Week 6 in Geneva
My project to summarize IBJ’s work in China finally has come to an end! And I sent the slides to a Chinese colleague for review. It has been a challenging work, as I have only participated in one Chinese project, and the rest of my knowledge about IBJ’s work in China is all from grant reports.
I am surprised about how much work IBJ has done it China. Its work has covered most China's metropolises and many rule areas. It has designed long-term projects for ethnic minorities, juvenile suspects, family of the accused, migrant workers... It has reached and worked with law schools, prosecuters, judges, lawyers, legal aid workers...
When it started paving its road in China in 2001, I was in middle school. I did not even have a firm understanding about what role law should and could play in a modern society. I remember that “rule of law” had been a hot topic for a few years in Chinese legal profession. I remember my mother and her legal colleagues talked about “rule of law” and “rule by law”-- two words in Chinese that have exactly the same pronunciation with a slight difference in spelling. Looking back, I feel maybe my curiosity about law started from the confusion I got from hearing their lengthy discussion. What are the differences between two highly similar concepts, and how come could they bring about such a difference to the legal profession? I remember the sparkles in their eyes and the excitement in their voice, as if something they had been waiting for for a long time finally came. My feeling got confirmed when I was doing this project for IBJ: in 1997, for the first time, the Communist Party of China proposed on its 15th National Congress that the Party “should improve the legal system and build a socialist country ruled by law.” This proposal loosed the topics that legal profession could discuss as well as the environment for legal professionals. From then on, more and more people began to speak for and work on implementing the concept of rule of law. Working on this project is thus also tracing the footprints of the implementation of modern legal concepts in China.