“I want to talk about this.” Our director pulled out a scroll and we were greeted by the smiling face of Mahatma Gandhi. He quickly informed the other interns and I that Zhicheng was selected to hold two side events at the United Nations and he needed our help to research his topics. “I want to talk about non-violence. So, I need you to research all forms of violence.” To be honest, at first the request seemed daunting. However, we split the work and completed the task. We soon realized our director did not mean non-violence as a form of protest, but rather as a progressive reality. He wanted to know about violence prevention and the UN’s role in encouraging it. He wanted to promote the ideology of a violence-free world.
It is interesting to leave law school where criminal law, torts, and even contracts reveals just how ghastly human nature can be, just to hear someone in your first week promoting what seems to be a fantasy. However, the more I thought about it, the more I understood. It requires this form of progressive and forward thinking for us to challenge issues and unfairness in our society. Law school teaches you the rules and how to follow them, but an attorney uses creativity and vision to transform those rules and bring them to life. Being an attorney is not robotically citing case law and statutes but rather being innovative in your approach to current laws and your arguments to push new ones. Attorneys must look at minute details but also take a step back and see the grand picture of their case and how it will re-enforce legal norms or possibly push new ones.
Currently, I am juggling 3 to 4 assignments. The first is our ongoing assignment to prepare for the UN side events later this month. My second assignment is to research cyberbullying and compare how different countries have addressed the issue in their laws and resources. My final two assignments are comparative studies between U.S. and Chinese law on sexual offenses and elder law. I will be working directly with Zhicheng lawyers on the scope of these assignments.
In addition, Zhicheng holds a seminar every Friday regarding the different fields of law they cover. This week the topic was Labor Law. However, since we are currently handling a homicide case, a great deal of the conversation was consumed by debates over whether the defendant intended to kill the victim or just intended to harm him/her. Intentional homicide in China is punishable by at least 10 years imprisonment, life imprisonment, or for serious cases, death. Being able to sit in on the meeting and hear legal jargon in Chinese has really benefited my speaking and listening skills. Every meeting, I create a list of new vocab words to add to my study arsenal while I am here. Among those words my favorite is the 4-character idiom: 为了正义. For justice. As I have started to settle into my internship here, I hope my research and contributions (now and in the future) will also be for justice.
High of the Week: Traveling historic Beijing (See June 17th post)
Delta of the Week: I must drink more water. It’s been over 90 degrees here on average.