William and Mary Law School

Somewhere in the Middle

Sorry for the late update. It has been a strange week. To sum up, one of the interns, who was fluent in Chinese, left on friday. A new intern who speaks no Chinese arrived. On friday I went with my coworkers to an old famous tea house where we ate traditional Beijing food (roast duck and an amazing noodle dish that has no English tranlation) and watched classical performances. Next door, of course, was a McDonalds. On Saturday I went to an enormous bookstore and bought Wuthering Heights in Chinese. And on Sunday I went to one of the traditional Beijing houses (a hutong) where they showed the American Independent film Pi.

As for work, last week went really well. I finished my initial research on comparative pro bono. Sometime this week I will meet with the Director to discuss my results, determine if any more information is needed, and start preparing a presentation. Additionally, last week I was able to read some of the center's case files. I read the trial court and appeal decisions for a few children's cases. All in Chinese. One case was a personal injuries claim. In these cases the damage awards were moderate, generally only covering some medical and related expenses. I am really curious whether these lower damage awards are in any way connected with the absence of juries. I've spent a little time trying to find some research on the topic, but have not found anything yet.

Also, at the end of the week and continuing into this week, I have started helping two other interns on their project which is due this friday. They are researching rural property rights in different countries. The key issues are whether people in rural areas can own property, and if so need to apply for permission to build; how the government evaluates these applications; and if governments can take the land, and if so must they compensate. So far, I've found the answer to the last question as it pertains to Asian Pacific countries.

Lastly, last week Beijing had a flood. The water was all the way up to my waste. Walking home from work that day was an adventure. And on a related note, McDonalds still delivers in floods. It was pretty impressive.

I will update soon. Zai jian. 扎哟