is characterized by the gap between law and reality. Focusing on regulatory law, and with reference to the foreign investment area, this book identifies the functional and structural problems within China’s administrative legal system that perpetuate this gap.


Can Targeted Poverty Alleviation Reduce Criminal Offences? Empirical Evidence from China Judgments Online Data

Posted on Wed, Apr. 10, 2024

Yi Mengjie, China Academy of Fiscal Science

Jiasheng Li, Tsinghua University

Guangjun Shen, Sun Yat-sen University


Targeted Poverty Alleviation (TPA) is an important leverage for China to overcome poverty. While its economic effects are well studied, less is known about the social impact of TPA. Based on trial documents data from the China Judgments Online, the authors use DID method and find the growth rate of criminal offenses reduced by over 20% after the implementation of TPA. The income growth effect from TPA is the primary mechanism for suppressing criminal crimes. Improved employment plays a role as well. 


Constituency Service and Valence Voting in Semi-Competitive Elections: Theory and Evidence of China

Posted on Wed, Apr. 10, 2024

Yu Zeng, Peking University

Junzhi He, Sun Yat-sen University

Xiaobo Lu, Columbia University


While extensive research has delved into various factors shaping vote choice in democratic elections, few has investigated vote choice in the semi-competitive elections where the ruling party typically secures unequivocal victory. But the noteworthy phenomenon of a few independent candidates winning votes and even seats in these elections suggests that vote choice in closed regimes merits scholarly attention. This study examines China’s local congressional elections using comparative case studies and a conjoint experiment. 

The Influence of ERP-Vendor Contract Compliance and Transaction-Specific Investment on Vendee Trust: A Signaling Theory Perspective

Posted on Tue, Apr. 9, 2024

Xiaolin Li, Towson University

Paul Benjamin Lowry, Virginia Tech

Fujun Lai, University of Southern Mississippi


The successful implementation of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems is significantly predicated on establishing customer trust, a challenge accentuated in mainland China. Whereas contracts and transaction-specific investments are common strategies to build this trust, their effectiveness remains contested in the existing literature. Specifically, the underlying mechanisms through which detailed contracts influence trust are still not clearly understood. To address these gaps, this study employs signaling theory to conceptualize a model that elucidates how contract completeness, vendor contract compliance, transaction-specific investment act, and ownership type as trust-building signals in ERP vendor–vendee relationships within the Chinese context.


Damages Per Share in Securities Litigation: A Comparison of Chinese and US Systems

Posted on Mon, Apr. 8, 2024

Timothy J McKenna, NERA Economic Consulting


In late 2021, the Intermediate People’s Court of Guangzhou awarded damages totaling RMB 2.46 billion to investors in Kangmei Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. This article compares the methodology used by the Court to compute damages with the methodology typically used in securities litigation in the US. Unlike the methodology used in the US, the Court’s method is not centered on what can be directly observed about the impact of the fraud. As such, if the goal is to compensate investors solely for their losses due to the fraud, the method used by the Court is not as accurate as the method used in the US.


The Intersection of National Security & Bilingualism in the Written Corpus of Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal

Posted on Mon, Apr. 8, 2024

Stuart Hargreaves, Chinese University of Hong Kong


This Chapter updates prior research regarding translation of Court of Final Appeal judgments from English into Chinese to the end of 2023. It suggests that while translation rates remain low overall, a pattern appears to be emerging in which judgments related to the National Security Law (NSL) are prioritized for translation. The author contends that this shows conscious decisions are being taken regarding which decisions to translate and in turn this is an implicit admission that translation matters. And if it matters, then the responsibility lays with the Government to improve funding to ensure that complete translation of the Court’s output is available.


Book Talk: How to Revive China’s Sagging Economy? (Apr 22 2024)

Posted on Fri, Apr. 5, 2024

Philip K. H. Wong Centre for Chinese Law, The University of Hong Kong


China’s economy is at a crossroads, facing its most significant challenges in recent memory. Amidst this economic turmoil, a fierce debate has emerged among leading experts: Is the current economic downturn a result of ingrained structural issues, excessive state intervention, or escalating geopolitical tensions? In this roundtable discussion, Professor Angela Zhang will offer a fresh perspective by steering the conversation towards the distinct model of China’s regulatory governance, drawing insights from her newly released book, “High Wire: How China Regulates Big Tech and Governs Its Economy.”


Confucian Legal Tradition

Posted on Wed, Apr. 3, 2024

Ngoc Son Bui, University of Oxford


This chapter conceptualises the Confucian legal tradition as a historically extended and legally embodied Confucian argument. The Confucian legal tradition has three features. First, it is jurisprudentially founded on a set of Confucian concepts and principles justifying the importance of good men. Second, the Confucian argument is embodied in structural institutions and legal codes in premodern and modern East Asia (China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam). Third, legally embodied Confucian concepts and principles are historically extended for thousands of years from formation, consolidation, and transnationalisation to modernisation.


Borrowing without Banks: Deposit-Taking by Early Twentieth-Century Chinese Firms (1920s–1930s)

Posted on Tue, Apr. 2, 2024

Michael Ng, The University of Hong Kong

This article examines how and why renowned Republican-era Chinese firms raised debt capital to finance their businesses by accepting savings deposits from ordinary people instead of borrowing from financial institutions. The article argues that in the absence of a powerful unitary state and centralized financial institutions, Chinese firms innovated sophisticated, decentralized financial instruments capable of amassing large quantities of capital from a broad host of depositors without the involvement of financial intermediaries. 


China’s Comparative Law

Posted on Thu, Mar. 28, 2024

Albert Chen, The University of Hong Kong


This chapter provides an overview of the legal system and history of China, highlighting the evolution of Chinese law from ancient times to the present day. It discusses the development of Legalism and Confucianism as the foundations of traditional Chinese law, the influence of Western legal systems during the modernization period, and the establishment of the PRC with its various constitutions. The chapter also covers the structure and function of China’s political and legal institutions, its civil and commercial laws, the court system, and legal education.


Anti-Corruption in a Party-State

Posted on Wed, Mar. 27, 2024

James Lee, The University of Hong Kong


The 2018 amendments to the PRC Constitution saw the establishment of a system of supervisory commissions, which is a landmark development not only for anti-corruption, but also constitutional law in China. After providing an overview of the background and legal framework of the reform, this article discusses its constitutional implications from three perspectives. The article concludes with some brief reflections on what this development indicates for the future of the rule of law in China, and highlights the potential for further research.


The Case for Regulating Generative AI Through Common Law

Posted on Wed, Mar. 27, 2024

S. Alex Yang, London Business School

Angela Huyue Zhang, The University of Hong Kong


The European Union’s Artificial Intelligence Act could impede the development of AI technologies, which depends on the availability of human-generated content as training data. By contrast, case-by-case adjudication could prove to be a more effective mechanism for tackling the myriad challenges posed by emerging technologies.


High Theory in Chinese Law

Posted on Tue, Mar. 26, 2024

Mark Jia, Georgetown University


The most contested question in the study of Chinese law is also its most enduring one: how should we characterize China’s legal system? In recent years, scholars have advanced numerous theories to explain Chinese law. Some have emphasized legality; others have stressed order; still others have described the system as dual or multi-faceted. This Essay contributes a set of meta-theoretical insights to these discussions. It argues that the preceding debates would benefit from reflecting on the general qualities that make theories good, with special attention to the analytic costs and benefits of different modes of theorizing. 


Plea Leniency and Prosecution Centredness in China's Criminal Process

Posted on Tue, Mar. 26, 2024

Xin He, The University of Hong Kong


China's criminal proceedings have been recognized as being “investigation centred.” This paper argues that the rise of the Plea Leniency System has led to “prosecution centredness.” While this paradigm shift signals further leniency in criminal justice, rights protections make way for efficiency and crime control. As such, plea leniency has profound implications for the operation of the criminal justice apparatuses, defendants, defence lawyers, and the mode of crime control in China.


Macau and Hong Kong: Convergence or Divergence? 

Posted on Mon, Mar. 25, 2024

Han Zhu, The University of Hong Kong


In May 2023, Macau passed amendments to the Law on Safeguarding National Security (MANSL), drawing heavily on the 2020 Hong Kong National Security Law (HKNSL). This article examines the major modifications made to the MANSL in reference to the HKNSL, and demonstrates that the revised MANSL has deviated from its pro-liberal, narrowly defined precursor. The two distinct paradigms of national security legislation in Hong Kong and Macau reveal the increasingly muddled and complex constitutional relationship between the central authority and the two Special Administrative Regions.

Empirical Study of the Role of the Chinese Guiding Case System in Chinese Law

Posted on Mon, Mar. 25, 2024

Dong Yan, Beijing Foreign Studies University

Jeffrey Thomas, University of Missouri


This article reports on a study of Guiding Case (GC) No. 18 in the field of employment law from its selection in 2013 to 2021. The study also considered the influence of a judicial Meeting Summary on the same topic. Although the precise relationship between the GC and the Meeting Summary is not clear, both were influential, warrant further study and may contribute to legal reform.


The Stewardship of Institutional Investors in China: The Way Forward

Posted on Fri, Mar. 22, 2024

Philip K.H. Wong Centre for Chinese Law, The University of Hong Kong


This talk analyzes various types of institutional investors in China and assesses the evolving stewardship roles of these investors in Chinese listed companies. The speaker advocates for a redesign of the traditional UK-style stewardship framework, suggesting a shift in stewardship responsibility towards investors who inherently possess incentives or resources, specifically strategic investors and the China Securities Investor Services Center. These insights will contribute to targeted and impactful corporate governance reforms, thereby enhancing the effectiveness of institutional stewardship in jurisdictions with concentrated ownership.

Date & Time: March 27, 2024 (Wednesday) 12:30-13:30

Venue: Room 723, 7/F, Cheng Yu Tung Tower, HKU (In-person only)


Meeting the Looming Deadline for Corporate Reorganizations of Sino-Foreign Joint Ventures

Posted on Thu, Mar. 21, 2024

Daniel Chow, Ohio State University


All sino-foreign joint ventures formed under China’s foreign investment legal regime in place for forty years from 1979-2019 must reorganize and register under the landmark Foreign Investment Law of 2020 and the Company Law by December 31, 2024. Failure to register by this date could subject joint ventures to numerous legal obstacles that will severely disrupt the conduct of their business operations and that will be difficult to untangle. Reorganization under the Company Law, however, involves a number of pitfalls that US companies must recognize and avoid in order to successfully file for registration by the deadline.


Religion in China – Historical and Legal Context

Posted on Wed, Mar. 20, 2024

Keren Wang, Pennsylvania State University


The complex and quite rich discourse centered on the three “Abrahamic” religions does not suggest the only way in which one can approach the issue of religious “liberty” or understand the relation among religion and the state. China offers an important and distinctive path that is in its own way more difficult to square with the Western focused discourse that has now become a global standard. Thus is it necessary, before exploring the technical legal details about the interaction of religion and the state in China. This essay offers a brief glimpse at a complex problem, and suggests the basis for the quite substantial difficulties of communicating between systems.


Gender, Sexuality and Constitutionalism in Asia

Posted on Wed, Mar. 20, 2024

Wen-Chen Chang, National Taiwan University

Kelley Loper, The University of Hong Kong

Mara Malagodi, University of Warwick

Ruth Rubio-Marín, University of Sevilla


This book analyses the equal citizenship claims of women and sexual and gender diverse people across several Asian jurisdictions. The volume examines the rich diversity of constitutional responses to sex, gender and sexuality in the region from a comparative perspective. Leading comparative constitutional law scholars identify ‘opportunity structures’ to explain the uneven advancement of gender equality through constitutional litigation and consider a combination of variables which shape the diverging trajectories of the jurisdictions in this study.


Intellectual Property Legislation Holism in China

Posted on Tue, Mar. 19, 2024

Taorui Guan, The University of Hong Kong


As current literature lacks studies on China’s holistic approach to intellectual property (IP) legislation, this Article aims to counter this deficiency. It reviews the history of China’s IP legislation, then systematically surveys China’s IP laws, including those promulgated at both the central and local government levels. The article’s description and analysis of the system should shed light on how policymakers in other jurisdictions, even those that generally export intellectual property institutions, can think about reforming their own intellectual property systems.


Cooperative Federalism and Patent Legislation: A Study Comparing China and the United States

Posted on Tue, Mar. 19, 2024

Taorui Guan, The University of Hong Kong


How should patent legislative power be allocated between central and local governments in order to construct a patent system conducive to promoting innovation? Compared to the current centralized patent legislation model in the U.S., China’s semi-decentralized patent legislation model has the advantage of making statutory law more adaptable to local specificities and promoting local competition and institutional innovation. However, it also faces challenges, such as increased costs due to inconsistency; efficiency decline stemming from rent-seeking behaviors; and the risk that local protectionism will create anti-competitive effects.


Caveat Lector: Large Language Models in Legal Practice

Posted on Mon, Mar. 18, 2024

Eliza Mik, Chinese University of Hong Kong


Drawing from recent findings in both technical and legal scholarship, this Article counterbalances the overly optimistic predictions as to the role of large language models (LLMs) in legal practice. Integrating LLMs into legal workstreams without a better comprehension of their limitations, will create inefficiencies if not outright risks. LLMs operate at the level of word distributions, not at the level of verified facts. The resulting propensity to hallucinate, to produce statements that are incorrect but appear helpful and relevant, is alarming in high-risk areas like legal services.

Regulating Subprime Lending in Hong Kong and the Need for Law Reform to Better Protect Vulnerable Consumers

Posted on Mon, Mar. 18, 2024

Angus Young, The University of Hong Kong


This article traces the historical development of moneylending legislation in the context of Hong Kong’s free market and non-intervention policy and how that has resulted in a lack of an effective safety net for the financially disadvantaged. This article compares the developments in the UK and Singapore and considers what lessons can be learnt from their experience. This article will make some suggestions for further improving the regulatory framework, thereby advancing financial inclusion of lower income and other vulnerable borrowers.


Tracing the Roots of China’s AI Regulations

Posted on Fri, Mar. 15, 2024

Matt Sheehan, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace


China is regulating AI, and the rest of the world would be wise to pay attention. Since 2021, the Chinese state has rolled out a series of targeted and binding regulations that constitute some of the first major moves by an AI power to govern one of the most transformative technologies of our time. These regulations target recommendation algorithms, deep synthesis, generative AI, and most recently facial recognition. China is now debating whether to create an overarching national AI law that could be written and rolled out in the years ahead. This paper is the second in a series of three analyzing China’s AI regulations and the forces shaping them. 


Regulation of the Legal Profession in China: A Historical Overview

Posted on Fri, Mar. 15, 2024

John Ohnesorge, University of Wisconsin, Madison


Understanding a legal system requires understanding of its legal service providers. The Chinese legal system has undergone major transformations since the late 19th century, accompanied by a series of approaches to regulating China’s lawyers. This article offers a historical overview of these approaches, discussing the regulation of the Chinese legal profession and the foreign lawyers operating in China. Going forward, Chinese firms might be supported to the extent they further the Xi regime’s economic aspirations, but they will be subject to closer oversight by the CCP. Foreign firms are no longer considered necessary for China’s economic rise, and they will be able to remain in China only if they are willing to abide by significant new restrictions.


Connecting Chinese and American Scam Victims

Posted on Thu, Mar. 14, 2024

Jonathan Reiter, ChainArgos, Data Finnovation

Bitrace Team


The world is experiencing an epidemic of online scams with at least tens of billions of dollars lost across dozens of countries. One particular class of scam known as “pig butchering” has grown dramatically and often involves the use of cryptocurrency both to collect funds from victims and to launder the proceeds. Here we are going to explore the use of cryptocurrency in pig butchering scams beginning with victims in both the People’s Republic of China and United States of America, and demonstrating the remarkable degree of similarity for cases that have no reason a priori to be similar at all.


From Brussels Effect to Gravity Assists

Posted on Wed, Mar. 13, 2024

Wenlong Li, University of Edinburgh

Jiahong Chen, University of Sheffield


This paper argues that the trajectory of China’s Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL) calls into question the applicability of the Brussels Effect. The authors introduce a complementary theory of ‘gravity assist’ which portrays China’s strategic instrumentalization of the GDPR as a template to shape its unique data protection landscape. This conceptual framework highlights how China navigates through a patchwork of internal considerations, international standards, and strategic choices, ultimately sculpting a data protection regime that has a similar appearance to the GDPR but aligns with its distinct political, cultural and legal landscape.


The Long-run Effect of Education on Crime: Evidence and Mechanisms

Posted on Wed, Mar. 13, 2024

Yu Bai, Tohoku University

Yanjun Li, Tohoku University

Xinyan Liu, Chinese University of Hong Kong

Ryuichi Tanaka, University of Tokyo


The authors examine the impact of educational attainment on participation in criminal activities, employing the implementation of compulsory schooling laws (CSL) to address the endogeneity in schooling decisions. Using data from the China Judgment Online and the regression discontinuity method, the authors find that CSL significantly increased the years of schooling, subsequently leading to a decrease in crime rates among the treated birth cohort. The crime-reducing effects can be attributed to various mechanisms, including the composition effect and contextual effects.


How China’s Supreme People’s Court Supports the Development of Foreign-Related Rule of Law

Posted on Tue, Mar. 12, 2024

Susan Finder, Peking University, The University of Hong Kong


This article provides a detailed analysis of the evolution of the role of the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) in the Xi era, examining functions little explored in scholarship. It explains how and why the SPC supports national strategies, focusing on the development of “foreign-related rule of law” through multiple “active” functions. It explores that work in the context of strengthened Communist Party leadership of the courts and other legal institutions. The article illustrates one aspect of the unique role of the SPC as China’s highest court in its dynamic political-legal system and the way in which it supports evolving national strategies and the implementation of fundamental policies.


A Comparative Study of the Legal Evolution and Cognate Offences of Picking Quarrels and Provoking Trouble

Posted on Tue, Mar. 12, 2024

Setsen K., Trento University, Oxford University


The criminal law of picking quarrels and provoking trouble in mainland China is ambiguous and open ended, easily blurring the boundaries with other crimes, which has led to concerns in the academic and social communities that it has become a new “pocket crime”. This paper adopts an empirical and comparative approach to analyze the legal evolution of picking quarrels and provoking trouble, starting from its legislative origins and background. At the same time, it focuses on the most controversial issue of picking quarrels and provoking trouble—its survival or abolition—and analyses it.


Law and Politics of Religious Fraud Regulation: China, Taiwan and Hong Kong

Posted on Mon, Mar. 11, 2024

Jianlin Chen, University of Melbourne


This book comparatively examines the law and politics of religious fraud regulation in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. The author begins with questions of ‘how’: what are the precise legal tools used by the state to tackle perceived religious fraud? Then the author proceeds to evaluate the constitutionality of these tools. The author further connects the various strands of literature into a coherent theoretical framework. Next, the author moves on to the political dimension, utilizing the rational choice perspective to explain the convergences and divergences of religious fraud regulation in these jurisdictions. He then identifies two implications from this political account.


A Comparative Study on Fiduciary Duties in Chinese Company Law

Posted on Mon, Mar. 11, 2024

Ping Xiong, University of South Australia


Corporate laws in China and in Anglo-Australian jurisdictions provide rules purporting to create ‘fiduciary duties’ owed by directors and senior officers of corporations. When such laws were first made in origin countries, they were a product of distinctive local conditions and evolved over decades. Corporate law that transplants into borrowing countries such as China have also sought to facilitate local political and economic objectives and they rarely fit neatly with the needs of a borrowing state. This article observes that, despite the use of often similar legal language, Western notions of fiduciary duty have different meanings and operate very differently in China.


Book Talk by Angela Zhang: How China Governs Big Tech and Regulates AI (Mar 21 2024)

Posted on Fri, Mar. 8, 2024

Philip K.H. Wong Centre for Chinese Law, The University of Hong Kong 


In this book talk, Professor Zhang will take us beyond the headlines of China’s tech crackdown to unravel the complexity of China’s regulatory governance. Drawing insights from her newly released book “High Wire,” she will introduce the dynamic pyramid model of regulation, apply it to analyze China’s strategic approach to regulating artificial intelligence, and discuss its implications for the global tech rivalry and the prospects for international cooperation. Join Professor Zhang as she uncovers how China regulates on the high wire by navigating the intricate balance between innovation, regulation and geopolitical contest.

Date & Time: March 21, 2024 (Thursday) 13:00-14:15

Venue: Room 824, 8/F, Cheng Yu Tung Tower, HKU

Do China's Anti-Corruption Efforts Improve Corporate Productivity?

Posted on Thu, Mar. 7, 2024

Miaomiao Tao, University of Auckland

Abd Alwahed Dagestani, Central South University

Lim Thye Goh, University of Malaya 

Yuhang Zheng, Guangdong University of Finance and Economics

Le Wen, University of Auckland


Corruption affects corporate investment and diverts resources away from growth-improving factors, thereby lowering productivity. Using a time-varying difference-in-differences approach, the authors identified the causal effect of China’s anti-corruption campaign on corporate productivity during 2011–2021. The findings uncovered that China’s anti-corruption campaign increased corporate productivity by approximately 18.43%. Results from heterogeneity analysis showed that the promoting effect was particularly significant in non-state-owned firms, firms without political ties, and firms in areas with weak legal systems. 


China's Corporate Credit System & The Boundaries of Corporate Liability

Posted on Thu, Mar. 7, 2024

Virginia E. Harper Ho, City University of Hong Kong


This chapter examines how China’s corporate credit system reaches complex corporate groups, and places these developments in the context of international efforts that extend corporate accountability across entity boundaries and that reach beyond the protection of shareholders and creditors to encourage corporate responsibility for societal impacts. It concludes that at present, the public-facing corporate credit platforms are not sufficiently transparent to facilitate public oversight of corporate groups and networks, but may already create reputational compliance incentives across firms and enable enterprise-wide oversight by regulators.

Rolling Back Transparency in China's Courts

Posted on Wed, Mar. 6, 2024

Benjamin L. Liebman, Columbia University

Rachel E. Stern, University of California, Berkeley

Xiaohan Wu, University of California, San Diego

Margaret E. Roberts, University of California, San Diego

Despite a burgeoning conversation about the centrality of information management to governments, scholars are only just beginning to address the role of legal information in sustaining authoritarian rule. This Essay presents a case study showing how legal information can be manipulated: through the deletion of previously published cases. Using their own dataset of all 42 million cases made public in China between Jan 1, 2014, and Sep 2, 2018, the authors examine the recent deletion of criminal cases. Taken together, the decision(s) to remove hundreds of thousands of unconnected cases shape a narrative about the Chinese courts, Chinese society, and the Chinese Party-State. 


China’s Regulations on New Types of Unfair Competition in the Digital Age

Posted on Wed, Mar. 6, 2024

Xuan Wang, Xiamen University

Xiuqin Lin, Xiamen University


China’s Anti-Unfair Competition Law underwent its first revision in 2017, introducing the “Internet Provision”. However, the rules contained evident flaws, resulting in frequent invocation of the “catch-all clause” by courts. This approach has given rise to convoluted reasoning, unstable outcomes, and excessive judicial intervention. The newly proposed “data clause” aims to address these issues. Yet it has its own ambiguities and fails to properly safeguard freedom of information. The authors argue that due consideration should be given to the principle of competitive neutrality. They also criticize an overly broad recognition of “new unfair competition behavior,” as it may hinder market entry and stifle innovation in the long run.


(Talk) AI Outputs Are Not Protected Speech (Mar 13 2024)

Posted on Tue, Mar. 5, 2024

Philip K.H. Wong Centre for Chinese Law, The University of Hong Kong


When a generative AI system outputs some text, image, or sound, no one thereby communicates. Systems like ChatGPT are designed to be able to “say” essentially anything, producing innumerable ideas and opinions that neither creators nor users have conceived or endorsed. Absent a communication from a protected speaker, there is no protected speech. This talk explains why as a matter of First Amendment law, free speech theory, and computer-scientific fact, AI outputs are best understood as fitting into one or more of these less-protected First Amendment categories. 

Date & Time: March 13, 2024 (Wednesday) 12:00-13:00

Venue: Room 723, 7/F, Cheng Yu Tung Tower, HKU


Agile and Iterative Governance: China's Regulatory Response to AI

Posted on Tue, Mar. 5, 2024

Baiyang Xiao, University of Szeged


In response to challenges posed by AI, China has not only implemented proactive administrative intervention in policy support, central coordination, and investment, but also adopted an AI governance framework that characterized by ‘complexity,’ ‘agility,’ ‘stability,’ and ‘flexibility.’ Instead of calling for an omnibus AI law that applies a uniform package of rules, Chinese regulators chose to adapt horizontal elements into vertical regulations through a set of bureaucratic know-how and iterative regulatory tools. Different jurisdictions may differ on the specific content of AI regulations, but they can learn from the content-agnostic structure of the regulations themselves.


Blockchain, Legal Interpretation, and Contextuality as Tools to Establish Privacy and Fundamental Rights Protection Amid Geopolitical and Legal Uncertainty

Posted on Mon, Mar. 4, 2024

Pierangelo Blandino, University of Lapland


This summary explores the degree of rights’ protection when it comes to States forms of surveillance under a concise legal comparative outline. Given today’s interdependence put into being first by Global Governance patterns and then by exchange on platforms, attention will be drawn to Chinese PIPL, the US CLOUD Act and the EU GDPR, along with the recently adopted Data Privacy Framework. At a second stage, new possible techniques are considered to properly tackle these unprecedented changes that challenge traditional legal patterns.


From Courtrooms to Corporations

Posted on Mon, Mar. 4, 2024

Obaid Ur Rehman, Southeast University

Zihan Zhou, Central University of Finance and Economics

Kai Wu, Central University of Finance and Economics

Wen Li, Lanzhou University of Finance and Economics


The authors examine the impact of bankruptcy court establishment (BCE) on corporate acquisition activities using hand-collected data of city-level BCE in China from 2008 to 2020. The results show that BCE promotes corporate acquisition activities largely due to mitigated information asymmetry and decreased deal inefficiency. These results highlight the important role of judiciary reform in corporate acquisition decisions in emerging markets.


Public Interest Litigation in Climate Justice: Chinese Mode of EPIL in Transnational Climate Disputes

Posted on Fri, Mar. 1, 2024

Md Rezaull Karim, Southwest University of Political Science and Law


This is an in-depth exploration of the nexus between climate justice, human rights principles, and the instrumental role of Environmental Public Interest Litigation (EPIL) in ensuring accountability and equity. With a particular emphasis on the Chinese context, the article explores the theoretical underpinnings, practical applications, and future prospects of attaining climate justice using EPIL. The analysis of how the Chinese model of EPIL may be modified for international climate disputes, as well as the possibilities and obstacles involved in doing so, forms the basis of this conversation. 


Pre-trade Disclosure Regulation, Informed Insider Trading, and Market Efficiency: Evidence from China

Posted on Fri, Mar. 1, 2024

Kai Guo, Shanghai Jiao Tong University

Bin Ke, National University of Singapore


The authors assess the impact of China’s pre-trade disclosure regulation. They observe that this regulation effectively curbs the practice of informed insider selling. Despite a decrease in informed insider sales, the authors find no evidence that stock price informativeness changes post-regulation. This latter finding is partially attributed to the private information revealed when insiders announce their sale plans that are subsequently retracted, coupled with a heightened analyst interest in stocks that exhibit signs of future underperformance.


Trends in China-Africa Economic Relations and Dispute Settlement

Posted on Thu, Feb. 29, 2024

Won Kidane, Villanova University


The improvements in supranational legal frameworks have not kept pace with the growing scale and complexity of the China-Africa economic interactions, which are often orchestrated through confidential and fragmented micro-level contractual instruments unsupported by larger institutional frameworks. Therefore, two important questions need to be asked: (1) whether the lack of durable legal and institutional commitment is a function of socio-cultural factors, diminished optimism, politics, or just outright pragmatism; (2) whether the contracts-based economic legal ordering that relies on existing rules and institutions is optimal and durable. This article attempts to answer these and related questions.


The Chinese Tax System: Where It Stands and How We Should Study It

Posted on Thu, Feb. 29, 2024

Wei Cui, University of British Columbia


This chapter offers an overview of where China’s tax system stands, assesses recent scholarship on Chinese taxation, and urges researchers to attend more to normative questions of tax design (e.g., economic efficiency and redistribution). After surveying major tax instruments deployed in China today, the chapter critically reviews recent studies of taxation’s impact on the Chinese economy, then considers some themes at the intersection between Chinese political institutions and public finance: political incentives for raising revenue, tax competition, and business-government relations. It also discusses how tax scholarship contributes to our understanding of Chinese political economy.


(Talk) Superpower Legal Rivalry and the Global Compliance Dilemma (Mar 4 2024)

Posted on Wed, Feb. 28, 2024

Philip K.H. Wong Centre for Chinese Law, The University of Hong Kong


The intensifying rivalry between the United States and China has spawned a proliferation of contradictory laws and regulations, plunging transnational actors into a vexing compliance dilemma—conformity with U.S. law often necessitates contravention of Chinese law, and vice versa. Prof Ji Li illuminates this superpower legal rivalry and how multinational corporations (MNCs), as prime beneficiaries of post-Cold War economic globalization, navigate this fractured, intricate legal terrain when compelled to take sides amid the great power competition. 

Date & Time: March 4, 2024 (Monday) 12:00-13:00

Venue: Academic Conference Room, 11/F, Cheng Yu Tung Tower, HKU


Precedential Value of Judicial Decisions in Increasingly Hybridised Civil Law Systems: Chinese Choreographies at the WTO

Posted on Wed, Feb. 28, 2024

Riccardo Vecellio Segate, University of Groningen


Pursuant to Article 63 of the TRIPS Agreement, a state may require other treaty parties to disclose their intellectual property case law ‘of general application’. Civil law systems theoretically employ judgments as reference only. Nevertheless, to value consistency and predictability, the hybridisation of civil law jurisdictions is increasingly leading them to devise special lists of judgments that acquire formal or factual binding status on lower-ranked courts. This trend is particularly evident in China. When the US and the EU requested, through the WTO, that China disclose the full range of its case law of general application, China responded that civil law jurisdictions do not issue judgments that are binding beyond the parties. This article examines the limitations and merits of the Chinese stance.


The Forever Trade War: Dimensions of Sino-American Confrontation

Posted on Tue, Feb. 27, 2024

Raj Bhala, University of Kansas


America and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) are locked in a trade war, to which there is no obvious end in sight, the causes of which lie in their different values, the conduct of which extends far beyond commerce, and the consequences of which are dangerous. This thesis begs the question of the definition of a “trade war,” which is proposed to be a broad, deep, and intense drawn-out conflict.


Gains from Contractualization: Evidence from Labor Regulations on Chinese Workers

Posted on Tue, Feb. 27, 2024

Qin Gao, Columbia University

Candice Yandam Riviere, Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne


The authors find that gaining a labor contract was strongly associated with an increase in salary, a decrease in working overtime hours, and greater participation in unemployment and pension insurances. In terms of job satisfaction, workers who gained a labor contract reported being less satisfied with their workplace environment and income than they had anticipated. This finding suggests that workers had higher expectations from the benefits gained through contractualization, than what they actually derived.

Contesting and Controlling Abortion in China’s Courts

Posted on Mon, Feb. 26, 2024

Molly Bodurtha, Government of the State of Massachusetts

Benjamin L. Liebman, Columbia University

Li Chenqian, Columbia University

Xiaohan Wu, University of California, San Diego


The scholarly conversation on abortion, democracy, and how courts reflect and entrench gender disparities entirely omits China. This lack of attention reflects the common understanding that courts play no role in regulating reproduction and that abortion remains unproblematic in China. Yet Chinese courts do confront and decide claims involving abortion. Drawing on a dataset of more than 30,000 civil cases discussing abortion, this article examines claims by men that their wives obtained abortions without the man’s “authorization.” The persistence of such claims suggests that women’s access to abortion care is more regulated in China than academic and popular accounts convey. 


Legal Complicity in an Age of Resurgent Authoritarianism

Posted on Mon, Feb. 26, 2024

Jedidiah J. Kroncke, The University of Hong Kong


Today, end of history narratives such as modernization theory have succumbed to not only resilient authoritarian regimes but also a global resurgence in authoritarian ideologies in liberal regimes. Many authoritarian regimes have proven capable of sustained economic development, even economic liberalization, while keeping democratic institutions from forming or flourishing. This development thus demands a renewed examination of the ethics of legal engagement with authoritarian regimes, especially as they have become deeply integrated into the world economy. The American legal profession’s modern engagement with China is an acute case of this renewed problematic, but only one example of a shared conundrum among liberal legal professions worldwide.

Book Talk: Negotiating Legality: Chinese Companies in the US Legal System (Feb 29 2024)

Posted on Fri, Feb. 23, 2024

Philip K.H. Wong Centre for Chinese Law, The University of Hong Kong


While the global expansion of Chinese companies has ignited intense debates, their interactions with host-state legal systems have largely escaped systematic examination. Negotiating Legality sheds light on how Chinese companies develop in-house legal capacities, engage with US legal professionals, and navigate litigation in US courts. This talk is indispensable for anyone interested in China’s rise, its global impacts especially on legal systems of developed nations like the US, and the intricate dynamics of US-China relations.

Date & Time: February 29, 2024 (Thursday) 12:00 - 13:00

Venue: Academic Conference Room, 11/F, Cheng Yu Tung Tower, HKU (In-person only)


Half a Loaf Is Better Than None: The New Data Protection Regime for China’s Platform Economy

Posted on Fri, Feb. 23, 2024

Chuanman You, National University of Singapore (NUS)


This paper contributes an analytical overview of why and how the Personal Information Protection Law is shaped by focusing on its legislative background, substantive rules and enforcement mechanisms. The influence of the GDPR in shaping this regulatory paradigm is scrutinized, with reference to pertinent concerns that could compromise the effectiveness of this paradigm in the Chinese context. As in its current form, the law fails to address several critical matters. Alas, half a loaf is better than none.


Right to Data Access in the Digital Era: The Case of China

Posted on Thu, Feb. 22, 2024

Yik Chan Chin, Beijing Normal University


This chapter examines the academic debate on access to digital data in China and the Chinese state’s policy on data. First, the concept of epistemic rights has not drawn academic attention, while the closely related concept of the right to information stresses the consumer’s right to obtain public information and digital platforms’ data rights. Second, the right to data access has not been treated as an independent right but as part of the debate on data property rights and the right to information. Third, data is officially defined as a new factor of production that is key for national economic development. Finally, the lack of attention to epistemic rights and an overly narrow definition of data has undermined alternative explorations of the implications of the public good nature of data.


China's Individual Income Tax Law for Expatriates

Posted on Thu, Feb. 22, 2024

Jingyi Wang, Chinese University of Hong Kong


In recent times, many mainland Chinese are taking up employment or immigration opportunities outside China. At the same time, the Chinese tax authorities are increasing their attempts to enforce Chinese law on Chinese working outside mainland China. This article examines the tax consequences of both outbound and inbound cross-border employment from China’s perspective. By comparing the income tax rules applicable to different groups of cross-border employees, the article will highlight the discriminatory treatment of Chinese cross-border employees and propose measures to better facilitate the cross-border movement of human resources.


China’s New Model of Authoritarian Legality

Posted on Wed, Feb. 21, 2024

Zeming Liu, Columbia Law School


The author argues that through the project of integrating the “Socialist Core Values” (SCVs) into legal judgments, the Party-state is effectively imposing a new conception of what Chinese law is. The Chinese judiciary is now required to decide cases under the assumption that they must go beyond statutory language to “find” law that conforms to the SCVs. This new jurisprudence departs from legalism, which used to be China’s predominant model of legality for many years, and gives rise to a new model of authoritarian legality featuring the incorporation of the extralegal, moralistic social norms mandated by the authoritarian state into the contents of law itself. This new model features a destabilized legal system that allows the authoritarian ruler to flexibly exercise its power in the name of law.


The Temporality of Law in Traditional China and Its Contemporary Implications

Posted on Wed, Feb. 21, 2024

Tao Wang, East China University of Political Science and Law 


Temporality of law is of great significance in traditional Chinese juridicopolitical thought, and its influence plays a crucial role in China’s state building and governance. The existing temporal phrases from the West are not sufficient for explaining the symbol-oriented legal system in traditional China. Formalist law overlooks the temporal elements intrinsic to the legal system and results in the failure of governance. This Article applies a historical culture paradigm to analyze the temporality of law in traditional China. It further shows that the intertemporal dynamism in law facilitated the formation of a unified and stable system of order over China’s long imperial period. The intertemporality in traditional Chinese law still exerts huge influence on legal governance in contemporary China.


Regulating Platform Economy in China: Shocks and Revisions

Posted on Tue, Feb. 20, 2024

Xin Dai, Peking University


In the years of 2020 and 2021 the Chinese government attempted at structurally tightening its regulatory controls over the country’s major digital platform firms. It was widely observed that the government’s once tolerant regulatory regime had then shifted into a more heavy-handed mode. This article explains that the policy turn was attributable to not only legitimate concerns over the industry’s flaws but also the popular societal sentiments associated with the firms’ perceived betrayal of their progressive promises. By end of 2022, however, endeavors for structural reforms were mostly shelved by the authorities due to changed economic circumstances. The Chinese authorities now likely will return to a more marginal regulatory approach in addressing issues from platform practices and operations.


Legal and Rituological Dynamics of Personalized “Pillars of Shame” in Chinese Social Credit System Construction

Posted on Tue, Feb. 20, 2024

Keren Wang, Pennsylvania State University


The construction of the Chinese Social Credit System (SCS) is arguably the most significant governance-by-data experiment so far into the 21st century. This paper explores the ways in which the SCS project was prompted by a ritual impulse to inculcate Chinese societal moral character in the big data age. It first highlights relevant perspectives from Chinese intellectual history, ritual studies, and comparative legal scholarship as analytical heuristics for unpacking the deeper discursive structures entangled within the Chinese SCS project. The author then applies the transdisciplinary lens on recent cases of data-driven, personalized “public shaming” urban implementations by Chinese local authorities. 

Authoritarianism and Legality

Posted on Mon, Feb. 19, 2024

Taisu Zhang, Yale University


This symposium essay proposes that in very large, very diverse societies, authoritarian regimes may have even stronger incentives to pursue law-centric modes of sociopolitical ordering than do democratic ones. This does not necessarily mean that they will always act upon such incentives, but it does offer a deeper explanation for why the Chinese regime in particular is very unlikely to decisively abandon its current legalistic trajectory at any point in the foreseeable future. This is very much a thought experiment, but hopefully one that offers useful ideas for future research.


Varieties of Authoritarian Legality

Posted on Mon, Feb. 19, 2024

Shucheng Wang, City University of Hong Kong


This article critically examines the varieties of authoritarian legality in three differentiated paradigms, namely, ‘law and politics’, ‘law with politics’, and ‘law in politics’. It points out that the engagement of authoritarian legality is favourably facilitated through politically controllable legal institutions and state-shaped public sphere. It argues that the standalone statist reason cannot stand out alone as a legitimate ground for legality unless some other alternative reasons can be dialogically engaged in the public discourse. Otherwise, the force and violence may be clothed in the form of a law that serves as a political instrument for the ruling of the authoritarian government.


Bibliography of Academic Writings in the Field of Chinese Law in Western Languages in 2022

Posted on Wed, Feb. 7, 2024

Knut Benjamin Pissler, Max Planck Institute

Fenja Eckardt, Max Planck Institute


The bibliography aims to give readers an overview on articles published in English or German in the field of Chinese law in 2022. Regarding relevant German-language literature, the issues 1 to 12 of the journal Karlsruher Juristische Bibliographie (KJB) of the year 2022 were screened. Simultaneously the classification scheme of the KJB was used as a model in this bibliography. Abbreviations are not utilized in order to facilitate the use of this bibliography by international readers. Concerning English-language literature the authors mainly focused on periodicals and books available at the library of the Max-Planck-Institute for Comparative and International Private Law (MPI) in Hamburg. Besides the authors scrutinized fee-charging databases like Westlaw, LexisNexis, Juris and Beck-Online for relevant articles.


Generative AI and Copyright: A Dynamic Perspective

Posted on Tue, Feb. 6, 2024

S. Alex Yang, London Business School

Angela Huyue Zhang, The University of Hong Kong


The future development of generative AI and its applications in the creative industry hinge upon two copyright issues: 1) the compensation to creators whose content has been used to train generative AI models (the fair use standard); and 2) the eligibility of AI-generated content for copyright protection (AI-copyrightability). This paper aims to better understand the economic implications of these two regulatory issues and their interactions. By constructing a dynamic model with endogenous content creation and AI model development, the authors unravel the impacts of the fair use standard and AI-copyrightability on AI development, AI company profit, creators income, and consumer welfare, and how these impacts are influenced by various economic and operational factors. For example, while generous fair use benefits all parties when abundant training data exists, it could hurt creators and consumers when such data is scarce. Similarly, stronger AI-copyrightability could hinder AI development, and reduce social welfare. The authors also highlight the complex interplay between these two copyright issues. For instance, when existing training data is scarce, generous fair use may be preferred only when AI-copyrightability is weak. These findings underscore the need for policymakers to embrace a dynamic, context-specific approach and provide insights for business leaders navigating the global regulatory complexities.

Authoritarian Legal (Ir)rationality: The Saga of 'Picking Quarrels' in China

Posted on Mon, Feb. 5, 2024

Jiajun Luo, The University of Hong Kong


This paper explores ongoing discussions about the authoritarian legality of the People’s Republic of China. It introduces the concept of "legal rationality," signifying a state where the discretion of dominant officials is constrained by legal rules that are publicly accessible, clear, and consistent. The author argues that legal rationality is a fundamental element for any functional legal system, even within an authoritarian framework. In doing so, the author challenges the conventional assumption of “dual state”, which posits that the existence and expansion of prerogative power in an authoritarian system are confined solely to its politicized sphere, marked by political prosecutions. Instead, the author argues that the decline of legal rationality in an authoritarian legal system leads to the arbitrary discretion of dominant officials infiltrating both political and non-political domains. It illustrates this point through the example of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” a notorious catch-all crime exploited by Chinese authorities in both political prosecutions and routine criminal cases. 


The Promise and Perils of China's Regulation of Artificial Intelligence

Posted on Fri, Feb. 2, 2024

Angela Huyue Zhang, The University of Hong Kong 


China has been perceived as a global leader in regulating AI due to its early and comprehensive rules on algorithms, deepfakes, and generative AI services. However, this overlooks the intricate institutional dynamics within the country. The Chinese government plays multiple roles in the AI sector, including policymaker, investor, supplier, customer, and regulator. This extensive involvement, combined with factors like the US-China tech rivalry, chip embargoes, and a downturn in the Chinese economy, weaken the government’s commitment to strict regulation. Consequently, China’s overall approach to AI regulation has been business-friendly, focusing on enabling technological progress rather than providing protection for the public. As evidenced by its permissive stance on facial recognition technology, Chinese regulators have favoured a light-touch approach to AI regulation in practice.  Similarly, Chinese courts are trying to prop up the AI industry, as demonstrated by the Beijing Internet Court’s decision to grant copyright to an AI-generated image. This lenient approach may give Chinese AI firms a short-term advantage over European and US counterparts, but it also risks creating regulatory lags that could escalate into AI-induced accidents or disasters. The dynamic complexity of China’s regulatory tactics therefore underscores the urgent need for increased international dialogue and collaboration with the country to tackle the safety challenges in AI governance.

Does Black-Letter Law Matter in Labor Rights Protection in China? - A Tale of Two Cities

Posted on Thu, Feb. 1, 2024

Peter Chan, City University of Hong Kong


This article discusses the role of black-letter law in labour protection in China in cases where employers dismiss employees on the grounds of serious breaches of internal regulations. It presents an empirical analysis of the judicial practice of two of China’s economically developed cities, Suzhou and Wuxi. Suzhou employers are required to give employees the opportunity to be heard prior to dismissal, while Wuxi does not. The author first introduces the Chinese labor legislation system, the dismissal system, and the two cities’ local labor regulations. After analyzing and discussing 140 cases from Suzhou and 234 cases from Wuxi, the authors concludes that giving employees the opportunity to be heard is essential for protecting their rights, as evidenced by differential success rates in the two cities. The analysis highlights the significance of black-letter law in ensuring labor protection in China. 

Confucian Legal Hypotheticals

Posted on Thu, Feb. 1, 2024

Norman Ho, Peking University


This Article examines a legal hypothetical in the Mencius text, where Mencius is asked by his disciple Tao Ying what would Emperor Shun do if his father had killed someone. By situating this legal hypothetical in premodern Chinese legal history, particularly with respect to dynastic legal developments regarding the issue of kinship and family concealment of crimes (i.e., where family members cover up crimes of other family members), this Article argues that later dynasties went further (to the extreme) in “Confucianizing the law” than what foundational thinkers like Mencius and Confucius originally advocated. The Article concludes with a brief discussion of the possible continued influence of traditional Chinese law on current PRC law in the realm of kinship/family concealment.


Unleashing the Green Principle in the Chinese Civil Code

Posted on Wed, Jan. 31, 2024

Jie Ouyang, University of Groningen


This comment discusses the Green Principle under the new Chinese Civil Code and its potential to embed private law into the green transition. Based on selected case law, this paper discusses the various mechanisms employed by Chinese courts to channel ecological values into civil adjudication. Through this analysis, the author hopes to position the green principle not only as part of the consitutionalisation of private law in China but also as a gateway for ecologisation of private law. China’s approach serves as an inspiring model for the greening of private law.


Chinese Auditor Inspection Access Challenges: The Market’s Response to Integrated US Regulatory and Legislative Action

Posted on Wed, Jan. 31, 2024

Lacey Donley, Fort Lewis College

Joseph Legoria, Louisiana State University

Kenneth J. Reichelt, Louisiana State University

Stephanie Walton, Louisiana State University


The authors examine the impact of mounting regulator interest in US-listed Chinese firms facing PCAOB inspection access challenges. This study provides evidence of the market’s response to five events taking place from 2018 to 2020. Collectively, these events mark the first-ever integrated regulatory and legislative response from the PCAOB, SEC, and US legislature since initiation of the PCAOB’s international inspection program. First, the authors consider whether the PCAOB’s eighth annual update of inaccessible jurisdictions is newsworthy to investors. Next, they consider investors’ perceptions of audit quality risks and delisting risks among Chinese firms. The authors find that the market does respond negatively towards cross-listed Chinese firms following PCAOB, SEC, and US legislative action. Results further suggest that market reactions are motivated by investors’ perception of a delisting risk among Chinese firms. This observation is most salient among small Chinese firms having fewer listing alternatives outside of the US.

Cloud Empires’ Physical Footprint: How Trade and Security Politics Shape the Global Expansion of US and Chinese Data Centre Infrastructures

Posted on Fri, Jan. 26, 2024

Vili Lehdonvirta, University of Oxford

Boxi Wu, University of Oxford

Zoe Hawkins, University of Oxford


US-China technological rivalry presents dilemmas for third countries. Cloud computing infrastructure has become an acute front in this rivalry because of the infrastructural power that it affords over increasingly cloud-based economies, and because it is a control point in AI governance. The authors ask what factors explain a third country’s “cloud infrastructure alignment”—the degree to which the country’s local cloud computing infrastructure belongs to US versus Chinese providers. Three different answers are sketched: international trade, digital imperialism, third-country strategic choice. The authors find cloud infrastructure alignment is positively associated with other imports from the US or China, negatively associated with interstate disputes, and only weakly associated with security cooperation ties. The findings suggest that commercial interests and third-country strategic choice may be more influential in shaping cloud infrastructure than any imperialist expansion or containment by the superpowers. 


The Legal Landscape of Surrogacy in China

Posted on Thu, Jan. 25, 2024

Yingying Wu, China University of Political Science and Law


Surrogacy has increased globally due to the development of medical technology. In light of the abolition of the one-child policy in China, demand for surrogacy among Chinese citizens has increased, especially in single-child families that would like a second child but worry about childbearing at an advanced age. Meanwhile, highly educated women tend to have children at an advanced age. Hence, the need for surrogacy has risen. However, current policies and laws in China prohibit surrogacy, resulting in a domestic black market and people seeking international surrogacy. This article surveys legal and judicial practices in China and attempts to forecast whether China is likely to explicitly prohibit or legitimize surrogacy in the short term.


Decoding the Rise of Central Bank Digital Currency in China: Designs, Problems, and Prospects

Posted on Thu, Jan. 25, 2024

Pangyue Cheng, National University of Singapore

This article spotlights the unexamined issue of digital currency regulation by examining the practice and related regulatory rules of the pilot CBDC in China. Beginning with the global design choices of digital currencies, the article comparatively examines the technical design of China’s CBDC, known as e-CNY. It further triggers a rethinking of conventional regulations for the protection of digital currency information by investigating the gap between the actual operation and design of e-CNY, as well as the gap between pilot policies and legal provisions. This article argues that, on the one hand, the legislative balance between the protection of personal information and the regulation of illicit financial activities involved in the “loosely coupled account link” system of e-CNY should be reconsidered. On the other hand, the delineation of rights and responsibilities between dissemination institutions, payment service providers, and end-users needs to be further redefined and clarified.


Judging Under Authoritarianism

Posted on Wed, Jan. 24, 2024

Julius Yam, The University of Hong Kong


Authoritarianism has significant implications for how judges should discharge their duties. How should judges committed to constitutionalism conduct themselves when under authoritarian pressure? To answer this question, the article proposes a two-step adjudicative framework, documents a variety of judicial strategies, and proposes how principles and strategies can and should be incorporated into the framework in different scenarios. The first step of the adjudicative framework involves judges identifying the ‘formal legal position’ while blindfolding themselves to extra-legal factors (such as potential authoritarian backlash). In the second step, depending on the level of risk incurred by maintaining the formal legal position, judges should lift the blindfold to check whether, and if so how, the formal legal position should be supplemented with or adjusted by judicial strategies. Through this analysis, the article offers a guide to judicial reasoning under authoritarianism.


A Systematic Review of Climate Policies in China: Evolution, Effectiveness, and Challenges

Posted on Tue, Jan. 23, 2024

Shu Wu, Zhejiang University of Finance and Economics


Due to its strong economic growth, coal-dominated energy structure, and enormous emission base, China's climate policies are of global relevance and likely to determine the success of global climate efforts. Based on 229 climate policies and extensive literature since the 1980s, this study outlines China's climate governance by tracking policy evolution, reviewing principal policy instruments, evaluating policy effectiveness, and identifying challenges. 


Chinese Influence through Technical Standardization Power

Posted on Tue, Jan. 23, 2024

Tim Rühlig, German Council on Foreign Relations


Geo-economic rivalry is back on the international agenda, particularly in the field of high technology. Very often, technical standards are regarded as being a central arena of this competition. Surprisingly ignored is the question, how precisely technical standard-setting (such as Wi-Fi or 5G) empowers China. Based on the analysis of quantitative data, primary sources, and in-depth interviews, this article substantiates the widespread hypothesis that China’s growing footprint in technical standardization empowers the Chinese party-state. It introduces seven proxies to measure influence on standard-setting. Next, it explains how technical standards can be utilized by states to gain economic, legal, political, and discursive influence. Finally, it shows that China’s growing footprint in technical standardization is the result of party-state engagement, which provides leverage to China’s political leadership.


How China Lends: A Rare Look into 100 Debt Contracts with Foreign Governments

Posted on Mon, Jan. 22, 2024

Anna Gelpern, Georgetown University

Sebastian Horn, Kiel Institute for the World Economy

Scott Morris, Center for Global Development

Brad Parks, Center for Global Development

Christoph Trebesch, Kiel Institute for the World Economy


China is the world’s largest official creditor, but people lack basic facts about the terms and conditions of its lending. Very few contracts between Chinese lenders and their government borrowers have ever been published or studied. This paper is the first systematic analysis of the legal terms of China’s foreign lending. The authors collect and analyse 100 contracts between Chinese state-owned entities and government borrowers in 24 developing countries in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and Oceania, and compare them with those of other bilateral, multilateral and commercial creditors. Three main insights emerge. Overall, even if these terms were unenforceable in court, the mix of confidentiality, seniority and policy influence could limit the sovereign debtor’s crisis management options and complicate debt renegotiation. Overall, the contracts use creative design to manage credit risks and overcome enforcement hurdles, presenting China as a muscular and commercially savvy lender to the developing world.


Sovereignty at Sea: The South China Sea Dispute and UNCLOS Implications

Posted on Mon, Jan. 22, 2024

Sofia Kausar, RNB Global university


The South China Sea dispute involves overlapping of territorial claims and maritime conflicts among nations like China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan. Central to this intricate issue is the interpretation and application of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Beyond regional stability, the South China Sea dispute carries global implications due to its impact on trade routes, valuable resources, and strategic alliances. The interplay between the South China Sea dispute and UNCLOS underscores the tension between territorial claims and international legal principles. A nuanced understanding of these complexities is essential for maintaining stability, upholding legal norms, and facilitating peaceful resolutions within the intricate landscape of maritime geopolitics. 


Chinese Energy Financing in the Western Balkans

Posted on Fri, Jan. 19, 2024

Stephen Minas, Peking University


This article analyses Western Balkan coal projects financed by Chinese institutions from the perspective of Energy Community law and identifies multiple breaches of the transposed acquis. It also demonstrates that both the legality and the economic viability of such coal projects will be further imperiled by current and ongoing developments in EU and Energy Community law that respond to the climate crisis, but also by changing Chinese policy on outbound financing for coal and efforts to ‘green’ the Belt and Road. The article concludes that Contracting Parties in the Western Balkans should recognize these growing risks to financing coal projects and should focus on developing renewable energy resources, consistent with their Energy Community commitments.


Transnational Legal Ordering of Modern Trust Law

Posted on Thu, Jan. 18, 2024

Rebecca Lee, The University of Hong Kong


This chapter studies transnational legal orders (TLOs) in the context of trusts and demonstrates that such ordering is evident in the processes through which modern trust norms develop and flow across borders to become a substantive body of transnational and comparative trust law. By reference to innovations and transformations in trust embraced by offshore trust jurisdictions and the rise of the civil law trust in East Asia, this chapter argues that modern trust norms produce multiplicities of legal orders that transcend both offshore and onshore jurisdictions, as well as both common law and civil law jurisdictions.


Sources of Tax Revenue in China

Posted on Thu, Jan. 18, 2024

Wei Cui, University of British Columbia 


Few would deny taxation’s critical role in the Chinese economy and Chinese politics, yet social scientific investigations of Chinese taxation remain preliminary and fragmented. This is traceable to the under-development of scholarship with a normative orientation—research that aims to assess Chinese taxation from the perspective of economic efficiency, redistribution, and other social objectives. The chapter starts with an analysis of China’s major tax policy instruments, clarifying misconceptions and assessing efficiency and distributional properties. It then critiques recent scholarship on taxation's impact on China's economy, highlighting shortcomings in policy analysis and overlooked normative tax design questions. The chapter explores political institutions and public finance, including revenue-raising incentives, tax competition, and business-government relations. It urges scholars to better articulate the implications of their studies for theory or policy. Lastly, it evaluates how research on tax administration and compliance enhances our understanding of China's political economy and fiscal capacity investments.


Negotiating Legality: Chinese Companies in the US Legal System

Posted on Wed, Jan. 17, 2024

Ji Li, University of California, Irvine


Despite escalating geopolitical rivalry, the US and China continue to be economically intertwined. Numerous Chinese companies have made substantial investments in the US and are reluctant exit this strategically important market. While the global expansion of Chinese companies has ignited intense policy and academic debates, their interactions with complex host-state legal systems have largely escaped systematic examination. To fill this knowledge gap, this book introduces a dual institutional framework and applies it to analyzing extensive interviews and multi-year survey data, thereby shedding light on how Chinese companies develop in-house legal capacities, engage with US legal professionals, and navigate litigation in US courts


Talk: Women’s Property Rights under CEDAW

Posted on Tue, Jan. 16, 2024

Philip K. H. Wong Centre for Chinese Law, The University of Hong Kong


For over 40 years, the leading international treaty body on women's rights, the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (the CEDAW Committee), has been generating jurisprudence interpreting CEDAW's obligations that states protect the equal rights of women in relationships; family rights, including inheritance; rights to land, adequate housing, financial credit, social benefits, intellectual property, and other economic rights dependent on equal access to justice. This book concludes that CEDAW’s re-engendering of property—although a flawed and evolving work in progress—has the potential to be transformative for the half of the planet who is more likely to be treated as property than to have any.

Date & Time: January 25, 2024, Thursday, 13:00–14:00 (Zoom)


International Speaker Series Spring 2024

Posted on Tue, Jan. 16, 2024

Philip K. H. Wong Centre for Chinese Law, The University of Hong Kong


In Spring 2024, our Centre is excited to host a new round of International Speaker Series, featuring distinguished scholars from the United States, Europe and China. These interactive talks will showcase the latest ideas and publications related to domestic and international laws, offering fresh perspectives on topics such as women's rights, EU competition law, legal compliance for Chinese companies in the United States, and Chinese tech regulation. Anyone with a keen interest in China is most welcome to join us!


A Roadmap for a US-China AI Dialogue

Posted on Mon, Jan. 15, 2024

Graham Webster, Stanford University

Ryan Hass, Brookings


When President Joe Biden and General Secretary Xi Jinping met in California in November 2023, their governments announced a new bilateral channel for consultation on artificial intelligence (AI). If both governments scope this effort wisely and focus on several concrete, tractable issues, they may have an opportunity to make lasting progress in reducing risks and building consensus around the governance of emerging technologies. If they fail to coalesce around common objectives, though, they risk creating another forum for ritual airing of grievances. This window of opportunity may be fleeting, so they must use it purposively.


Hong Kong’s Common Law System under “One Country, Two Systems”: History and Development

Posted on Fri, Jan. 12, 2024

Philip K. H. Wong Centre for Chinese Law, The University of Hong Kong


This lecture presents the preservation of the original common law system by the Hong Kong Basic Law under “One Country, Two Systems,” primarily by exploring the historical context of the Sino-British Joint Declaration negotiations and the formulation of the Hong Kong Basic Law. From the perspective of safeguarding residents’ basic rights under the Hong Kong Basic Law, this lecture will elucidate the evolution of the common law system as upheld by the courts of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) following the handover. Moreover, within the context of China’s “14th Five-Year Plan” and the burgeoning construction of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, this lecture will investigate ways to maintain the benefits of Hong Kong’s common law system while integrating it into China’s broader progress.

Date & Time: 24 January 2024 (Wednesday) 17:30 – 19:35

Venue: Academic Conference Room, 11/F, Cheng Yu Tung Tower, HKU (Live via Zoom)


Unveiling China's Path to Innovation

Posted on Fri, Jan. 12, 2024

Qingfeng Luo, Southwestern University of Finance and Economics

Xi Zhao, Southwestern University of Finance and Economics


The spatial Durbin model is employed to examine the factors influencing spatial relevance and diverse differentiation of intellectual property protection, utilizing panel data from 283 prefecture-level Chinese cities spanning from 2010 to 2019. The findings reveal substantial regional disparities in intellectual property protection, attributed to innovation capacity, knowledge spillovers, industrial structure, judicial protection, administrative protection, and social supervision. 


Choice of Law and Recognition in Asian Family Law

Posted on Thu, Jan. 11, 2024

Anselmo Reyes, Singapore International Commercial Court

Wilson Lui, The University of Hong Kong

Kazuaki Nishioka, Chuo University


This thematic volume outlines the general choice of law and recognition rules relating to family matters of 15 Asian jurisdictions: Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka and India. The book provides a comprehensive analysis of cross-border family law challenges, including child surrogacy, child abduction, the recognition of same-sex unions, the recovery of maintenance, and the regulation of intercountry adoption. These are among the matters now testing Asian institutions of private international law and acting as forces for their modernisation. With contributions by leading Asian private international law experts, the book proposes necessary reforms for each of the jurisdictions analysed as well as for Asia as a whole.


The Futility of Hostile Takeovers in China

Posted on Wed, Jan. 10, 2024

Chun Zhou, Zhejiang University

Samantha Tang, National University of Singapore


China’s emerging hostile takeover market has become the darling of the international business world. Following wave after wave of unsolicited takeover bids over the past five years, pundits have been eagerly predicting a tsunami of successful hostile takeovers to arrive any day now. But China’s hostile takeover market remains a mirage. Few hostile bids have ever succeeded, and China’s market for corporate control is littered with high-profile failures. The authors argue that it is the futility – and not success – of hostile takeovers that is inevitable in China. The confluence of idiosyncratic local factors, such as China’s state-dominated controlling shareholder environment, institutional reluctance to enforce takeover regulations to facilitate takeovers, and government intervention at both central and local levels, render a successful hostile takeover improbable.


Abuse of Dominance in the Hong Kong Television Sector

Posted on Wed, Jan. 10, 2024

Kelvin Kwok, The University of Hong Kong


This article critically evaluates legal developments in relation to the regulation of abuse of dominance in the Hong Kong television sector, focusing on the milestone case of Television Broadcasts Ltd (TVB). The decisions of the Communications Authority (CA) and the Court of First Instance (CFI) in 2013 and 2016 respectively provided important insights on the application of the small but significant and non-transitory decrease in quality (SSNDQ) test in two-sided markets and the ‘purpose/object’ and ‘effect’ tests to exclusivity practices, and more generally, the analysis of abuse of buyer power in a labour market setting. Hong Kong competition authorities are likely to be confronted with similar issues as they gradually expand their enforcement activities into digital markets and abuse of market power scenarios beyond the broadcasting sector. 


China’s National Security Review of Foreign Investment: A Comparison with the United States

Posted on Tue, Jan. 7, 2024

(Robin) Hui Huang, Chinese University of Hong Kong


This paper critically examines China’s national security review regime of foreign investment and compares it with that of the United States. This paper finds that the national security review regimes of the two jurisdictions have functional convergences despite some formal divergences caused by diverse political-economy landscapes. Their functional convergences are highlighted by China’s local practices, such as the de-facto national security screening in the name of anti-monopoly review. There are many factors affecting China’s national security review regime for foreign investment, including the ongoing (and escalating) US-China competition (or conflict) at the international level and the evolution of state or party capitalism at the domestic level. These research findings will not only contribute to the existing comparative law scholarship, but also benefit multi-national enterprises that seek to enter Chinese and the US markets.


China’s Short-Sighted AI Regulation

Posted on Tue, Jan. 7, 2024

Angela Huyue Zhang, The University of Hong Kong


The Beijing Internet Court’s ruling that content generated by artificial intelligence can be covered by copyright has caused a stir in the AI community, not least because it clashes with the stances adopted in other major jurisdictions, including the United States. In fact, that is partly the point: the ruling advances a wider effort in China to surpass the US to become a global leader in AI. From the government to the courts, Chinese authorities have become fixated on ensuring that the country can surpass the US to become the global leader in artificial intelligence, no matter the cost. They seem not to realize just how high that cost may turn out to be.


The Cambridge Handbook of Foreign Judges on Domestic Courts

Posted on Mon, Jan. 6, 2024

Anna Dziedzic, University of Melbourne

Simon N. M. Young, The University of Hong Kong


Foreign judges sit on domestic courts in over fifty jurisdictions worldwide. They serve on ordinary courts, including apex and constitutional courts, as well as specialist courts, such as international commercial courts and hybrid criminal tribunals. This Handbook presents the first global comparative study of this long-standing, diverse and evolving practice, from colonial precedents to new forms of foreign judging in contemporary conditions of globalisation. Chapters by scholars of law, politics and history, and reflections by judges themselves, provide detailed information and critical analysis of foreign judging across Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East and the Pacific. The chapters examine the notion and relevance of foreignness, rationales for foreign judges, and the implications for judicial identity, adjudication, independence and accountability. Focusing on an underexplored issue that features mainly in small states and jurisdictions of the Global South, this Handbook challenges assumptions and expands knowledge about courts and judges.


Property Law: Comparative, Empirical, and Economic Analyses

Posted on Mon, Jan. 6, 2024

Yun-chien Chang, Cornell University


This book uses a unique hand-coded data set on nearly 300 dimensions on the substance of property law in 156 jurisdictions to describe the convergence and divergence of key property doctrines around the world. The author quantitatively analyzes property institutions and uses machine learning methods to categorize jurisdictions into ten legal families, challenging the existing paradigms in economics and law. Using other cross-country data, the author empirically tests theories about property law and comparative law. Using economic efficiency as both a positive and a normative criterion, each chapter evaluates which jurisdictions have the most efficient property doctrines, concluding that the common law is not more efficient than the civil law. Unlike prior studies on empirical comparative law, this book provides detailed citations to laws in each jurisdiction. Data and documentation are publicly available on the author’s website.


Workshop: The Constitution and the Civil Code

Posted on Fri, Jan. 5, 2024

The University of Hong Kong

The Workshop will explore the relationship between constitution and civil codes, focusing attention on Asia, albeit from a broad, comparative perspective. Two themes are particularly important: (i) the structure of the relationship between constitutional (or human) rights and the private law; and (ii) the interactions between domestic institutions – the courts, the legislature, the executive – in efforts to “constitutionalize” civil codes, if any. The Workshop will depart from a traditional “conference format,” in that participants will not present papers. Instead, they have produced short texts that will help to organize our “roundtable” discussions.

Date: January 12-13, 2024 (Friday & Saturday) 

Venue: Room 901, Cheng Yu Tung Tower, HKU (In-person)

How the Chinese Diaspora Paved the Way for BRI

Posted on Thu, Jan. 4, 2024

Richard Cullen, The University of Hong Kong


The biggest international trading venture in world history is 10 years old. But there’s an extraordinary tale behind the Belt and Road Initiative, or BRI. And that’s the story of the exceptional Chinese Diaspora experience, which laid the foundations for the infrastructure project’s success. This Chinese macro-migration endeavour, individual by individual, long predates the remarkable BRI, which is, today, measurably retracing the diaspora’s pioneering footsteps.

Regulating Emissions Data Quality, Cost, and Intergovernmental Relations in China's National Emissions Trading Scheme

Posted on Thu, Jan. 4, 2024

Ling Chen, McGill University

Ruoying Li, Peking University


Emissions data collection and management are crucial to operationalizing an emissions trading scheme (ETS). Regulators need high-quality data to allocate emissions allowances and monitor compliance. However, collecting such data can be costly, challenging various actors. Emitters may misreport data, weighing the cost against their interest, while governments may struggle with limited resources in managing compliance. Third-party verification is a solution but tends to be ineffectual and causes new problems unless with sufficient oversight and support. This quality-cost dilemma becomes even more complex in multi-level ETSs, as in China’s national ETS (NETS). This Article establishes a three-element analytical framework—data quality, cost concerns, and intergovernmental relations in data management—to shed light on the nuances of data regulation. The actor-centered analytical model and practical recommendations for the NETS can serve as a valuable guide for jurisdictions facing similar data challenges.


[Call for Paper] Law &: An Exploration of the Past, Present, and Future of Interdisciplinary Legal Studies

Posted on Wed, Jan. 3, 2024

The University of Hong Kong

The HKU Centre for Interdisciplinary Legal Studies will host its inaugural “Law &…” conference on interdisciplinary legal research. This event will bring together researchers from around the world to examine, share, celebrate, and critique interdisciplinary approaches to legal studies. The conference will be held on May 22–23, 2024. It will feature a wide range of speakers, including a keynote presentation by Mark Suchman, Executive Director of the American Bar Foundation. We invite submissions from those interested to attend.


Legal Strategy for Commercial Hostage-Taking and Business Exit Bans

Posted on Wed, Jan. 3, 2024

Jack Wroldsen, California Polytechnic State University


When an everyday civil business dispute arises in China between a U.S. company and a Chinese company, such as an alleged contract breach, employees of the U.S. company may find themselves subject to an exit ban and unable to leave the country or locked in a guarded hotel and unable to leave their room. When U.S. business leaders or their employees are subject to exit bans or become commercial hostages in China, they confront a problem unlike almost any other they face in the ordinary course of business in the U.S. Relying in part on previously confidential exit ban data on U.S. citizens, obtained from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing under a FOIA request, this article explains how U.S. and other nations’ business leaders can use legal strategy to prepare for and handle commercial hostage and business exit ban situations. The article also explains the Chinese legal and cultural influences that give rise to both practices.

Sino-American Parallels in Administrative Law

Posted on Fri, Dec. 29, 2023

Andrew Willinger, Duke University


This Article explores the parallels between challenges to agency deference in the United States and recent popular concerns about arbitrary local government action in China. By analyzing both legal scholarship and media reports, the Article shows that these phenomena are two sides of the same coin. While China is not likely to embrace judicial independent, this Article suggests two ways to address perceived local government overreach in China—informed by the American experience with Chevron. Rather than rely on normal judicial review, which is likely to be highly deferential in the Chevron mold, the Chinese judiciary might embrace broader policy suggestions and conduct more probing textual analysis of whether local governments are acting in accordance with positive, statutory law.


Monopoly and Fragmentation: Data Collection in Chinese Empirical Legal Studies

Posted on Thu, Dec. 28, 2023

Qin (Sky) Ma, New York University


The quality of empirical research is dependent on the reliability and validity of the data collected. This paper aims to analyze the problems in data collection methods in Chinese empirical legal studies. Based on the analysis of 692 empirical legal research articles published in Chinese core journals, this study has identified the prominent problems including serious monopoly, fragmentation, over-reliance on secondary data, incompleteness of data, and unclear descriptions of data collection methods, etc. These problems have severely limited the validity, depth, and development of Chinese empirical legal research. The findings highlight the necessity of addressing the deficiencies in data collection to promote the quality of empirical legal research.


Learning from Your Rival? A Surprising Convergence of Chinese and American Corporate and Securities Laws

Posted on Thu, Dec. 28, 2023

Wei Zhang, Singapore Management University


Despite the increasing tension between China and US, a student of Chinese law will be surprised at the increasing similarity between corporate and securities laws in China and US. Many Chinese twists as there are, the overall trajectory of China’s corporate and securities laws appears evidently moving closer toward their American counterparts. The author will trace the recent changes in Chinese laws, regulations and judicial interpretations and decisions to substantiate this point. At the same time, the author will also present an analytical framework to explain this legal convergence in an era of decoupling between China and the US. The explanation is based on two key factors, legal professionalism and political populism. Understanding the convergence of Chinese corporate and securities laws to their American counterparts will enable us to make a better-informed assessment of the uniqueness of China’s corporate governance and securities regulation paradigms.


How Do Patent Subsidies Drive SMEs to Patent? Evidence from China

Posted on Mon, Dec. 11, 2023

Runhua Wang, The University of Science and Technology Beijing


This study explores how patent subsidies have promoted the patenting propensities of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in China. Patent subsidy policies provided limited financial support but sent signals to create prospects of obtaining policy surpluses by filing patent applications. This study provides empirical evidence of the signaling effect by showing that innovation-inactive SMEs and SMEs in patent-free industries filed inframarginal patent applications. Ex-ante subsidy policies offered stronger signals than ex-post subsidy policies. However, after a pro-patent culture was cultivated, SMEs were impervious to a decrease in patent subsidies and did not effectively perceive messages of strengthening patent quality from further policy changes. The signaling effect suggests effective policies for promoting patent applications in a weak patent regime that does not reward patents through the market. By contrast, it also accompanied distortion effects, indicating the policy’s failure to reduce the transaction costs associated with SME adapting to the patent regime.


‘Duty-Related Violations’: An Umbrella Notion for Politicising the Supervisory System in China

Posted on Mon, Dec. 11, 2023

Su Bian, Jiangsu Ocean University


The promulgation of the Supervision Law in China reflects the central government’s determination to combat ‘corruption’ at a new level. The National Supervisory Commission was established as an independent commission with broad-ranging supervisory powers, along with other supervisory commissions at local level. While these commissions’ jurisdiction over ‘duty-related crimes’ is prescribed in detail by law, what ‘duty-related violations’ are and how the commissions supervise them remain blind spots in the Supervision Law. This paper analyses supervision-related administrative judgments from 2018 to 2021 to summarise the three channels through which supervisory commissions can become involved in administrative litigation, yet none of them support the undertaking of judicial review. In this respect, the vague definition of duty-related violations, combined with the lack of an effective judicial review mechanism, can have adverse effects on the rule of law project that China has been striving to build over the past four decades.


Property as National Security

Posted on Fri, Dec. 8, 2023

Matthew S. Erie, University of Oxford


Two historically disparate fields of law—property and national security—are colliding and they are doing so through the hyper-activity of state governments. Against the backdrop of the U.S.-China trade/tech war, state governors and legislatures try to out-compete each other in introducing China-related bills to sever all ties with China, stunt the growth of Sinocentric supply chains, and neutralize China’s soft power in the world. While the state bills operate in parallel to federal legislation and regulation, in many instances, states’ activities go much farther than federal efforts. States are laboratories of China-delinking. National security is often the justification for these laws. While the state statutes are strong symbolic aspects, they are already affecting property relationships, and raise a host of constitutional and foreign affairs questions. These issues have galvanized litigation that is working its way through the federal court system. The infusion of national security into property law has potentially far-reaching consequences not only for Chinese citizens resident in the U.S. and also for U.S.-China relations, but also for the future development of property law.


China’s Dilemma in Renewing Its Belt and Road Initiative

Posted on Thu, Dec. 7, 2023

Leon Trakman, University of New South Wales


China faces difficult choices in renewing its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in the post-Pandemic era. With its primary BRI now extending from Asia to Africa, Latin America and beyond, China is depicted as a saviour rescuing developing states from their colonial roots and sublimation to the economic outreach of Western liberal states. Alternatively, China is envisaged as a new colonial landlord acquiring property through investment and exploiting local economies for its own economic and political good, at their expense. For those mediating between these two extremes, China is both well intended in seeking to promote global investment and to assist developing states, while sometimes aggressively seeking economic benefits for its outbound investors. Whether it is doing so primarily for its own good or for the wellbeing of its developing state partners, conciliators infer, would depend on the specific case. This article explores these dynamics in China’s treaties providing for settling investment disputes along its BRI. It examines how China might reframe these dispute resolution options in the future.


Can China Squelch Free Speech Beyond Its Borders?

Posted on Thu, Dec. 7, 2023

Ge Chen, Durham University


This research presents a pioneering analytical framework that delves into the structural implications of China’s transnational censorship on global freedom of expression over the past decade. The study meticulously unpacks the party-state’s evolving transnational censorship laws, highlighting their novel structural nuances. It further investigates the multi-faceted strategies employed by the party-state to amplify its authoritarian influence across political, economic, and technological domains. At its core, these laws, while appearing to adhere to a legitimate legal framework, are characterized by their unique normative features. Collectively, they not only reshape the content of global discourse but also challenge the prevailing international order that upholds free speech.


The Chinese Approach to Artificial Intelligence: an Analysis of Policy, Ethics, and Regulation

Posted on Wed, Dec. 6, 2023

University of Oxford


In July 2017, China’s State Council released the country’s strategy for developing artificial intelligence (AI), entitled ‘New Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan’. This strategy outlined China’s aims to become the world leader in AI by 2030, to monetize AI into a trillion-yuan (ca. 150 billion dollars) industry, and to emerge as the driving force in defining ethical norms and standards for AI. Several reports have analyzed specific aspects of China’s AI policies or have assessed the country’s technical capabilities. Instead, this article focuses on the socio-political background and policy debates that are shaping China’s AI strategy. In particular, it analyzes the main strategic areas in which China is investing in AI and the concurrent ethical debates that are delimiting its use. By focusing on the policy backdrop, this article seeks to provide a more comprehensive and critical understanding of China’s AI policy by bringing together debates and analyses of a wide array of policy documents.


The Transparent Self Under Big Data Profiling: Privacy and Chinese Legislation on the Social Credit System

Posted on Wed, Dec. 6, 2023

Yongxi Chen, Australian National University

Anne S. Y. Cheung, The University of Hong Kong


This article first maps out the background to the construction of China’s big data social laboratory and the Social Credit System (SCS), and then summarises the legislative history and evolving concept of social credit. It stresses that apart from the conspicuous SCS policy document introduced by the Chinese central government, pilot legislation has already been implemented at the local levels to regulate the collection and processing of social credit data. The third part critically reviews such local legislation with reference to personal data protection principles. It also highlights the restrictions on the data subjects’ rights that are placed by the uncoordinated legal framework of personal data and the extra-legal regime of personal archive. It argues that existing legislation and proposed regulations require substantial revisions to mitigate the impacts of the SCS on data privacy. This article hopes to lay the groundwork for further legal study related to social credit and big data in China.


Talk: The Law of the Sea and Uncertain Futures (Dec 21 2023)

Posted on Tue, Dec. 5, 2023

Philip K.H. Wong Centre for Chinese Law, The University of Hong Kong


The future can no longer be proofed under existing rules-based international order. Rather, the international community is facing very uncertain global futures. While international community celebrated the 40th Anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in 2022, we are at a critical period of developing global regimes for the world’s oceans: the United Nations Conference on Marine Biodiversity in Areas beyond National Jurisdiction (2023 BBNJ Agreement), the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (2022), International Seabed Authority’s Mining Code and the Plastics Treaty are all being developed simultaneously. It is therefore essential and timely to examine to what extent current development of the law of the sea can address triple-planetary crisis – climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution, in order to navigate uncertainties towards a peaceful and sustainable future.

Date & Time: December 21, 2023 (Thursday) 12:30-13:30

Venue: Room 723, 7/F, Cheng Yu Tung Tower, HKU (In-person)


Urban Commons on Uncommon Ground: Contesting Co-Governance in China's Global Cities

Posted on Mon, Dec. 4, 2023

Guanchi Zhang, Vermont University


Urban centers worldwide, including those in the United States and China, grapple with a paradox – they are powerhouses of wealth and opportunity, yet they simultaneously suffer from increasing unaffordability and exclusiveness. Can land use regulations be the key to making our urban environments prosperous and common? This paper draws on the growing discourse surrounding urban commons – the idea that views urban land as a shared resource, with individual usage influencing comprehensive economic and social outcomes for the community. The discourse moves beyond the traditional, growth-centric approach favoring the “optimal use” of land, contrasting it with an emerging co-governance paradigm. This alternative model encourages an equitable distribution of power and interests among communities, governments, and developers, fostered through systematic collective action.


“Confucius” and America’s Dangerous Myths about Chinese Law

Posted on Mon, Dec. 4, 2023

Daniel Friedman, Villanova University


American legal scholars can’t stop talking about Confucius: there were over 100 law review articles in 2022 alone that reference Confucian ideas, and nearly 1,500 during the last five years. Almost all of them are wrong about what Confucius has meant for Chinese legal culture. In the face of five decades of contrary historical scholarship, these law review articles argue or imply that Chinese law started to become “Confucian” about 2,000 years ago and has never really changed since. That continuity (or stagnation), these scholars claim, is one of the keys to understanding contemporary Chinese law. As this article will show, the reality is very different.


The Private Law Influence of the Great Qing Code

Posted on Fri, Dec. 1, 2023

Taisu Zhang, Yale University


This chapter considers the socioeconomic functionality of legal codes and codification through the lens of late imperial Chinese legal history. Specifically, it asks whether formal legal codes can wield significant influence over private socioeconomic behavior despite being poorly enforced—or even unenforced—and whether such influence derives, in part, from the symbolic value of codification itself. It argues that the answer to both questions is likely “yes,” at least in the context of Qing Dynasty private law. This contains potentially generalizable insights into the nature of legal authority and prestige, some of which may potentially be applied to the recent passage of the Chinese Civil Code in 2020.


Rape-by-Deception in China: A Messy but Pragmatically Desirable Criminal Law

Posted on Fri, Dec. 1, 2023

Jianlin Chen, University of Melbourne

Bijuan Lu, Avantro


China’s Criminal Law defines rape to include circumstances where a perpetrator “by violence, coercion, or any other means rapes a woman.” This article critically investigates whether and how this provision is applicable to the use of deception to obtain sexual intercourse, and makes three contributions. First, it demonstrates that religious fraudulent sex, medical fraudulent sex, and impersonation of intimate partners are punished as rape in China. Second, it argues that current Chinese law is normatively desirable vis-à-vis the general consensus among scholarly commentary and legal practices elsewhere. Third, it highlights the unique starting point of Chinese sexual offenses provisions as compared to both common law and civil law jurisdictions. This case study of China challenges the prevailing assumption in English-language literature that civil law jurisdictions are less receptive towards fraudulent sex criminalization. 


Public or Privacy? Dual Process Theory and Fair Use of Disclosed Personal Information in Chinese Judgement

Posted on Thu, Nov. 30, 2023

Alexander Chan Hou Lou, Tsinghua University


Current academic discourse in China predominantly centers on the fair use of personal information within the frameworks of either the Civil Code or the Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL), often overlooking the coordination challenges that arise between these two legislative instruments. Such an oversight complicates the statutory interpretation of contentious matters such as “fair use” versus “post-hoc refusal” concerning disclosed personal information. This gap in understanding is evident in judicial divergences observed in cases involving the secondary publication of judgments, such as the Yi Case and the Liang Case. To address this lacuna, this paper proposes the integration of cognitive science’s “Dual Process Theory” into legal studies. 


Comparison of Women’s Abortion Rights between China and the United States

Posted on Thu, Nov. 30, 2023

Xiaojing Gao, George Washington University


This paper compares the current abortion laws in the United States and China and discusses China’s strict restriction on forcing women to abort during China’s one-child policy between 1980 and 2015. It proposes that first, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson of eliminating the federal constitutional right to abortion went too far to an extreme just like China’s one-child policy. This shift has made a democratic country act like a collectivist country by leaving women no individual freedom. Second, depriving women’s federal constitutional right to abortion violated international human rights. Further, the holding in Dobbs violates the United States’ treaty obligations under the ICCPR. Eliminating women’s abortion rights violates women’s right to autonomy, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment.


Who Owns Huawei?

Posted on Wed, Nov. 29, 2023

Christopher Balding, Fulbright University Vietnam

Donald C. Clarke, George Washington University


As Huawei has come under increasing scrutiny, the question of who really owns and controls it has come to the fore. Huawei calls itself “employee-owned,” but this claim is questionable, and the corporate structure described on its website is misleading. A number of pertinent facts about Huawei’s structure and ownership are in fact well known and have been outlined many times in the Chinese media, but the myth of Huawei’s employee ownership seems to persist outside of China. This article, drawing on publicly available sources such as media reports, corporate databases, and court cases, aims to refute this myth once and for all.


'Me Too': Public Opinion Movement as Collective Action

Posted on Wed, Nov. 29, 2023

Yao Lin, New York University


This article is the first in a two-paper series, which offers a comprehensive and systematic review of, and response to, various anti-MeToo arguments made by MeToo skeptics. Taking the U.S. and China as examples, the first section overviews the local contexts of anti-sexual-assault/harassment movements, and the respective issues and challenges they each confront. It then summarizes the three primary objectives of the MeToo movement (accountability, empowerment and reform) and the three ideal-typical critiques advanced by MeToo skeptics (the Mobs Critique, the Damsels-in-Distress Critique, and the Puritans Critique). The second through fourth sections will address various versions of the Mobs Critique and the fifth section the Damsels-in-Distress Critique, whereas the Puritans Critique will be left for the forthcoming second article in the series.


Chinese Cross-border Insolvency Laws: Recent Developments and International Implications

Posted on Tue, Nov. 28, 2023

Shuai Guo, China University of Political Science and Law

Jieche Su, China University of Political Science and Law


The present Chinese insolvency law is under the process of legislative reform, and one focus point among legislators and academics is cross-border issues. China is slowly opening up its market to foreign insolvency proceedings, as demonstrated by the 2021 Chinese Mainland-Hong Kong cross-border insolvency cooperation mechanism. This first attempt, however, is only available in three trial cities in the Mainland and does not apply to jurisdictions other than Hong Kong. Nevertheless, it does not undermine the intention of the Mainland to advance its cross-border insolvency framework. Based on a thorough examination of Chinese legislation and judicial practices, this article submits that China would be willing to accept international standards and be a more active player in international insolvencies.


Evolution of Co-Patent Network and Patent Citation Network Centering on Chinese Firms

Posted on Tue, Nov. 28, 2023

Taro Akiyamma, University of Niigata Prefecture

Baojun Fang, University of Niigata Prefecture


This study investigates Chinese firms’ co-patenting and citation networks and examines their evolution since 1985. The co-patenting network exhibits declining betweenness centrality, indicating a more decentralized innovation ecosystem. By contrast, the citation network’s transitivity remains stable owing to the narrowing of the technological gap. Chinese universities hold central positions in the co-patenting network, whereas firms from the US, Japan, Germany, Taiwan, and South Korea maintain active interactions with China in the citation network. The increasingly interconnected structure of citation networks fosters a collaborative innovation environment, emphasizing the value of impactful innovations and strategic network positioning for enhanced innovation performance. These findings underscore the importance of these networks in fostering innovation and knowledge diffusion in China.


The Belt and Road Initiative and Sustainability: A Driving Force for Change or a Missed Opportunity?

Posted on Mon, Nov. 27, 2023

Roza Nurgozhayeva, Nazarbayev University


The traditional approach to regulating sustainability issues has empowered international institutions, states, and multinational corporate actors to lead and coordinate the worldwide agenda of a more sustainable future. However, the existing constraints create significant barriers to achieving the global sustainable development agenda. The fundamental questions, then: (1) to what extent does the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) proposed by China help translate international sustainability commitments into global actions and create sufficient incentives to address suitability challenges worldwide? and (2) what are the constraints that erode the BRI’s effect on global sustainability?


Conference: Regulating Generative AI (Dec 14-15 2023)

Posted on Fri, Nov. 24, 2023

Philip K.H. Wong Centre for Chinese Law, The University of Hong Kong


Since 2022, large-scale generative artificial intelligence has taken the global market by storm, revolutionizing industries and transforming people’s lives. However, the proliferation of AI has also spawned intricate legal, ethical, and regulatory challenges. Many countries have heightened their vigilance against AI-related risks, but the varying regulatory priorities and approaches among governments have further complicated the pursuit of responsible and sustainable AI development. In light of these fluid developments, the Philip K.H. Wong Centre for Chinese Law will host the “Regulating Generative Artificial Intelligence” conference to explore important topics such as content moderation, data security, intellectual property protection, ethics compliance, international cooperation, and standard-setting. Our hope is to facilitate international cooperation and contribute to the global dialogue on AI governance and regulation. All welcome to join!

Date & Time: 14 - 15 December 2023, Thursday & Friday, 09:00-17:30

Venue: Academic Conference Room, 11/F, Cheng Yu Tung Tower, HKU (in-person only)


Talk: On the Right to a Human Decision (Dec 12 2023)

Posted on Fri, Nov. 24, 2023

Philip K.H. Wong Centre for Chinese Law, The University of Hong Kong


The spectacular development of AI-based technologies raises the question whether the encroachment of these technologies upon our lives should be constrained in various ways. Among the more normatively powerful and rhetorically resonant forms of constraint is the kind established by individual rights, especially human rights. And there has been an important discussion underway for some time now as to whether new developments in AI and digital technologies generally require that we re-conceive our understanding of human rights in various ways. In this talk, Professor Tasioulas focuses on one potential reconception: that the rise of AI justifies the recognition of a right to a human decision which requires, among other things, that certain types of decisions are made by humans and not AI systems. 

Date & Time: 12 December 2023, Tuesday, 12:00-13:00

Venue: Academic Conference Room, 11/F, Cheng Yu Tung Tower, HKU (in-person only)


Competing with Leviathan: Law and Government Ownership in China’s Public-Private Partnership Market

Posted on Thu, Nov. 23, 2023

James Si Zeng, Chinese University of Hong Kong


Despite years of economic reform, government-owned enterprises (GOEs) continue to be prevalent in certain sectors of China’s economy. Drawing on empirical evidence from China’s public-private partnership (PPP) market, this article empirically tests whether the theory of the ownership of enterprise can explain the distribution of GOEs in China. First, the enforcement of PPP contracts remains relatively weak in China, which gives rise to the concern of government opportunism. Second, the level of government ownership in each project correlates with the chances of government opportunism. These findings show that the level of government ownership is affected by two competing forces—ownership costs and transaction costs. While GOEs incur relatively high ownership costs, they generally incur lower transaction costs because they can curb government opportunism and thus can outcompete private firms in some projects.


Platform Regulation through Sanctions

Posted on Thu, Nov. 23, 2023

Michelle Miao, Chinese University of Hong Kong


This article, theoretically and empirically, articulates the rising role of criminal law as a regulatory tool of China’s digital platform economy. This unique Chinese model of digital platform governance is described as platform regulation through sanctions. Based on a comprehensive survey of a wide range of digital platforms, e.g., financial fundraising platforms, e-commerce, taxi-hailing and video-sharing platforms, and criminal cases involving such platforms, the author reveals the logic of regulation through sanctions: it shifts state regulatory burden and accountability, redistributes risks and responsibility, and enhances political legitimacy. This legal and regulatory of ecology exerts pressure on digital platforms but also allows its power to extend upward to serve public management functions as well as downward to modify individual behavior.


Chinese Law and Development: Implications for US Rule of Law Programs

Posted on Wed, Nov. 22, 2023

Matthew S. Erie, University of Oxford


China is emerging as an alternative source for law and development for low-income and middle-income states. A number of supply and demand factors account for this. On the supply side, China is becoming increasingly assertive in offering “Chinese-style modernization” to host states in the Global South. Specifically, the Party-State has endorsed what is called “foreign-related ‘rule of law’” which is a bi-directional policy initiative that seeks to both integrate more foreign law into the Chinese legal system and also incorporate more Chinese law into foreign and international law. Beyond the political bluster and political signalling, there is evidence of such initiatives affecting legal practice and institutions. On the demand side, host states value Chinese industrial policy, governance strategies, and digital ecosystem as facilitative of China’s economic growth model, of which law and regulation is part. In the long run, these innovations may promote South-South solidarity but they may just as likely support the commercial and geo-strategic interests of Chinese enterprises which may have aggregate effects on access to justice, procedural transparency, and human rights in vulnerable states. 


The Geoeconomics of Trade Infrastructure and the Innovation Competition between China and the US

Posted on Tue, Nov. 21, 2023

Kai A. Konrad, Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance


China’s high investment in foreign trade structures and the extraordinary innovation efforts of their firms are closely related. They can be explained as a subgame perfect equilibrium outcome of an asymmetric strategic-trade model, in which infrastructure investment renders successful innovation by exporting companies in China more profitable, and in which China and the US have to choose different roles in this innovation competition. That China ends up in the role of the more active investor and the more innovative competitor in this process can be explained by China’s larger export sector and by their competition policy, which is more focused on national champions.


Responsibility for Special Equipment Safety Accidents in China

Posted on Tue, Nov. 21, 2023

Lin Xu, Central South University


Special equipment is widely used across China’s economic and social spheres, forming the basis for stable social and economic growth. However, the particularity of special equipment presents potential safety hazards during operation, which may result in severe accidents or damages. Currently, there are considerable theoretical disparities and legislative shortcomings in defining special equipment safety accidents and allocating legal liability. It is essential to clarify the role of product quality laws and consumer protection laws for special equipment. The function and significance of consumer protection laws in modern society must be determined concerning special equipment safety legislation. Finally, a professionalized national special equipment law should be enacted to eliminate safety hazards and minimize accident damages specific to the production and operation of special equipment.


Characterization (and Registration) of a “BRI Dispute”

Posted on Mon, Nov. 20, 2023

Jamieson Kirkwood, The University of Hong Kong


This article explores the terms “BRI dispute” and “BRI jurisprudence”. It undertakes a practical and theoretical analysis that considers whether “BRI disputes” have distinct and visible characteristics and are capable of being identified in a legal sense. This is important since practitioners – arbitration centres and law firms – use the term broadly and without specific criteria. By exploring the customary usage and the approach of legal scholars to the term, presenting examples of “BRI disputes” and examining their unique features, and constructing a theoretical approach, this article moves from a broad to a narrow analysis to develop both a definition and a system of registration of “BRI disputes” for use by academics, practitioners, and policymakers.


Equality, Dignity and Same-sex Marriage: Reflections on Developments in Hong Kong

Posted on Mon, Nov. 20, 2023

Kelley Loper, The University of Hong Kong


In 2023, the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal (CFA) heard an appeal of the Court of Appeal’s decision in Sham Tsz Kit v Secretary for Justice, a case challenging the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage and the lack of other forms of relationship recognition with equivalent rights and responsibilities. This article considers the lower courts’ earlier rejection of these constitutional claims and argues that their conception of the relevant constitutional, legal, and historical contexts is overly narrow. In particular, the failure to invoke the constitutional values of equality and dignity departs from CFA precedent and the well-established “purposive and contextual” approach to the interpretation of constitutional rights.


Addressing a Human Rights Paradox in the Green Transition

Posted on Fri, Nov. 17, 2023

Karin Buhmann, University of Southern Denmark


Current understandings of ‘cleaner production’ include views that companies should act on problems involving human rights, resources, and community involvement. While theory-based knowledge on how investors may do this remains limited, some transnational business governance instruments provide guidance. This article discusses how the human rights paradox of the green transition to fight climate change can be turned into opportunities for investors to contribute to local communities hosting transition minerals mining. The analysis is based on guidance from the OECD, a major market for transition minerals or energy-related products containing such minerals, and China, the world’s largest buyer and manufacturer of transition minerals. The author identifies actions for investors to cascade human rights due diligence and relevant capacity through the investment chain in ways that both limit harmful impacts and contribute beneficially to communities' human rights.


Coded Social Control: China’s Normalization of Biometric Surveillance in the Post-COVID-19 Era

Posted on Fri, Nov. 17, 2023

Michelle Miao, Chinese University of Hong Kong


China widely used health QR codes to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. A commonly held assumption is that health QR codes have become obsolete in post-pandemic China. This study challenges such an assumption. It reveals their persistence and integration—through mobile apps and online platforms—beyond the COVID-19 public health emergency. Their functional transformation from epidemiological risk assessment tools to instruments of behavior modification and social governance heralds the emergence of a Data Leviathan. This transformation is underpinned by a duality of underlying political and commercial forces. These include 1) a structural enabler: a powerful alliance between political authorities and tech giants and 2) an ideological legitimizer: a commitment to collective security over individual autonomy.


Effectiveness of Keepwell Deeds under Chinese Law and Consideration of the Public Interest

Posted on Thu, Nov. 16, 2023

Fang Wang, City University of Hong Kong


Keepwell deed structures are widely used by Chinese companies to enhance credit when they issue bonds overseas due to the limitations posed by foreign exchange regulations. However, when Chinese companies encounter distress and are unable to pay off the debt, questions as to their validity arise. Normally Chinese courts have no jurisdiction over these disputes where the parties have chosen foreign law and have an exclusive choice of the foreign court in the keepwell deed. However, when the enterprise commences an insolvency proceeding, the overseas creditors will have to enforce the keepwell deeds in China. Given the importance of foreign exchange regulation, the enforcement of the keepwell deed in China raises public interest issues. 


Data Sovereignty: From the Digital Silk Road to the Return of the State

Posted on Wed, Nov. 15, 2023

Anupam Chander, Georgetown University

Haochen Sun, The University of Hong Kong


Data Sovereignty focuses on the question of territorial control over data flows and attempts by national and regional governments to place limits on the free movement of data across a global internet. Drawing on theories in political economy, international law, human rights, and data protection, this volume offers new theoretical perspectives and thought-provoking ideas about the nature and scope of data sovereignty. It examines the extent to which new technologies, such as artificial intelligence, robotics, and automation, pose challenges to data sovereignty and how those challenges might be addressed. In chapters that are both descriptively comprehensive and analytically rich, the book explains the national, regional, and international legal frameworks for regulating the digital economy. 


Environmental Advocacy in a Globalising China: Non-Governmental Organisation Engagement with the Green Belt and Road Initiative