Georgetown Event: Japan

Hiroshima Governor: “The Initiatives of Hiroshima Toward the World Without Nuclear Weapons”

Thursday, April 24 at 5:00pm to 6:30pm 

Edward B. Bunn, S.J. Intercultural Center, ICC 302-P 37th and O St., N.W., Washington

Mr. Hidehiko Yuzaki, Governor of Hiroshima Prefecture in Japan, will speak to Georgetown students and faculty on Hiroshima’s efforts towards global denuclearization.

Mr. Hidehiko Yuzaki is the Governor of Hiroshima Prefecture. He founded ACCA Networks Co, Ltd. and was appointed the Executive Vice President & Representative Director. Prior to this, he served in the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry as the Deputy Director, Americas Division, Trade Policy Bureau. He was also the Deputy Director, Nuclear Industry Division, Agency for Natural Resources and Energy and employed at the Ministry of International Trade and Industry. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Stanford University and graduated from the University of Tokyo, Faculty of Law.

RSVP Necessary to Attend: http://hiroshimagovernor.eventbrite.com

This event is hosted by the SFS Asian Studies Program.

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Law Asia Career Talk: What about the World Bank?

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USPTO Extends Period to Apply for China IPR Legal Positions

USPTO has extended the deadline to apply for the recently published China IPR legal positions in Washington, DC to April 9:

USPTO has announced a position for US citizens on the China team.  Here is the link:http://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/364794400 .  The position requires US citizenship, a law degree, knowledge and experience in intellectual property and the ability to conduct research in Chinese. The position requires a minimum of three years general legal experience and one year specialized legal experience in intellectual property.

USPTO was recognized as the best federal agency to work for in 2013.

uspto.jpg

 

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CECC Roundtable: Understanding China’s Crackdown on Rights Advocates: Personal Accounts and Perspectives Tuesday, April 8, 2014 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Senator Sherrod Brown, Chairman and Representative Christopher Smith, Cochairman

of the

Congressional-Executive Commission on China

announce a hearing on

“Understanding China’s Crackdown on Rights Advocates: Personal Accounts and Perspectives”

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Russell Senate Office Building, Room 418

Chinese officials have cracked down on independent rights advocacy, detaining large numbers of individuals for peacefully advocating on issues ranging from combating official corruption and protecting the rights of ethnic minorities to ensuring educational equality for migrant children and seeking greater freedom of the press.  Those detained include Ilham Tohti, a scholar and an advocate for the Uyghur ethnic minority, who sought to build bridges between Uyghurs and the majority Han population. They also include individuals from the New Citizens’ Movement, who have called for social justice, rule of law, and citizen rights.  The detentions are occurring against the backdrop of the Chinese government’s own anti-corruption campaign and stated push for legal reforms.  Witnesses will discuss, among other things, personal accounts of the crackdown as well as its significance for China’s human rights and rule of law development.

The hearing will be webcast live: http://www.cecc.gov/events/hearings/understanding-china%E2%80%99s-crackdown-on-rights-advocates-personal-accounts-and

Witnesses:

 

Jewher Ilham: Daughter of detained Uyghur scholar Ilham Tohti

 

Donald Clarke: David A. Weaver Research Professor of Law, George Washington University School of Law

 

Dr. Sophie Richardson: China Director, Human Rights Watch

 

***Additional witnesses may be added

_______________________________________________________________

On February 21, 2014, nine members of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) signed a letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping expressing serious concern over the worsening crackdown on rights defenders and civil society activists. The letter is available here: http://go.usa.gov/Kfq3.

 

The Congressional-Executive Commission on China, established by the U.S.-China Relations Act of 2000 as China prepared to enter the World Trade Organization, is mandated by law to monitor human rights, including worker rights, and the development of the rule of law in China. The Commission by mandate also maintains a database of information on political prisoners in China-individuals who have been imprisoned by the Chinese government for exercising their civil and political rights under China’s Constitution and laws or under China’s international human rights obligations. All of the Commission’s reporting and its Political Prisoner Database are available to the public online via the Commission’s Web site, http://www.cecc.gov.

 Any student who would be interested in attending this Roundtable in the Senate, please email Susan Weld and Brenda Moore at moorebp@law.georgetown.edu.

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Prof. SHEN Wei: From Bilateralism to Multilateralism: China’s BIT Law and Practice – Speech at GULC (Tomorrow!) and Talk on local government debt at GWU Law School

Prof. SHEN Wei of Shanghai Jiaotong University Law School will have a speech tomorrow at McDonough 492, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.  The Topic is “From Bilateralism to Multilateralism: China’s BIT Law and Practice.” Please come and join us!

Date: April 2

Time: 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Place: McDonough 492 at Georgetown Law Center.

 

Prof. Shen will also give a talk at GW Law School this Thursday evening. The topic is “Understanding China’s Local Government Debt Crisis: Causes and Solutions (or No Way Out?)”. Click here for a flyer and a bio of Prof. Shen. The talk will be recorded and webcast live; here’s the link for the webcast.

Date: April 3

Time: 6 p.m.

Place: Room 402, Lerner Hall, 2000 H St. NW, Washington, DC (Lerner Hall is where you are when you enter the law school at the 2000 H St. entrance).

 

 

 

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CECC Roundtable: “Prospects for Democracy and Press Freedom in Hong Kong,” Thursday, April 3, 2014, 12 pm

Senator Sherrod Brown, Chairman and Representative Christopher Smith, Cochairman

of the

Congressional-Executive Commission on China

announce a roundtable on

“Prospects for Democracy and Press Freedom in Hong Kong”

Thursday, April 3, 2014

12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Russell Senate Office Building, Room 385

Under China’s “one country, two systems” policy, Hong Kong residents enjoy greater freedom and autonomy than people in mainland China, including freedoms of speech, press, and religion.  China has stated it intends to allow Hong Kong residents to elect their Chief Executive by universal suffrage for the first time in 2017 and to elect Hong Kong’s Legislative Council by universal suffrage in 2020.  As Hong Kong’s government contemplates electoral reform in the run-up to the 2017 election, concerns are growing that China’s central government will attempt to control the election by allowing only pro-Beijing candidates to run for Chief Executive. Concerns over press freedom have also grown in the wake of several incidents in which journalists have been violently attacked or fired.

 

The roundtable will feature two prominent advocates for Hong Kong democracy, Martin Lee and Anson Chan, who will examine the prospects for Hong Kong’s democratic development.

This roundtable will be webcast live at http://www.cecc.gov/events/roundtables/prospects-for-democracy-and-press-freedom-in-hong-kong  

Panelists:

Martin Lee: Barrister, founding Chairman of the Democratic Party of Hong Kong, former Member of the Drafting Committee for the Basic Law, and former Member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong (1985–2008).

 

Anson Chan: Former Chief Secretary for Administration of Hong Kong, former Member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong (2007–2008), and Convener of Hong Kong 2020, a political group working toward achieving universal suffrage in the 2017 election for Chief Executive and 2020 Legislative Council elections.

Click here to download a copy of the Commission’s full 2013 Annual Report.

The Congressional-Executive Commission on China, established by the U.S.-China Relations Act of 2000 as China prepared to enter the World Trade Organization, is mandated by law to monitor human rights, including worker rights, and the development of the rule of law in China. The Commission by mandate also maintains a database of information on political prisoners in China-individuals who have been imprisoned by the Chinese government for exercising their civil and political rights under China’s Constitution and laws or under China’s international human rights obligations. All of the Commission’s reporting and its Political Prisoner Database are available to the public online via the Commission’s Web site, http://www.cecc.gov.

 

Any student who would be interested in attending this Roundtable in the Senate, please email Susan Weld and Brenda Moore at moorebp@law.georgetown.edu.

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Spend the summer doing research in China on clean energy cooperation

Professor Joanna Lewis (SFS, STIA) is looking for a student research assistant to help conduct research in Beijing, China during summer 2014. Student would need to work full time for at least 4 weeks in China during July, though there may be an option to work part time over a longer time period between June and August. The position is paid and also includes airfare, lodging, and certain other local expenses (most meals, local transportation). The research assistant will help with a National Science Foundation supported project examining international clean energy collaboration initiatives with China. Research tasks will include in-person interviews, attending meetings and workshops, data collection and data analysis. Mandarin fluency is required, as is some training related to energy, climate change or Chinese studies (courses and/or work experience), and proficiency with Microsoft Excel. Prior international experience (studying, working or living abroad) and prior research experience is preferred. Student must be able to work independently, and must be a current Georgetown student (undergraduate or graduate student).

To apply, please submit the following application materials: (1) a brief description of why you are interested in and qualified for the job, (2) a resume; (3) an unofficial transcript; (4) the names and contact information of two references (at least one must be a Georgetown professor, and the other can be either a professor or recent work/internship supervisor). Please send your application to Professor Lewis (JIL9@georgetown.edu) by March 24, 2014

Students will need to abide by Georgetown International Travel Conditions of Participation. To review GU policies please see http://oip.georgetown.edu/policies-and-resources/.

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Death of a Watermelon Vendor: ‘Chengguan’ Forces in China

 

Edited by Wenyang Wu

1. Two Recent Cases of Chengguan Abuses

On July 17th 2013, a 56-year-old watermelon vendor Deng Zhengjia was beaten to death by several ‘Urban Management’ officers, or chengguan, of Linwu County in Hunan Province. News of this tragic story soon spread across Chinese media. On Dec 27th, the Yongxing County People’s Court in Hunan found four chengguan guilty of intentionally injuring Deng and sentenced them to jail terms ranging from three-and-a-half to eleven years.[1] Deng’s family members were not satisfied with the result and they intended to bring an appeal.

 

According to the witnesses, the conflict started when chengguan tried to confiscate the watermelons and impose a monetary fine on the Dengs for selling fruits outside the designated area. Deng Zhengjia’s wife cursed chengguan and threatened to cause bodily harm. After she got hit, Deng tired to strike back for his wife, a fight then broke out. Deng was beaten by several chengguan and was found dead after they stopped.[2] When local police officers tried to take away the body at midnight, a crowd fought back. It has been reported that several people were injured, and two reporters’ cell phones and video equipments were smashed.[3]

 

Actually this is not the first chengguan case that has drawn national even international attention in 2013. On May 31st, one of the chengguan jumped and stamped on a bike shop owner’s head in Yan’an City of Shanxi Province. According to the witnesses, the bike shop owner struggled to stand up after the stamping and slapped one chengguan in the face, which led to the second round of beating.[4] This “head stamp” case triggered a heated discussion over the chengguan system. Later Yan’an Chengguan Bureau made a public apology. Two chengguan involved in the beating were put under criminal and administrative detention respectively and the rest were given party discipline punishment.[5]

 

2. A Brief Introduction of Chengguan

The legal basis is for the creation of chengguan is the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Administrative Penalty, passed in March 1996, which empowered provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities to “entrust an organization…with imposing administrative penalties” regarding matters falling outside the realm of criminal law and the authority of the Public Security Bureau (China’s police).[6] Before that, the power to impose administrative penalty fell under different departments of the local government. The centralization of such power was meant to avoid the overlapping of penalty enforcement, corruption, abuse of power, and inefficiency.[7]

 

In 1997, authorized by the State Council, the first chengguan unit was set up in Beijing Xuanwu district. Five years later, 23 provinces, autonomous regions and 3 municipalities had all set up chengguan forces.[8] Chengguan’s duties are defined by their local government and usually cover many fields. For example, Beijing Municipal Law Enforcing Bureau of Comprehensive Administration carries out power of penalty in 13 fields, including city appearance, administration of urban planning, industrial and commercial administration, public utilities, auto parking, and environmental protection.[9]

 

There is no “Chengguan Management Law” in China but the Administrative Enforcement Law, which came into effect on January 1, 2012, provides certain standards for chengguan’s law enforcement.[10] One improvement is this law categorizes and limits administrative enforcement measures to “administrative enforcement” and “administrative compulsion”. The former includes fines, removal of obstructions etc and the latter includes, for example, restriction of a citizen’s freedom and seizing of property. Before this law, there were hundreds of enforcement measures without uniform name and standards. Another improvement is this law includes the prioritization of “non-compulsory” enforcement measures and it stipulates a procedure for when and how administrative organs may adopt a compulsory measure.[11]

 

3. Excessive Violence of Chengguan

One major problem of chenggunan’s law enforcement is excessive violence like the brutally beating took place in the two cases mentioned above. One reason for this is, the individuals targeted by chengguan are usually street vendors, who are migrant workers trying to make a living in the city. In order to support their families, they are willing to take chances with laws and regulations, and also tend to act violently when chengguan take law enforcement measures.

 

Another reason is the hiring of “temporary assistance officers” and their lack of training. In the “head stamp” case, the two detained chengguan are all temporary assistance officers who actually have no authority to take enforcement measures. During the interview of an assistance officer Zheng Yuanyuan, who also participated in the beating of the “head stamp” case, Zheng said that she is of middle-school-level education and only received one week of training after she was hired as assistance chengguan officer at the age of 18 with month salary around 1000 yuan. Not long after she started her job, she got scratched badly on the face by an unlicensed vendor. She felt very hurt at that time, but no one seemed to care and taught her how to deal with the conflicts with the vendors.[12]

 

The fact that many chengguan who are involved in violent enforcement are left unpunished also leads to more frequent physical abuses. Most vendors do not know how to protect their legal rights and they believe standing up to chengguan also means standing up to the local government, which is something they try to avoid the most. Unlike the victims in the “watermelon vendor” case which has received national attention, victims in other less severe cases may not have the same opportunity to seek impunity for abuses and receive compensation from the government.

 

4. Violent Resistance Met by Chengguan

Many news and reports only focus on chengguan’s violent behaviors, but ignore the fact that chengguan are also facing the threat of violence every day. In September 2013, after receiving complaints from local residents about the night market, Xinglong Street Chengguan Unit in Nanjing City tried to ask the unlicensed vendors to move their business. But instead of listening to the warnings, some vendors called up a group of people and started to attack chengguan with woken sticks and wine bottles. Several chengguan were injured and their vehicle was also smashed.[13] In December, when Shanghai chengguan tried to remove the street vendors who were blocking the streets, one chengguan was beaten up and another’s foot was crushed by a vendor’s cart.[14]

 

These two recent incidents are only some of the mild cases. In September 2011, four Shenzhen chengguan were attacked by knife during the job, which led to one death and three injured.[15] This case soon drew huge attention of the public, people started to realize that chengguan can also be the victims of this system. One chengguan of Zhuhai City said: “They always say chengguan beat people, but actually we are the ones who got beaten up all the times. Many Chengguan Bureaus don’t allow chengguan to fight back or even talk back when conflicts happen, if we break the rule, our medical fees will not be covered and we will also be disciplined.”[16]

 

Though chengguan officers may face all kinds of violent resistance during their jobs, their works are not approved by the public and people always tend to assume chengguan is the wrongdoer. During an interview of Guangzhou chengguan Li Ming, who was a victim of a brutal beating of vendors, he said something that touched many people: “Chengguan are also humans, they too have conscience.”[17]

 

5. Recommendations to Improve Chengguan System

First, according to China’s Civil Servant Law and Administrative Penalty Law, only civil servant has the authority to impose centralized administrative penalty. It means the chengguan who are officially hired should at least meet the standards of civil servants. If temporary assistant officers are needed, they should be properly trained and the limits of their powers should be made clear. The salary of chengguan should be raised. In many cities chengguan’s monthly salary are very low, some even lower than the minimum wage standard of the province.[18] This leads to instability and the relatively low quality of chengguan units. Also, the chengguan bureau should provide its officers access to psychological support for law enforcement. According to a survey in 2010, 66.4% of chengguan in Beijing often feel depression and pressure, and 16.1% have psychological health issue over the moderate level.[19]

 

Second, as for the enforcement, chengguan should strictly follow the due procedure rules of the local government. For example, they have to show their identity certificates, and if fines are made, invoice should be provided.[20] Without such procedures, vendors are more likely to challenge the authority of chengguan. It will also make chengguan forces look unprofessional and undisciplined. Also, the law enforcement should be more transparent. The targets and legal basis of the enforcement, the amount of the penalties, and the whereabouts of the confiscated goods should all be made public. Transparency will make sure chengguan forces are under public supervision and it will also help chengguan build a trust-worthy image.

 

Third, it’s important to give people access to report abuses and seek impunity. Many chengguan bureaus have already tried to provide a platform for people to report abuses. For example, on Beijing chengguan bureau’s website, you can report abuses under the column of “government information disclosure”. You can also make suggestions and advice, or just write to the head of the bureau directly.[21] As for impunity, one good example is the Shenzheng Chengguan Regulation which was just adopted on Oct 1st 2013. It clearly states that when any of the abuses under the regulation (such as swearing, threatening, beating, damaging personal property etc) takes place, the directly responsible individual and his/her direct superior will be subject to administrative punishment, if the abuses constitute crimes, criminal liability will be imposed. It’s not clear whether this regulation will lead to promised results for the victims and eventually a more civilized chengguan unit.[22]

 

Though most people in China have a mixed feeling towards chengguan, it’s undeniable that chengguan are handling some of the most trivial but important matters that cover almost every aspect of a resident’s life. China needs time to figure out how to prevent chengguan abuses without restraining its ability to act efficiently. A better chengguan system will help create a more harmonious society and a better image of China.



[1] Four Chengguan Officers Including Liao Weichang Were Convicted of Intentional Injury, Yong Xing Court Website (Dec.27, 2013, 4:23 PM), http://czyxfy.chinacourt.org/public/detail.php?id=2550; see also Kazunori Takada, China Court Jails Four Security Officials over Watermelon Vendor’s Death: Xinhua, Reuters (Dec.28, 2013, 1:20 AM), http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/12/28/us-china-vendor-idUSBRE9BR02520131228.

[2] Conflict between Chengguan and the Watermelon Vendor (includes reports, videotapes, and interviews from different Chinese media and sina twitters), News Sina (Dec.29, 2013, 02:20 AM), http://news.sina.com.cn/z/hncg2013/.

[3] Police Tried to Take the Dead Body of the Watermelon Vendor, News from AnHui TV Station (Jul.19, 2013, 8:59 AM), http://video.sina.com.cn/p/news/s/v/2013-07-19/085962686869.html; see also Two Reporters Covering the Watermelon News were Beaten by the Police, BJNews (Jul.18, 2013, 1:00 PM), http://www.bjnews.com.cn/news/2013/07/18/273995.html.

[4] Head Stamp Case from CCTV News, Wang Yi News (Jun.14, 2013, 00:05 AM), http://news.163.com/13/0614/00/919OUFPF0001124J_all.html.

[5] Yan’an Chengguan Bureau Apologized for the Head Stamp Case, Xinhua News (Jun.07, 2013, 3:56 PM), http://news.xinhuanet.com/legal/2013-06/07/c_116077578.htm.

[6] “Beat Him, Take Everything Away” Abuses by China’s Chengguan Para-Police, Human Rights Watch Report, May.23, 2012, at 10, available at http://www.hrw.org/reports/2012/05/23/beat-him-take-everything-away-0.

[7], Xu Lingyun, The Conflict and Target of Chengguan Administrative Enforcement and Law-based Administration, Social Sciences Review Vol.23 No. 5, at 95(2008).

[8] Ibid.

[9] Beijing Chengguan Bureau Website, http://www.bjcg.gov.cn/english/.

[10] Chengguan Will Be Regulated by the Administrative Enforcement Law, People News (Apr.21, 2011, 8:48 AM), http://politics.people.com.cn/GB/1026/14444780.html.

[11]  “Beat Him, Take Everything Away” Abuses by China’s Chengguan Para-Police, Human Rights Watch Report, May.23, 2012, at 16.

[12] Head Stamp Case from CCTV News, Nes163 (Jun.14, 2013, 00:05 AM), http://news.163.com/13/0614/00/919OUFPF0001124J_all.html.

[13] Local Residents Complained about the Night Market, Chengguan Met Violent Resistance, Jiang Su News (Sep.27, 2013), http://jsnews.jschina.com.cn/system/2013/09/27/018738922.shtml.

[14] Shanghai Chengguan Met Violent Resistance, News Sina (Dec.11, 2013, 3:22 PM), http://sh.sina.com.cn/news/s/2013-12-11/152273616.html.

[15] Chengguan One Dead Three Injured, News Sina (Sep. 13, 2011, 9:24 AM), http://gd.news.sina.com.cn/news/20110913/1177180.html.

[16] How Should We Treat the Issue of “Violent Resistance of Chengguan”?, People News (Oct.24, 2011, 7:24 AM), http://legal.people.com.cn/GB/15989058.html.

[17] Beaten Chengguan Li Ming: I have Conscience Too”, Wang Yi News (last visited Jan. 21, 2014), http://news.163.com/special/review/chengguan091212.html#ftsl.

[18] Henan Chengguan Asked for Wage Raise, News Sina (Jul.11, 2013, 2:39 AM), http://news.sina.com.cn/c/2013-07-11/023927634494.shtml.

[19] Xie Heping, Chen Sheng, Tian Xiaohong, The Reason and Negative Effects of Stigmatization of Chengguan, Reform and Opening, April, at 110 (2013).

[20] He Jingliang, Liu Huaiming, Yan Haijun, On Law Enforcement Power of Chengguan and Street Vendors’ Right to Live, Law and Society, July, at 202 (2012).

[21] Beijing Chengguan Bureau Website, http://www.bjcg.gov.cn/xxgk12/.

[22] Shenzhen New Regulation: Chengguan Violent Enforcement Will Lead to Superior Responsibility, Xinhua News (Oct. 3, 2013, 7:25 AM), http://news.xinhuanet.com/local/2013-10/03/c_125481085.htm.

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