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The Chinese annual meeting of international law: a collision of academic ideas
Author:Guo Zhen  Date:2017-05-27  Clicks:

On May 6th and 7th, the Chinese annual meeting of international law was hosted by Wuhan University, gathering more than 480 internationalists and law school students from universities, research institutions and law firms. “Nowadays, the international society calls for both global changes and global governance systems. In this context, international law scholars in China are expected to contribute to international jurisprudence as well as the Chinese Dream”, said Li Shishi, president of the Chinese Society of International Law and former director of the Law Committee of the National People’s Congress. Li’s speech pointed out the theme of this meeting—the age of change and the development of international law: China’s contribution. During the two-day meeting, attendees exchanged ideas, experiences and discussed their new research.



On the morning of May 6th, the opening ceremony was held in the Yifu Building of the WHU College of Chinese Language and Literature. During the ceremony, Xu Hong, director-general of the Department of Treaty and Law of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Li Yongjie, deputy director of the Department of Treaty and Law of Ministry of Commerce gave highly anticipated speeches. “I really want to hear Director Xu and Director Li’s speeches, for they are going to share some really important and valuable ideas with us”, said Li Danhong, a postgraduate student majoring in international economic law, before the meeting started. Indeed, their speeches turned out to be as excellent as expected.


The opening ceremony

After reporting the general trends of international law, Director Xu started to talk about their work on foreign affairs and treaties. At the end of his lecture, he shared some important experiences on negotiations and issues in the field of international law, hoping to provide some valuable lessons for scholars.

Along with the issues relating to domestic laws and regulations, the Department of Treaty and Law of the Ministry of Commerce also took charge of international treaties and disputes relevant to commerce, such as negotiating new WTO rules and settling WTO disputes. After analyzing several WTO cases, Li concluded that China should utilize this mechanism to protect its profits. She also believed that the Chinese government and scholars should pay attention to these disputes which can influence China greatly. Besides WTO, some new trends in international investment agreements also deserve to be studied, such as balancing the protection of investors and the regulations in host countries, and reforming the investor-state dispute settlement process. China has turned from a simple capital-import country into both a capital-import and a capital-export one, so these new issues should be carefully considered.


Director Li Yongjie giving her speech

After the opening ceremony, 16 seminars were held in Hongshan Hotel, where heated discussions on international trade laws and tax laws were carried out. In this seminar, experts reported and discussed their new studies. Zheng Lingli, an associate professor of Nanjing Normal University, reported her study on whether carbon trading should be considered a trade of goods or of services. According to the international law, developed countries have the obligation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. If they have more emissions than permitted, they should purchase emission reductions from other countries. Professor Zheng discussed whether this kind of trade was classified as a trade in goods or in services under regulations of the WTO. She concluded that carbon trading belonged to both kinds, and we should not stick to the demarcation between these two categories. However, Professor Han Long from Zhongnan University of Economics and Law thought this conclusion would create a third type of trade, which was not so proper under the context of WTO where only two types exist.

This annual meeting provided great opportunities for scholars of international law to discuss issues relevant to the common interest of people. Since not all of the guests present had the chance to demonstrate their ideas or ask questions due to the limited time, the discussion carried on even though the meeting was over. The attendees gained a lot from it. “The speeches and comments were so wonderful. I learned a lot”, said Zhuo Li, a postgraduate student.

The closing ceremony and award ceremony were held on May 7th. To encourage the burgeoning force in the field of international law, the Chinese Society of International Law selected excellent articles written by students and awarded these pioneers the International Law Emerging Researcher Awards. This year, 36 students were awarded. “Four of my students were awarded the Emerging Researcher Awards, and I feel so proud and honored too”, said a professor.


Edited by Li Minjia, Wu Siying, Edmund Wai Man Lai & Hu Sijia


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