Recent Events

Katherine Wilhelm: USALI's New Executive Director

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New York, August 1, 2019:

USALI Faculty Director Jerome Cohen has announced that Katherine Wilhelm will join the Law School as executive director of the U.S.-Asia Law Institute (USALI) from August 1. Wilhelm has spent most of the last three decades working in China, most recently as legal program officer for the Ford Foundation’s Beijing office. She will be responsible for programming, fundraising and day-to-day operations of USALI. The institute, which is led by faculty director Professor Jerome Cohen in cooperation with its newly-established Advisory Committee consisting of Professors Jose Alvarez, Roderick Hills and Frank Upham, conducts research, engages in exchanges, offers lectures on Asian law, and hosts in-depth dialogues among Asian and American legal experts on topics of shared interest.

Ira Belkin, who has been executive director since 2012, will stay on with USALI as a Senior Research Scholar, contributing to its project work and publications. He also will remain an adjunct professor at the Law School.

Ms. Wilhelm is an expert on China’s legal system, public interest law organizations, and civil society. At the Ford Foundation’s China office, she made grants to support Chinese institutions engaged in legal advocacy, services, research, and education. Before joining the Ford Foundation in 2012, Wilhelm directed the Beijing office of Yale Law School’s China Law Center, where she worked with government, academic, and civil society partners to implement law reform projects. She also practiced law in the Beijing office of a leading U.S. law firm. Before beginning her career in law, she was a journalist, reporting for The Associated Press from Beijing, Hanoi, and Hong Kong, and for the Far Eastern Economic Review from Hong Kong and Shanghai. Her work has been published in leading newspapers around the world. She holds a J.D. from Columbia Law School, a master’s degree in East Asian studies from Harvard University, a master’s in journalism from Columbia University, and a bachelor’s degree in history from Niagara University.

Implications of the Hong Kong Extradition Bill with Affiliated Scholar Alvin Cheung

Hong Kong has been in the news over the controversy and protests surrounding the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation Bill proposed by the Hong Kong government. Our very own Alvin Cheung has been analyzing the situation across a number of platforms. Check out the links below to help bring you up to speed on the situation in Hong Kong, protests, and the implications of the bill itself:


LAWFARE PODCAST

Description:
Early this week, about 200 protestors broke into and occupied the seat of Hong Kong's legislative assembly. The protests began with a controversial law about extradition to mainland China. That law was withdrawn, but the protestors remain. There are hundreds of thousands of them—a small number of them violent.  Today we ask: WTF, Hong Kong? To answer that question, Benjamin Wittes spoke with Alvin Cheung, an expert on Hong Kong's legal system based at New York University, and Sophia Yan, the China correspondent for The Telegraph in London who has been covering the Hong Kong protests (Lawfare Podcast listeners also know her for her musical prowess). They talked about where Hong Kong is now, what's really behind the demonstrations, where the anger is coming from, and where it's all going.

Link to Podcast: https://www.lawfareblog.com/lawfare-podcast-wtf-hong-kong

CHINAFILE

Description:
O
n June 16, an estimated 2 million people took to the streets to protest the Hong Kong government’s handling of a proposed extradition bill. This followed two massive demonstrations against the bill earlier in the month, including one where police used pepper spray and tear gas against protesters. The controversial bill would allow Hong Kong to extraditeto the mainland those accused of crimes under the People’s Republic of China’s Communist Party-led legal system. While Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam has suspended the bill, she has refused to withdraw it. What do the protests mean for the future of Hong Kong? And what do they say about Hong Kong’s relationship with the mainland?

Link to entire conversation: http://www.chinafile.com/conversation/hong-kong-protest



CNN OPINION (author Alvin Cheung)

Excerpt:
On June 9, 2019, organizers say that more than 1 million protesters in Hong Kong -- which would be nearly one in seven people in the city -- voiced their opposition to an extradition bill that would allow fugitives to be transferred to mainland China. Speaking to the Hong Kong Free Press, demonstrator and retired civil servant HK Lau said that the passage of the bill would mean the end of the "One Country, Two Systems" principle under which the city had been governed since the resumption of Chinese rule in 1997.

But speaking after the demonstration, Chief Executive Carrie Lam pledged to continue with the bill, asserting that it would improve the legal system. However, describing a bill that would permit renditions to China -- a country whose leader, Xi Jinping, has categorically rejected judicial independence -- as strengthening the rule of law is not merely cynical doublespeak. Rather, Lam's statement reflects her government's strategy of abusing the city's judiciary to do its dirty work.

Link to full CNN article: https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/11/opinions/hong-kong-protests-government-abuse-judiciary-cheung/index.html

THE INTERPRETER
Author: Alvin Cheung

Excerpt:
On Saturday, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced that she would suspend consideration of the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill (“the Bill”). The Bill would have, among other things, allowed mainland Chinese authorities to make extradition requests against anyone who set foot in Hong Kong, and as a result, had drawn expressions of concern from the legal profession, numerous chambers of commerce, and foreign governments. It also prompted large-scale protests within the territory (Umbrella Movement 2.0 exposes flaws in “one country, two systems”), and on 12 June police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at demonstrators and engaged in violence against journalists.

Following Lam’s announcement on 15 June, UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt was quick to congratulate the Hong Kong government for a job “well done”. Hunt’s congratulatory message was premature and ill-advised. The Hong Kong government’s conduct throughout the abortive legislative process shows that – even without the Bill – the widespread concern about the continued viability of Hong Kong’s business environment remain valid.

Link to full article: https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/deeper-malaise-hong-kongs-civil-service

Workshop in China: International Approaches to Sexual Harassment Law

From June 1 – 2, 2019 the U.S.-Asia Law Institute held “International Approaches to Sexual Harassment Law” in partnership with Sichuan University Law School, Chengdu, China. The workshop was structured to explore comparative means of addressing anti-discrimination cases, litigation, mechanisms and standards throughout the world for the purpose of strengthening understanding of international approaches. 

Webcast recap: “Jack Downey, Sino-American Relations and International Law — Lessons for Today"

By Jerome A. Cohen

I gave a talk entitled “Jack Downey, Sino-American Relations and International Law — Lessons for Today" at the Woodrow Wilson Center today in Washington, DC.  It was in memory of the late distinguished historian of Sino-American relations Nancy Bernkopf Tucker and reviewed the case of my Yale college classmate Jack Downey, a CIA agent whose plane was shot down in China November 29, 1952.  

Gelatt Dialogue 2018 Video Highlights

In November 2018, the U.S.-Asia Law Institute hosted our 24th Annual Timothy A. Gelatt Memorial Dialogue on the Rule of Law in East Asia. The theme to the forum was “East Asia, America & International Law'“ with noted speakers from Asia and the United States to discuss human rights, intergovernmental and territorial disputes, and international tribunals.

Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) 2018 Annual Report

(October 10, 2018) U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and U.S. Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ), Chair and Cochair of the bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), issued the Commission’s 2018 Annual Report and announced several new joint initiatives to protect U.S. citizens and residents from intimidation and address possible crimes against humanity occurring in China.

Discussing China's Belt & Road Initiative

Discussing China's Belt & Road Initiative

 On August 31, USALI affiliated scholar, Aaron Halegua, presented his research on worker exploitation in Saipan and labor abuses along China’s Belt and Road Initiative. The conference, held in Brussels, was hosted by the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies and co-organized by Dr. Maria Adele Carrai, a former visiting scholar (2014-2015) and Global Hauser Fellow (2016-2017) at NYU Law School.

Book Launch in China

On May 29, 2018 the U.S.-Asia Law Institute held a book launch for two the release of their two newest publications, “Questioning Police Interrogation Methods” and “The Evolution of Pretrial Detention Law.” These two books are the result of many year’s work, and feature a variety of articles from leading legal scholars and practitioners about these two important and evolving fields of pretrial detention and interrogation methods.

The books feature an English language and Chinese language versions, with articles translated into Chinese by USALI staff and scholars. The Evolution of Pretrial Detention Law introduces the history and practice of U.S. and Chinese pretrial release history. Meanwhile, Questioning Police Interrogation Methods offers a perspective and methods to alleviate police-induced false confessions. 


The book launch was held at Beijing Normal University, where friends of USALI, the publisher China Law Press, and contributors to the book gathered to discuss the contents and the evolution of the work itself. USALI Executive Director Ira Belkin states, “I am confident that this book’s groundbreaking research, comprehensive commentary and imaginative proposals will stimulate further law enforcement progress in China and the United States.”



Jerome A. Cohen Honored with the Order of the Rising Sun from the Government of Japan

April 4, 2018 -- Jerome A. Cohen, NYU Professor of Law and Faculty Director of the U.S.-Asia Law Institute, received the illustrious honor of The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon. Consul General Ambassador Reiichiro Takahashi awarded the prestigious honor. The evening also featured congratulations by NYU Law School Dean Trevor Morrison and U.S.-Asia Law Institute Senior Fellow Ren Ito. Professor Cohen was awarded for his outstanding contributions in promoting interactions among Japanese and U.S. legal professionals as well as to enhancing the understanding of Japan among people in U.S. 

Gelatt Dialogue 2017: Watch & Read

On November 6, 2017 the U.S.-Asia Law Institute held its 23rd Annual Timothy A. Gelatt Memorial Dialogue on the Rule of Law in East Asia. This year’s theme - “China and International Law: Human Rights, Sovereignty, and Maritime Disputes” - focused on China's approach to international law during the Xi Jinping era as seen through the Communist Party's human rights record, Taiwan-Mainland cross-strait legal problems, China's maritime disputes in the East and South China Seas and the erosion of the Sino-British Joint Declaration on Hong Kong. This all-day event will feature speakers from China, Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong as well as the United States.

NYU Law receives $5 million gift from the Government of Japan

NYU Law receives $5 million gift from the Government of Japan

NYU School of Law has announced a grant of $5 million from the Government of Japan for an endowment of the U.S.-Asia Law Institute (USALI) to ensure its long-term sustainability and to promote the use of international law to resolve conflicts and disputes in Asia.

East China University of Political Science and Law Delegation Visits USALI

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. 

A Conversation with Joshua Wong

April 18, 2016 - Hong Kong Umbrella Revolution Activist Joshua Wong spoke at New York University about the foundation of the student activist group Scholarism in 2011, which was heavily involved in the protests against the introduction of Moral and National Education into Hong Kong school curricula in 2012. He also spoke about the Umbrella Movement pro-democracy protests of 2014.  Joshua Wong was one of Time Magazine's 25 Most Influential Teens of 2014 and one of Fortune Magazine's World's 50 Greatest Leaders of 2015.  He is a founder of the political party Demosisto, which is expected to contest the upcoming Hong Kong Legislative Council elections in September 2016.

Jerome A. Cohen Speaks at AALS meeting on East Asian Law & Society.

On January 7, 2016 Professor Jerome A. Cohen spoke at the Association of American Law Schools in Tokyo. He spoke at the Section on East Asian Law and Society, which promotes learning about East Asian law and society, particularly in a comparative context; collaborates with other Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Sections on matters of common interest related to globalization and legal education; and facilitates the communication of ideas, interests and activities among members concerning legal systems in East Asia.

USALI Hosts Delegation from China's Ministry of Land and Resources on Urban Planning Study Tour

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.