(September 12, 2018) Professor Jerome A. Cohen discussed China and foreign relations on September 12, 2018. The event was hosted by the Paul Tsai China Center.
In a 2006 film from Japan, Soredemo boku wa yattenai (“I Just Didn’t Do It”), a man, on the way to a job interview, is falsely accused of molesting a teenage girl on the train and is arrested. He then refuses to admit to the crime.
On June 1, 2016, a delegation from Shanghai visited the U.S.-Asia Law Institute (USALI). Led by Professor Ye Qing, President of East China University of Political Science and Law, this delegation sought to learn more about institutional and legal mechanisms securing the independence of prosecutors and judges in the U.S. and Canada. USALI Executive Director Ira Belkin and Faculty Director Professor Jerome Cohen both introduced the U.S. prosecutorial system to the delegation, discussing how the principle of checks and balances helps to harness prosecutorial discretion.
Our guests also reviewed recent reforms within the Chinese judiciary system, including moves to decoupling local government from the procuratorate and court in matters of finance and human resources. These measures ensure independence and personal responsibility for individual judges, promoting the central role the trial plays in the proceedings.
U.S.-Asia Law Institute research fellow, Aaron Halegua, organized a meeting between Hong Kong’s Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) and American anti-discrimination officials and experts on May 3, 2016. Participants from the United States included David Lopez, General Counsel of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Richard Fincher, a professional mediator and arbitrator of labor and employment disputes, and Mr. Halegua. The group met with Professor Alfred Chan, the recently appointed Chairperson of the EOC, and members of his staff. The participants discussed the legal framework for anti-discrimination protections in both jurisdictions and the various institutions and procedures for resolving allegations of discrimination. Mr. Lopez also introduced the history of the Civil Rights Act and EEOC as well as more recent developments in protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation and religion, including decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court.
On Saturday, April 9, 2016 the U.S.-Asia Law Institute at NYU Law School hosted a meeting between Jenny Yang, Chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Aaron Halegua, a research fellow at the Institute, and several leading Chinese anti-discrimination advocates. Chair Yang introduced the structure of EEOC and the many functions it performs, including investigating claims of discrimination, collecting data from employers, issuing guidance documents, and litigating cases in federal court. The participants also discussed various forms of discrimination that are found in both countries, such as discrimination based on sexual orientation, pregnancy, and disability, as well as strategies for combating discrimination.
On Thursday, April 7, 2016 USALI hosted Fabian Duessel, a research fellow at the Chair of Constitutional Law, Public International Law and Human Rights Law at the University of Tuebingen. The aim of this presentation is to assess to what extent Sir Hersch Lauterpacht’s revolutionary work, An International Bill of the Rights of Man, published in 1945, may be applicable to the 21st century Asian context. Lauterpacht’s book was written at a time when the notion of international human rights protection was in its infancy. However, his analysis proved to be an invaluable handbook for architects of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Two points are of special interest. First, Lauterpacht strategically situated his project within Western notions of the law of nature, natural rights and international law. He also specifically addressed difficulties presented by particular constitutional cultures, such as the uncodified British constitution. Similarly, one must consider to what extent an Asian human rights mechanism may be dependent on specific philosophical legacies and constitutional peculiarities in the region. Second, Lauterpacht strongly argued against the use of a system of international judicial review, and thus did not support the establishment of a purely international judicial enforcement mechanism. His thoughts on enforcement may thus be of value in the current Asian political context, where flexibility and elasticity may be more appropriate.
Without ignoring recent international, regional and sub-regional developments, it is hoped that by “going back to basics”, applying the most fundamental principles to the contemporary context, progress can be made in furthering international human rights protection in Asia.
Fabian Duessel is currently a research fellow at the Chair of Constitutional Law, Public International Law and Human Rights Law at the University of Tuebingen. He holds an LL.B. from the London School of Economics (2010) and is currently an LL.M. candidate at the University of Tuebingen. He also holds an M.A. in Governance from the University of Hagen (2015). At the University of Tuebingen he regularly teaches UK public law (since 2012) and occasionally gives lectures on public international law (since 2014). As visiting scholar at National Taiwan University he co-taught an intensive course on international human rights law with Prof. Jau-Yuan Hwang (2014) and Prof. Jochen von Bernstorff (2015). At the 6th Asian Constitutional Law Forum (2015), held at the National University of Singapore, he presented a paper comparing regional human rights protection in Europe and Asia. He is particularly interested in the development of constitutionalism and human rights in East Asia. His other research interests include international organisations and global governance. Having lived extensively in the UK, Germany and Taiwan, he speaks fluent English, German and Mandarin.
For the month of February 2016, USALI is pleased to welcome Mr. Huang Leping as a Visiting Scholar. Huang will be studying the American legal system, meeting with judges and other individuals for legal exchange.
Huang Leping is a labor law expert and has a Ph.D in Law. He serves as Director of Beijing Yilian Legal Aid and Research Center of Labor and Director of the Beijing Yixian Law Firm. He is also a member of the China National Occupational Diseases Classification and Catalogue Expert Committee, Executive Director of the Labor Economy and Domestic Labor Dispatch Professional Committee under the China Association for Labor Studies, Deputy Director of Labor and Social Security Professional Committee under Beijing Lawyers Association, and an arbitrator of Beijing Labor Dispute Arbitration Committee. Mr. Huang was awarded, among others, “National Outstanding Lawyer in Protecting Workers’ Rights and Interests” and “National May 1st Labor Medal”.
After suffering from a workplace injury in 2003, he began his career studying and practicing labor and social security law. He has provided legal aid for thousands of labor disputes, some of which have established national judicial precedents. He founded Beijing Yilian Legal Aid and Research Center of Labor, which is the first professional labor law legal aid organization in China. Yilian has provided legal services for more than 130 thousand workers and has helped nearly 7000 workers receive a total of RMB190 million of compensation. Yilian was awarded “Beijing Excellent Organization in Charity and Public Interest Activities”, and was invited to participate in labor legislation by the Education, Science, Culture and Public Health Committee of NPC, Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council, and Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.
In late November, 2013, the U.S.-Asia Law Institute welcomed a delegation of Chinese government officials from the Ministry of Land and Resources interested in learning more about urban planning from U.S. academics and practitioners in New York City.
Over the course of a two-day visit organized by Professor Frank Upham, USALI co-director and Wilf Family Professor of Property Law, Mr. Shitong Qiao, USALI Research Scholar and J.S.D. candidate at Yale Law School, and Ms. Heather Han (LL.M. ’10), USALI Research Scholar, the officials met with several members of the NYU community and beyond to discuss theoretical and practical approaches to urban planning.
Presentations featured Professor Vicki Been, Boxer Family Professor of Law and Director of the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy at the NYU School of Law, who discussed transferable development rights; Professor Zhan Guo, Assistant Professor at the Wagner School at NYU, who spoke about development conflict resolution in New York City; Mr. Stephen Louis, Chief of the Legal Counsel Division of the NYC Law Department, who discussed the city’s government structure; Ms. Lisa Bova-Hiatt, Deputy Chief of the NYC Law Department, who highlighted the eminent domain issues in the city; Winston Von Engel, Deputy Director of the Brooklyn Office at the NYC Department of City Planning, who introduced the history of urban planning in NYC; and Professor Gerald Korngold, Professor of Law at New York Law School, who presented on U.S. Real Estate Transactions and Finance.
In addition, the delegation took a tour of City Hall and witnessed a public hearing at the NYC Department of City Planning.
In a letter written upon his return to China, delegation leader Mr. Lu Jing complimented the USALI team on the relevancy of the topics to the delegation’s interests, the comprehensive nature of the academics’ and practitioners’ presentations, and the overall tone of the meetings, which Mr. Lu described as “free and harmonious.”
USALI’s involvement in the organization of the delegation visit is representative of the Institute’s greater effort to increase intellectual exchanges between Chinese and American practitioners and scholars.
In late October, 2013, the U.S.-Asia Law Institute welcomed a delegation of nine judges from Taiwan’s Judicial Yuan, High and District Courts, and Judges Academy interested in studying the American jury trial system as a possible model for citizen participation in Taiwan’s judicial system.
Over the course of a three-day visit organized by Ms. Yu-Jie Chen, USALI Research Scholar and J.S.D. candidate at the NYU School of Law, the judges held in depth discussions regarding the American jury trial system with Jerome Cohen, USALI Co-Director and Professor of Law at NYU; Ira Belkin, USALI Executive Director and Adjunct Professor of Law at NYU; James B. Jacobs, Chief Justice Warren E. Burger Professor of Constitutional Law and the Courts at NYU; Margaret K. Lewis, USALI Affiliated Scholar and Associate Professor of Law at Seton Hall School of Law; and Andrew Schaffer, Adjunct Professor of Law at NYU and former Deputy Commissioner of Legal Matters for the New York City Police Department.
In addition, the delegation visited New York federal and state courts. While at the courthouses, the delegation observed a probation violation hearing and jury trial, met with United States District Judge Jed S. Rakoff of the Southern District of New York and Judge Martin Marcus of the Bronx County Supreme Court, and discussed the American jury system with a representative of the Commissioner of Jurors.
USALI’s involvement in the organization of the delegation visit is representative of the Institute’s greater effort to increase intellectual exchanges between Taiwan and American practitioners and scholars. USALI’s recently launched Taiwan Rule of Law Initiative intends on accomplishing this through the following activities:
Publish scholarly books, articles and op-eds on Taiwan’s legal development and current legal debates;
Host visiting scholars and practitioners from Taiwan who are researching various aspects of Taiwan’s legal system, including criminal justice, human rights, legal institutions and public interest law;
Hold Chinese and English-language workshops and public programs about Taiwan’s legal development for NYU law students and faculty as well as the wider intellectual community;
Organize conferences that feature exchanges among experts from the United States, China and Taiwan on issues of common interest; and
Facilitate issue-focused study tours for Taiwanese scholars and legal professionals who visit the United States.
On November 7-8, 2013, USALI Executive Director Ira Belkin took part in the sixth U.S.-China Legal Experts Dialogue, an event that brings together government and non-government experts from the United States and China to discuss the benefits and practical implementation of the rule of law. Belkin led the discussion concerning the role of lawyers in promoting the rule of law and emphasized the need for protected space for lawyers to represent unpopular causes and unpopular clients.
Please see below for the official announcement.
Office of the Spokesperson
November 5, 2013
The U.S.-China Legal Experts Dialogue will take place in Charlottesville, Virginia, November 7-8, 2013. Acting Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Uzra Zeya and Acting Legal Adviser Mary McLeod will lead the U.S. delegation. Supreme People’s Court Senior Judge Hu Yunteng will lead the Chinese delegation.
This is the 6th Legal Experts Dialogue and the third since President Obama and then-President Hu Jintao agreed in 2009 on the importance of resuming the dialogue. The dialogue brings together government and non-government experts from the United States and China to discuss the benefits and practical implementation of the rule of law.
On Wednesday, October 9, 2013 Professor Jerome Cohen sat down with Professor Robert Barnett, Director of the Modern Tibetan Studies Program at Columbia University, to discuss Columbia's programs and his involvement with Tibet since visiting Lhasa for the first time in 1987.
Over the last twenty six years, Professor Barnett has devoted his work to informing the public about developments in Tibet. Of his first visit there along with other foreign tourists in 1987, he said. “I suddenly realized it was up to us to collect information and pass it on.” In the late 1980s, Professor Barnett founded the Tibet Information Network, a news agency in London specifically focused on Tibet. In 1998, at the request of Professors James Seymour and Andrew Nathan, he traveled to Columbia University as a visiting scholar. At the time, although many universities still tended to treat Tibetan Studies as “marginal” and “exotic,” over the following years, at the urging of Professor Barnett and his colleagues, Columbia created a Master’s program and a Ph.D program in Modern Tibetan Studies, and is a leading force in the study of the region, including its cultural, religious, social and “geopolitical” dimensions. Professor Barnett oversees these programs.
On October 1, 2013 USALI and the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) at NYU Law met with a five-member ministerial-level delegation from the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS) to discuss human rights curricula in legal education institutions.
VASS is a research institution under the Government of Vietnam with 37 research institutes and centers, and is comprised of over 900 professors, associate professors, and high-degree holders in the social sciences. VASS recently established a Graduate Academy of Social Sciences to conduct research, advise the government, and provide master’s and doctoral degrees in the law and social science fields and public policy. Human rights issues have become an urgent issue in Vietnam. The delegation came to the U.S. to explore and discuss different models of graduate training and research on human rights.
The three main purposes of the delegation visit were to:
1. Engage in academic exchange of experiences in research and education of human rights;
2. Build partnerships for cooperation in developing research, education and human rights training, and for formulating policy advice on human rights issues, laws and legal enforcement;
3. Enhance VASS’ capacity to provide training in human rights at their institute and in Vietnam. This includes exploring training programs, teaching curriculum, teaching materials/ books and learning about what students are expected to know and be able to do, what amount of training is classroom, thesis writing, faculty mentoring, externship, and so forth, the relationship between teaching and research, and the link between research and policy.
Joined by USALI Program Director Trinh Duong and NYU Law student Wendy Liu ('14), USALI Co-Director Professor Jerome Cohen and CHRGJ Faculty Director Professor Philip Alston discussed their experience with developing human rights curricula and programs for legal education settings. Additionally, Ms. Liu spoke about her experience in the International Human Rights Clinic, and delegation members discussed their interest in corporate social responsibility and environmental protection training.