Second Week and Sanlitun| June 11, 2011
I've finished my second week of work and made a pretty good dent in my pro bono research project. This week, I met with the Director, Vice Director and my internship coordinator to discuss my preliminary findings. The Director wants to present a report on how other countries do pro bono to the Chinese Bar Association. In China, the Chinese Bar Association is mandatory and controls all local bar associations. We decided upon 8 main issues to focus on for the report and I've been working on answering these questions and creating a memo for him to use to write his report. So far, I've answered 3 of the 8 questions. It's been an interesting project. Also, the structure (or lack of structure) of New Zealand's pro bono movement has been a challenge. However, it makes sense considering New Zealand apparently does not have a huge poverty problem like the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Hong Kong.
At the center this week the other interns and I had lunch with the Director twice. During lunch we discussed where we were all from and the Director informed us more about the center and the work it does. We even discussed American politics together.
Also, in my office one of the women is pregnant. I asked her this week if it was a girl or a boy. She explained to me that in China doctors are not allowed to disclose the gender. She will have her baby in mid August but jokes that she'll try to have the baby sooner so I can meet it.
Finally, my internship coordinator, one of the lawyers, and the interns all went out to an 8 course meal and then to kareoke for 2 hours this week. It was a lot of fun. Eating was probably my favorite part. There is a dish where they carmelize sweet potatoes in brown sugar. I could live on it. It was so sweet, but hard to eat with chopsticks since the pieces all stick together. But it was worth the extra effort.
As for the weekend: on friday night I went with two other interns to Sanlitun. Sanlitun is the expat's hang out. They have all kinds of food from Europe and America and Mexico there, a ton of bars, stores, and supposedly a grocery store that sells cheese (there is no cheese in chinese food). Supposedly, there are 1 million foreigners living in Beijing. If this is true, most of them were in Sanlitun last night. It was sort of surreal to be there. But I did get a surprisingly authentic chicken enchilada there.
On Sunday, at the center one of the lawyers is putting on a presentation for law students about the center's work. I have agreed to help him. This involves me using a video camera. We spent a good part of friday practicing, as my camera skills are virtually nonexistant. But I'm pretty confidant I can hold it steady (given that it will be on a tripod). Then there will be a lunch and discussion. It should be really interesting and I'm very excited to learn more about Chinese law school.
That's all for now.