2016

Jerome A. Cohen. The Wisdom of The Hague’s South China Sea Decision. Wall Street Journal

The July 12 arbitration award in the Philippines case against China under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos) isn’t only significant for East Asia and maritime law. It will also have implications for public international law and the peaceful settlement of international disputes generally.

Peter Dutton Interview. The Hague Rules Against Beijing in South China Sea Case. The Takeaway

At long last, the Philippines and China will have answers to their heated dispute over the South China Sea. A tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands, has issued a landmark ruling addressing the Philippines' accusations that China has interfered with the rich fishing region of the Scarborough Shoal.

Jerome A. Cohen. Like it or not, UNCLOS arbitration is legally binding for China. EAF (East Asian Forum)

International media have come to focus on Tuesday’s anticipated decision in the Philippines’ arbitration against China. Beijing’s recent propaganda and diplomatic blitz has raised the prominence of the case to new heights. The dispute involves no fewer than 15 issues, many of them highly technical. Yet the basic issue in the case — whether the decision will be legally binding on China as well as the Philippines — is reasonably straightforward. Still there appears to be widespread misunderstanding surrounding it.

Jerome A. Cohen and Peter A. Dutton. Japan’s important sideshow to arbitration decision in the South China Sea. EAF (East Asian Forum)

While tensions continue to rise in the South China Sea and the disputing governments nervously await a decision in the Philippines’ arbitration case against China, an important sideshow has arisen between Japan and Taiwan in the central Philippine Sea regarding a Taiwanese fishing vessel. 

Aaron Halegua. Employees in China should be allowed to protest against work conditions without fear of reprisals. SCMP (South China Morning Post)

China issued a new regulation to better protect whistle-blowers who report work-related crimes. Among the provisions are several articles that not only prohibit retaliation, but also, for the first time, describe the many forms it can take and provide greater detail on how the government should prevent and address reprisals. 

Jean Lee. Why South Korea Should Reopen the Kaesong Industrial Complex. EAF (East Asian Forum)

Jean Lee. Why South Korea Should Reopen the Kaesong Industrial Complex. EAF (East Asian Forum)

On 11 February the South Korean government abruptly shut down the Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC), a joint inter-Korean industrial zone located just north of the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ). The closure left more than 52,000 North Korean workers unemployed and more than 120 South Korean companies with nowhere to do business.

Margaret K. Lewis. A Review of China’s Record on Torture. University of Nottingham Blog

Chinese President Xi Jinping stated that “China has made enormous progress in human rights. That’s a fact recognized by all the people of the world.” The statement is true when viewed against the abuses committed under Mao Zedong. Yet the 2015 UN report on China’s compliance with the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment presents a bleak view of the realities in China today.

Jerome A. Cohen. Why the elections in Taiwan matter so much – for Beijing, the region and the US. SCMP (South China Morning Post)

The anticipated turnout for Saturday’s presidential and legislative elections in Taiwan will be relatively modest compared with its great importance in so many respects. A major question, of course, is whether – if the Democratic Progressive Party’s candidate Tsai Ing-wen wins – her administration can manage a smooth transition to the next stage of Taiwan’s relations with mainland China

Eva Pils. 'If Anything Happens…:’ Meeting the Now-detained Human Rights Lawyers. China Change

Meeting people who could be disappeared anytime is a bit unnerving. You keep wondering if this is the last time you’ll see them. You want to ask what you should do in case something bad happens, but you don’t want to distress them by asking too directly.

Eli Friedman, Aaron Halegua and Jerome A. Cohen. Cruel irony: China’s Communists are stamping out labor activism. Washington Post

They came for the feminists in the spring. In the summer, they came for the rights-defense lawyers. And on Dec. 3, the eve of China’s Constitution Day, Chinese authorities initiated a widespread crackdown on labor activists in the industrial powerhouse of Guangdong province.

Li Ling. The Chinese Communist Party and People’s Courts: Judicial Dependence in China. American Journal of Comparative Law

By tracing the historical development of the relation between the Chinese Communist Party and China’s courts, this article finds that in order to subjugate the state as a whole to its superior power, the Party has confined judicial power to a ranking order which it has determined and administered.