We hope that you are enjoying the Spring Festival, and we wish you a healthy, happy and prosperous Year of the Dog. We are also excited to report to you on our recent activities and to let you in on our plans for the coming year.
2017 was a busy year at the U.S.-Asia Law Institute! In addition to many public events at New York University, we were also able to hold events, lectures, and workshops overseas. Enjoy this brief 2017 At a Glance.
Every spring the U.S.-Asia Law Institute holds the Visiting Scholar Presentation Series. It's an opportunity for our Visiting Scholars to share their research with the NYU Community. In addition to sharing the research that they have conducted during their year at the Institute, it also allows them to share various topics and issues from their home country.
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 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.
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…
On August 24, Aaron Halegua, a Research Fellow at USALI, taught a class at Columbia University introducing U.S. labor and employment law to a group of over 30 law students from China.
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.
(L-R), NYU Professor Jerome A. Cohen, U.S.-Naval War College Assistant Professor Isaac Kardon, and U.S.-Naval War College Professor Peter Dutton.
The week January 15 to 20 was a busy week in Taiwan for our ten-member committee of international human rights specialists who were invited by the ROC Government to review its progress in implementing the two major UN human rights covenants.
As part of our work on preventing and redressing wrongful convictions, the U.S.-Asia Law Institute partnered with NYU Law Professor Erin E. Murphy, a nationally recognized expert on DNA typing, whose research focuses on technology and DNA evidence and whose work has been cited multiple times by the Supreme Court.
As we begin the New Year, we at the U.S.-Asia Law Institute would like to express our gratitude for your continued support. We would also like to take this opportunity to provide a brief synopsis of our activities over the past year. 2016 has been a wonderful and ambitious time at the U.S.-Asia Law Institute!
We began the year auspiciously, welcoming labor law expert Mr. Huang Leping as a Visiting Scholar for the month of February. While at NYU he studied the U.S. legal system, meeting with judges, scholars and other individuals in mutually beneficial legal exchanges. Please follow this link for more information on Mr. Huang Leping's time at the U.S.-Asia Law Institute.
Spring blossomed on a high note in April with an immensely popular public dialogue with Joshua Wong, Hong Kong Umbrella Revolution Activist. He spoke 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. Please click here for coverage on the public dialogue with Joshua Wong.
In March, we welcomed Ms. Masako Mori, Minister of Women's Empowerment and Child-Rearing in Japan, for one of our weekly lunch dialogues. In total, we held over 33 weekly lunches hosted by USALI Faculty Director Jerome A. Cohen. We also coordinated 20 special events including a conversation with Jenny Yang, Chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and welcomed many visiting delegations including one from East China University of Political Science and Law, led by ECUPL’s President, Professor Ye Qing. Please click this link to find out more about East China University of Political Science and Law's visit to the U.S.-Asia Law Institute. Throughout the year, Professor Cohen and USALI-affiliated scholar, NYU Adjunct Professor Peter Dutton of the U.S. Naval War College, also convened multiple meetings and roundtable discussions concerning the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the disputes in the South China and East China Seas, both anticipating and then analyzing the Philippines arbitration decision handed down July 12, 2016.
Over the summer we kept busy with our institute projects and finalizing the details for our forthcoming bilingual publications on best practices to avoid false confessions during police interrogation and protecting individual’s rights during pre-trial release and detention decision-making. Keep an eye on our website in the New Year for updates. We also began preparations for our workshops in China on criminal justice, labor law, anti-discrimination law and professional responsibility for lawyers, scheduled for December 2016 and January 2017.
We spent a productive October with a group of Chinese visiting scholars to share experiences relating to wrongful convictions in the United States, China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. Meetings with experts from the U.S. Innocence Project, as well as the University of Virginia and the University of Michigan, proved an excellent opportunity for U.S. and Asian experts to learn about how to prevent and redress wrongful convictions. One of the highlights of the visit was a tour of New York City’s state-of-the-art DNA laboratory. Also in October, USALI-affiliated scholar Aaron Halegua published a major report on labor rights in China. Based on over 100 interviews, observations of legal proceedings, and extensive documentary research, Who Will Represent China’s Workers? Lawyers, Legal Aid, and the Enforcement of Labor Rights examines the legal violations suffered by workers, the range of legal service providers, and how workers fare in litigation.
In November, we held our 22nd Annual Timothy A. Gelatt Memorial Dialogue on the Rule of Law in East Asia. This year we focused on the recent Philippine arbitration award and invited maritime law experts from several countries to participate. USALI-affiliated scholar Professor Peter Dutton and Visiting Scholar Isaac Kardon, both of the U.S.-Naval War College, helped to steer this fascinating dialogue. Please follow this link to watch the entire 22nd Annual Timothy A. Gelatt Memorial Dialogue on the Rule of Law in East Asia.
December and January have brought a series of activities, meetings, and workshops in China for the Institute. With experts including Professors Sida Liu, Randy Hertz, Paulette Caldwell, Cynthia Estlund, Erin Murphy and Brandon Garrett, we held legal exchanges with Chinese experts at Chinese law schools on labor law, anti-discrimination, professional responsibilities of lawyers, and criminal justice.
Lastly, this year also saw many changes at the Institute. Having completed her JSD degree at NYU, Research Scholar Ms. Yu-jie Chen became a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University’s Weatherhead East Asian Institute, while continuing her collaboration with Professor Cohen and other USALI scholars on the role of human rights in China-Taiwan cross-strait relations, a project sponsored by the Smith Richardson Foundation. Program Assistant Jean Lee left us to enroll in Harvard Law School. We expect great things from her. In August, we welcomed Ms. JoAnn Kim as Program Assistant, and she has been doing a wonderful job coordinating Institute logistics and weekly lunches. This December we also bade farewell to Administrative and Program Director Trinh D. Eng. Trinh joined USALI in 2011, and her guidance has been instrumental in helping USALI to grow into the organization it is today. We are sad to see her go, but happy to know that she will still be in the NYU family, just a few short blocks away. Mr. Eli Blood-Patterson (J.D. ’14) took the helm of Program Manager this December, and has hit the ground running. Come January, we expect to welcome Mr. Allen Clayton-Greene (LLM ’14), as a Research Scholar.
As we begin 2017, we remain committed to our mission to promote constructive engagement with Asian partners to advocate for legal reform in Asia and the United States. This goal can only be accomplished with the support and active participation of our colleagues and friends around the globe. Please consider making a gift to the U.S.-Asia Law Institute.
With your continued support, we look forward to another successful year!
U.S.-Asia Law Institute
International Human Rights Day
Saturday, December 10, 2016
By Jerome A. Cohen
Reports about human rights advocates in China suffering in detention and abuse such as this one on Hada, an Inner Mongolian dissident and this one on rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang certainly inspire feelings of sadness and even hopelessness. Yet the odd thing is that many Chinese human rights lawyers and other advocates continue to enter the fray, even though now fully aware of the potential consequences. Efforts are gradually being made to learn what makes them tick. Infectious Western political ideology? Religion, Eastern or Western? The psychology of martyrdom?
Some even now maintain that the numbers of human rights activists are growing, a claim that is plainly difficult to verify. It all reminds me of the situation in South Korea in the ‘70s under General Park while China was still in Cultural Revolution. The late Kim Dae-jung seemed to be motivated by Jeffersonian democracy, indeed believed that the tree of liberty has to be periodically nourished by the blood of patriots, and was prepared to die for the cause, as he almost did on at least three occasions. He was also a devout Roman Catholic and strongly supported by his highly religious wife. South Korea, well over a decade later, experienced a stressful but largely peaceful revolution, and Dae-jung was liberated, vindicated and empowered.
Prospects for his Chinese heirs seem very gloomy at present. Yet, as we mark International Human Rights Day today, we should admire them, wish them well and hope that the UN Declaration on Human Rights, which was adopted with considerable pre-1949 Chinese input, will soon prevail in China too.
Crashing the Party: An American Reporter in China is Scott Savitt’s singular account as one of the first Americans in post-Mao China. Arriving in Beijing in 1983 as an exchange student from Duke University, Scott stepped into an environment rife with political unrest and had the rare opportunity to witness a nation on the brink of monumental change. Join us at China Institute on Tuesday, November 22, where Mr. Savitt will tell stories of his experiences living through and reporting on China’s historic transformation, including his founding of Beijing Scene, China’s first independent weekly newspaper; befriending and working with a legendary group of Chinese artists, writers, and musicians; interactions with Chinese and American politics; and his time in prison.
Discussion held with Scott Savitt, discussing his book "Crashing the Party". Moderated by Jerome A. Cohen
On November 10, Jerome Cohen, professor of law and co-director of the US-Asia Law Institute (USALI), convened a panel of international experts for the annual Timothy A. Gelatt Memorial Dialogue on the Rule of Law in East Asia. The topic was “Implications of the Philippine Arbitration Award,” focusing on the outcome of a recent dispute between the Phillipines and China over sovereignty in the South China Sea.
The area has emerged as a major flashpoint in international relations, not only for countries in the region, but also for its potential to spark a showdown between the US and China. Cohen has written on the outcome of the Philippine arbitration and spoken on the situation in the South China sea more generally. Please click this link to access Professor Cohen's Wall Street Journal article "The Wisdom of the Hague's South China Sea decision" or click this link to listen to Professor Cohen's talk "Working Towards Peace in the South China Sea."
The first panel, “The Path to a Just and Lasting Peace in the South China Sea,” was introduced by Paul Reichler, counsel for the Philippines at the law firm Foley Hoag. He spoke about details of the arbitration and its implications. The second panel focused on exclusive economic zones, which confer the right to marine resources around a landmass. The discussion was introduced by Professor Bernard Oxman, director of the Graduate Program in Maritime Law at the University of Miami.
The Gelatt Dialogue was established in 1994 by the US-Asia Law Institute in memory of the former NYU law professor and avid Asian law scholar.
Watch Video of the Panels
The Path to a Just and Lasting Peace in the South China Sea (2h, 26min)
When is an island entitled to an EEZ? (1h, 59min)
Published on December 6, 2016
The U.S.-Asia Law Institute congratulates the Taiwan Association for Innocence for their recent legislative accomplishment: the passage of a new law allowing post-conviction DNA testing. This is a victory for the innocence movement and will provide potential xonerees access to critical evidence to prove their innocence. We are grateful for TIFA’s continued partnership with us and we wish them continued success.