China’s “Open Judiciary” and “Belt and Road” Initiatives: Implications for Governance in China and Beyond

Thu, 02/23/2017 - 6:00pm
202 Jones Hall

Two major initiatives in China are gaining momentum inside and outside of the country.  Internally, China’s judiciary has been leading an “open judiciary” initiative, culminating in the establishment of the Guiding Cases System, in which judges are instructed to follow Guiding Cases (“GCs”), de facto binding cases, to achieve the goals of transparency, consistency, and impartiality.  To date, hundreds of court cases in China have referenced these GCs, as the civil law country that previously focused solely on statutes gradually develops its own version of a case-focused system.  Externally, the Chinese leadership has rolled out the “Belt and Road” initiative, flexing its muscles to increase China’s economic leverage in countries along the newly defined “Silk Road” and “Maritime Belt”.  To facilitate the expansion of Chinese investments, fundamental changes to the country’s foreign investment regime are taking place and representative court cases involving parties from “Belt and Road” countries are being released to showcase how these foreign parties’ interests are protected.  Seemingly attracted by the opportunities to strengthen their economic and other ties with China, approximately 50 countries have joined the “Belt and Road” initiative. 

What are the significant implications of these initiatives for governance in China and in countries along the “Belt and Road” routes?  Drawing on theoretical and empirical studies, Dr. Mei Gechlik, Founder and Director of the China Guiding Cases Project (“CGCP”), and Jennifer Ingram, Co-Managing Editor and Fellow of the CGCP, will discuss these issues at the World Bank on Monday, February 20, 2017.  Their insights, together with comments shared by discussant Dr. James V. Feinerman, the James M. Morita Professor of Asian Legal Studies at Georgetown University Law Center, promise to make this event informative and thought-provoking.    

Organized by Sadiki Wiltshire '17

Dr. Mei Gechlik
China Guiding Cases Project

Dr. Mei Gechlik is Founder and Director of the CGCP.  Formerly a tenured professor in Hong Kong, she founded the CGCP in February 2011 in response to the landmark decision of the Supreme People’s Court of China to release certain Chinese court judgments as de facto binding GCs. With support from an international team of nearly 200 members, as well as an advisory board of approximately 50 distinguished experts, including justices from the U.S. Supreme Court and the Supreme People’s Court, the CGCP has quickly become the premier source of translations and analyses of GCs ( Identified as an “expertise support group” by the United Nations Development Program, the CGCP has presented at various notable forums, including the World Bank, the Open Government Partnership Global Summit, and a U.S.-China Legal Exchange Conference led by the U.S. Department of Commerce and China’s Ministry of Commerce.  From 2001 to 2005, Dr. Gechlik worked for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, testifying before the U.S. Congress on various topics about China, and has advised the United Nations and the Chinese government on implementing rule of law programs.  Dr. Gechlik received her J.S.D. from Stanford Law School and her M.B.A. in Finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Jennifer Ingram
China Guiding Cases Project

Jennifer Ingram is a Co-Managing Editor and Fellow of the CGCP.  A graduate of Yale College, Ms. Ingram has lived and worked in Beijing, as an editor for state-run China Radio International.  She began working with the CGCP when it was founded, while a student at Stanford Law School.  She has worked closely with Dr. Gechlik on the management and development of the project, releasing groundbreaking products related to GCs and launching the “Belt and Road” series to deepen stakeholders’ understanding of this significant but not yet fully understood development.  As a committed but relatively young rule of law scholar, Ms. Ingram has gained experience in rule of law issues across diverse jurisdictions, ranging from South Africa and India to the Netherlands and Hungary.  She has reviewed large-scale investment projects from a corporate and legal perspective as well as their impact on communities.  Ms. Ingram has a longstanding interest in China’s global investment activities and related implications for governance, having followed Chinese investment in sub-Saharan Africa for over five years and focusing most recently on understanding issues surrounding Chinese-funded projects in Kenya.

James V. Feinerman
Georgetown University Law Center

Dr. James V. Feinerman is the James M. Morita Professor of Asian Legal Studies at Georgetown University Law Center, where he also serves as the Associate Dean for International and Transnational Law.  He is a specialist in Chinese and Asian law.  Since 1985, Dr. Feinerman has taught a course in Chinese law, among other courses, at Georgetown University Law Center.  During the spring term, 2006, he taught in Beijing at Tsinghua University Law School as Fulbright Distinguished Senior Lecturer in Law.  He has also taught as a visitor at both Harvard and Yale Law Schools.  From January 1, 2001 to June 30, 2005, Dr. Feinerman served as Associate Dean for International and Graduate Programs at Georgetown University Law Center.  From July 1, 1993 to June 30, 1995, he was the Director of the Committee on Scholarly Communication with China (CSCC) at the National Academy of Sciences, the national organization that sponsors official exchange programs between the United States and the People’s Republic of China.  In 1992-93, he received a Fellowship at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.  He has served as Editor-in-Chief of the American Bar Association’s China Law Reporter and the Chair of the Asian Law Forum of the Association for Asian Studies.  Dr. Feinerman earned his B.A. in Chinese Studies at Yale College, as well as a Ph.D. in East Asian Languages and Literature at Yale University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he specialized in East Asian Legal Studies.