Quick intro: I’m Laura Bain. I majored in Chinese at the University of Michigan and came to William and Mary Law School to study international law. In February, Professor Warren interviewed me for an international internship with the ABA’s China Rule of Law Program. Sadly, they did not need an intern for this year, but the director passed my resume on to Zhicheng Public Interest Law, a Beijing nonprofit. They contacted me literally the next week and made an offer. I cannot express how thrilled I was. At Professor Warren’s request, I will be blogging this summer about my experiences interning for Zhicheng Public Interest Group and exploring Beijing. This will be my second time to Beijing. I studied abroad there during the Summer Olympics in 2008. That experience sparked my interest in international law, so it only makes sense that my first legal internship should be there.
About the organization: Zhicheng Public Interest Law is one of the few Chinese legal NGOs to have a strong working relationship with the Beijing government. This organization runs the Beijing Children’s Legal Aid and Research Center (BCLARC) and the Beijing Zhicheng Migrant Workers’ Legal Aid and Research Center (BZMW). The Beijing Children’s Legal Aid and Research Center (BCLARC) was founded as the first Chinese NGO specializing in children’s rights. The center’s goal is to promote child welfare in China by encouraging lawyer participation in child protection, setting up a professional network in the field, and enhancing research and legislation concerning child protection law. The other center, Beijing Zhicheng Migrant Workers’ Legal Aid and Research Center (BZMW) is dedicated to protecting migrant workers’ rights, encouraging more lawyers to engage in public welfare work, constructing cooperation networks to safeguard migrant workers’ rights throughout the country, and improving labor laws and policies. To achieve these goals, BZMW provides direct legal services to migrant workers, conducts research, engages in legal reform advocacy, and contracts with the government to provide legal aid services. In 2010, these two centers provided free legal consultations for 24,000 cases involving children and migrant workers’ rights. They also advocate for legal change from the government and raise community awareness of the problems facing children and migrant workers throughout China.
About the internship: During my internship, I will work to assist with legal research for both centers’ cases and projects on legal reform. I will also perform some English translations for international publications and for cooperative projects with International NGOs. Additionally, I hope to have the opportunity to help organize children’s rights and migrant workers’ rights awareness workshops in Beijing.