USALI News

Affiliated Scholar Aaron Halegua's Ongoing Legal Work in Saipan

Affiliated Scholar Aaron Halegua’s work on a lawsuit dealing with claims of forced labor/human trafficking of Chinese men while constructing a Saipan casino continues to be featured in the news. Below is an article from the Financial Times. It was also covered in Reuters, The Telegraph, Guam Daily Post, and the local Saipan papers and TV station.


Chinese workers sue Saipan casino over forced labor scheme
March 14, 2019

SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands (AP) — Seven Chinese men allege in a lawsuit that they were victims of a forced labor scheme while constructing a Saipan casino.

The casino and its contractors violated U.S. trafficking laws by exploiting the workers, the lawsuit said. Saipan is part of the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

The lawsuit was filed in December. It was amended Friday to add trafficking claims and to include casino owner Imperial Pacific as a defendant.

Representatives for Hong Kong-based Imperial Pacific and the contractors named in the lawsuit couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

According to the lawsuit, the men were subjected to 12-hour workdays, dormitories without showers or air-conditioning and a dangerous construction site.

“Their supervisors yelled and cursed at them, and forced them to pay fines if they did not work hard enough or arrived late,” the lawsuit said. Imperial Pacific knew about, or “recklessly disregarded” the exploitation by their contractors, the lawsuit said: “However, rushing to complete the project, rather than remedy the situation, Imperial Pacific and its contractors sought to conceal their illegal scheme from government authorities, medical providers, and any party that might hold them accountable.”

U.S. officials announced $14 million in settlements last year with Chinese construction firms building the casino after finding workers were paid less than required.

“Many foreign migrant workers suffer injuries and endure abuse, but have no access to a remedy,” said Aaron Halegua, a New York attorney helping represent the construction workers. “Fortunately, because these events occurred in a U.S. Commonwealth, the plaintiffs are protected under U.S. law.”

 https://www.ft.com/content/efef39d0-471b-11e9-b168-96a37d002cd3

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.

USALI’s May 2018 Trip to China: Preventing Wrongful Convictions – Police Interrogations and False Confessions

In May 2018, the U.S.-Asia Law Institute (USALI) traveled to China as part of its continuing program to work with partners in Asia to prevent and redress wrongful convictions. Working with Chinese partner institutions, we convened several events in Beijing and Shanghai to share the research and expertise of Western scholars on one of the leading causes of wrongful convictions in the U.S. and around the world: false confessions.

Recent Events: Bail Reform in Massachusetts

USALI has been working with experts in in Asia to share information about criminal justice reform generally and in China to share information about “bail reform”  in particular.  In fact, we have a bilingual book scheduled for publication later this month comparing pre-trial detention regimes in the United States and China.

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.

From the Archives: Just Fifteen Books on China?

It would be a delightful summer diversion. What China-watcher wouldn’t relish an assignment to select fifteen good books to introduce general readers to contemporary China? It promised to be easy. After all, I had recently reviewed the state of the art while my wife and I were working on our last book, China Today (Harvard Magazine, February 1975, Page 31). And the assignment would be worthwhile, spurring me to catch up on a flurry of new books. I had visions of days spent reading in the hammock or on the beach, and the evenings devoted to the new parlor game of challenging fellow Sinologues to name their fifteen favorites…

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.