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Progress or Retreat?: The Outlook for Rule of Law in a Changing China

Panel Discussion: Center for Chinese Studies: Institute of East Asian Studies | October 31 | 4 p.m. |  Institute of East Asian Studies (2223 Fulton, 6th Floor)

Keith Hand, Associate Professor of Law, UC Hastings College of the Law; Hyeon-Ju Rho, Former Director, American Bar Association's Rule of Law Initiative China Program; Alex Wang, Visiting Assistant Professor of Law, UC Berkeley School of Law

Institute of East Asian Studies (IEAS), Center for Law, Energy & the Environment (CLEE) at Berkeley Law, Center for Chinese Studies (CCS)

Earlier this year, China's chief legislator announced that China now has a complete system of laws covering all areas of social relations. The system, he said, is "scientific, harmonious and consistent." In contrast, one of China's leading legal scholars announced last year that "China's rule of law is in full retreat." Which is the case? What is the outlook for Chinese rule of law in the coming years? Three speakers, each with significant on-the-ground experience working on legal development in China, will address these questions from a number of perspectives, including resolution of constitutional disputes, the changing role of lawyers, environmental protection, and citizen protest.

• Professor Keith Hand (UC Hastings) will discuss recent setbacks for formal constitutional adjudication and patterns of informal bargaining, consultation and mediation in the resolution of constitutional disputes in China.

• Hyeon-Ju Rho, former director of the American Bar Association's Rule of Law Initiative China Program, will discuss recent developments in public interest lawyering in China, and the evolving role of lawyers in Chinese society.

• Professor Alex Wang (UC Berkeley) will discuss the uncertain role of law in China's efforts to address severe environmental problems, and promising bottom-up efforts at legal innovation on the part of citizens and local courts., 510-642-2809