2013 Year End Letter

Dear Friend of USALI,

Thank you for your support of NYU’s U.S.-Asia Law Institute (USALI) this past year. 2013 was a great year and we expect the coming year will be even better. 明年会更好! Here is a quick summary of our accomplishments for the year.

Public Events

This year, USALI organized nearly sixty events at the law school, including:

  • The Nineteenth Annual Timothy A. Gelatt Dialogue on the Rule of Law in Asia, featuring seven members of NYU’s law faculty in an informal discussion of academic engagement with China

  • Expert speaker events with Evan Osnos, former China correspondent for The New Yorker; He Weifang, one of China’s leading public intellectuals and legal scholars; Zhou Dan, Chinese lawyer and LGBT rights advocate; and Guo Jianmei, China’s leading women’s rights lawyer

  • Roundtables with key participants in the East and South China Sea disputes, including Annette Lu, former Vice President of Taiwan; Francis Jardeleza, the Solicitor General of the Philippines; and representatives from Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Viet Nam and the People’s Republic of China

Expert Support of Legal Reform in China 

We also directly participated in legal reform workshops in Beijing, Chengdu, Fuzhou, Wuhan, and Xi’an through our three-year project on Criminal Procedure Reform.  This year we focused on implementation of the new provisions in Chinese law designed to prevent torture and coercion during police interrogations.  To that end, we shared with our Chinese colleagues world-renowned expertise and best practices in interrogation as well as the award-winning documentary, Central Park Five, which showed the grave injustice that false confessions may lead to.


This past year, USALI staff published fourteen academic articles and op-eds on legal reform in China, as well as Challenge to China: How Taiwan Abolished Its Version of Re-Education Through Labor (Berkshire), a book co-authored by USALI Co-Director Professor Jerome Cohen and USALI Affiliated Scholar Professor Margaret K. Lewis on Taiwan’s abolition of police-imposed punishment.


Professor Cohen’s work as a pioneer in the field of East Asian Legal Studies was acknowledged this year though a Lifetime Achievement Award granted by the American Association of Comparative Law, the Pacific Century Institute’s Building Bridges Award, established to honor people who have enhanced relations between Americans and Asians, and The American Lawyer magazine’s “Top 50 Innovators” award, given in recognition of Professor Cohen’s innovative work in the field of international law over the last five decades.

Expert Advice

Throughout the year, our staff was frequently called on as experts in various human rights and legal expert dialogues and as witnesses in Congressional hearings:

  • USALI Co-Director and Professor Frank Upham and Research Scholar Qiao Shitong organized a training on property rights for a delegation from China’s Ministry of Land and Resources

  • USALI organized a training for a delegation of judges from Taiwan studying the American jury system

  • Professor Cohen and I participated in the National Committee on U.S. China Relations Human Rights Dialogue

  • Maggie Lewis and I were asked to give testimony to Congress on the prospects for reforming Re-Education Through Labor

  • I was invited by the U.S. State Department to participate in the 6th annual U.S.-China Legal Experts Dialogue

We expect that next year will be another banner year for us.  Here are a few things we are looking forward to:

  • Shanghai Semester Abroad Program – USALI Co-Director Frank Upham has organized the first semester abroad program in Shanghai, and he and I will teach a winter session course at NYU Shanghai entitled, “An Introduction to Chinese Law”

  • Criminal Justice Reform – We will continue to focus on the new provisions of China’s amended Criminal Procedure Law regarding investigative techniques, detention and charging decisions

  • Public Interest Law Projects – We will continue work on the development of public interest law in China, especially in the areas of labor law, land rights and anti-discrimination law

  • Taiwan Rule of Law Initiative – We will continue to learn and share information about Taiwan’s transformation from martial law to democracy and the rule of law

USALI would not have been able to accomplish all that it has this year without the financial support of our friends.  We are grateful for your support. Please consider making a donation that will go toward next year’s activities. Click this link to donate to USALI's webpage.

We wish you happy holidays and a happy New Year and hope to see you at as many USALI events as you can attend in the coming year.

Warmest wishes,

Ira Belkin
Executive Director