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7.26.2017

A Question from Donald Clarke

In this post, I answer a question I received from  Donald Clarke (George Washington University) on a translation of a Chinese article I published on the website of FLIA and the CPE research project on Social Credit in China. 

For the convenience of my two readers, I am posting Professor Clarke's question below.

Flora, you haven’t included a link to the paper that explains your view that official policy interpretations should prevail over any others. Not sure what you mean by “prevail.” If you mean, “should be considered more truthful as an account of the real reasons behind a policy,” I don’t see why we should automatically believe everything a government says. For example, Trump just announced a policy of barring transgender people from the military. His official explanation: it hurts military readiness. But an administration official revealed a more plausible reason: it will force the Democrats to oppose the policy in the next election, thus helping him with cultural conservatives. Why should we always believe the official explanation, no matter how dubious? We know that governments lie all the time.



Dear Don,

there is really no need to bother reading that 20-pages article, here's an explanation of what I meant in the introductory note to my translation

What do I mean when I use the word ‘prevail’? 



I may have used that word inappropriately, perhaps. Coming from a lower working class family, and from one of the poorest regions of Italy, I had to work my way through college by working as a seller of fireworks, librarian, bartender, shelf stacker, and secretary. I never had as much time to devote to study as some of my classmates did. So I chose to focus my energies on Chinese and China Studies, and to skip my English classes. As a result, my English is entirely self-taught, and because of this reason I might not be fully aware of the full universe of meanings the verb ‘prevail’ has.


I will try to explain what I mean by an example. But, I will have to talk about Cuba.

I know of many Italian academics, intellectuals,  and professionals, who somehow ended up believing the Chinese government always lies, so they never took Chinese policy and/or legal documents at face value. I have seen them miss innumerable opportunities for intellectual, personal, and professional growth, and there are so many stories I could tell but...hey! The Damoclean sword of a potential defamation lawsuit hangs on my head…so let’s talk about Cuba instead. 

The Cuban government recently enacted a “Conceptualization of the Cuban socio-economic socialist development model” (Conceptualización del modelo económico y social Cubano de desarrollo socialista), [see here]. This document states the Cuban government’s intention to gradually move towards a form of market economy.



Based on the content of this document, and on commonsense (please see the picture above) I think that, when it states it intention to allow for a greater role of a form of market economy, the Cuban government makes a plausible statement. Therefore, if a Cuban commentator publishes an article on the official organ of the PCC, in which he says the Cuban government wants to promote economic growth, the words of that individual commentator are plausible too.

The “Conceptualization” means what the Cuban government says it means. Likewise, an individual commentator’s words mean what the commentator says they mean.

I might have my own individual opinion about the respective effectiveness of various mechanisms of economic coordination. However, I believe that my individual opinion should not color the way in which I explain the significance of those documents to my students and to my readers.

I hope this answers your question.

7.24.2017

A Short Response to a Reader

Liu Shaoqi
This post provides a short and simple response to a question I received about my short essay "民法的一般原则、党组以及“一带一路”  (available here for those who may like to read it in Chinese, and here for those who may like to read it in English). The question was received on the "法律与国际事务学会" Wechat group, following the circulation of this short essay on Chinese-language internet groups and websites. 


I am publishing my short and simple reply here because the question may be of interest to persons other than the reader who asked it (and whom shall remain anonymous). Also, my essay was written for the sole purpose of academic research and communication therefore, there is no reason why I should provide my answer within the 'four walls' of a social media group.

Question: In your commentary, you wrote “in 1957, Liu Shaoqi suggested to use the words ‘militant bastions’ in article 19 of the Constitution of the CPC to refer to the function of primary organizations, rather than to their identity or legal nature” 

Do you have a source to explain why it is Liu Shaoqi that made the suggestion? Thanks for your time.


Answer: Thanks for your question! Unfortunately, I must admit that no, I don't have an answer to the question of whether I have a source to explain why Liu Shaoqi chose those specific words in order to describe the function of primary organizations of the Communist Party of China in 1957. 

Or, I should rather say, my answer to the question is in the negative: I do not have a source explaining why Liu Shaoqi decided to make that suggestion.

In my essay, I explained how Liu Shaoqi used an allegorical language to describe the function of primary organizations.  I also explained the reason why those words should not be interpreted in their literal sense. According to the article I cited, it is a proven fact that the suggestion to use the words 'militant bastions' was made by Liu Shaoqi. 

The question of why Liu Shaoqi chose those specific words rather than any other words, or why Liu Shaoqi, rather than any other official of the Communist Party of China made that suggestion is extremely interesting. But, finding an answer to this question can take some time. 

I don't have the relevant primary sources handy but, a possible way to answer this question may involve:

1. Compiling a list of the names of all the high ranking officials who, in 1957, gave their input to the amendment of the Constitution of the CPC.
2. Locate the biographies, public speeches, and perhaps most importantly the 年谱 (for English speakers: their diaries), private letters, as well as other archival materials if accessible, for each one of these historical figures.
3. Acquire, if available in bookstores, libraries, or archives, the memoirs of their relatives, their secretaries and, generally speaking, persons who were close to them. 
4. Reading these materials character after character,  with the goal to find out any information that may relate to the point of why Liu Shaoqi chose the words 'militant bastions'.

This is not the only possible way to answer the question. There are other ways - the only limit being the competence, acumen and creativity of individual scholars. 

I might offer my hypothesis, but an hypothesis is not a factHere's what I personally thought as I was writing the commentary. 

As many of those who, in the first half of the 20th Century, were concerned about the future of China, Liu Shaoqi chose to take the road of revolution. He joined the Long March and - among others - in the early 1940s, he was a political commissar of the New Fourth Army. Even though his work took place in 'white areas' he had a direct experience of life in the army. 

Perhaps, he chose the words 'militant bastions' to remind future generations of the contribution of those who lost their lives in the 1930s and 1940s, to allow us all to live in peace.




6.26.2017

Short Essay: 民法的一般原则、党组以及“一带一路”

The following short essay was produced as part of a series of commentaries on the General Provisions of Civil Law authored for the Chinese and Western public. It examines how the General Provisions of Civil Law can contribute to the construction of a transnational rule of law framework for the Belt and Road Initiative. In the essay, I discuss the General Provisions of Civil Law in relation to the legal status of Party groups in SOEs, private enterprises, and social organizations (including NGOs and Foundations) operating in China and in Western countries. My most heartfelt thanks go to Luo Qiyue and Huang Linlin, for their outstanding translation of my essay. 



The Belt and Road Economies.
Public Domain Image


民法的一般原则、党组以及“一带一路”
作者:Flora Sapio1


自党的十八大以来,国家采取了数个措施来增强党在国有企业、私有企业和社会组织中的权威。2013年《中央党内法规制定工作五年规划纲要(2013—2017年)》第二条要求规范和完善党组工作制度,并且制定有关党组工作的党内法规。2014年党的十八届三中全会亦提出要加强建设以提供服务,学习及创新为导向的党组。

为了应对经济发展所提出的一系列全新需求,强化党组是必不可少的。这些新的需求包括加强对公司的内部审计、监督公司高层以及员工行为的合法性、寻找多种途径解决劳动纠纷以及更好地向公众提供公共服务等。

为了使得党组在上述及其他领域发挥根本性作用,党的十八届中央委员会创建了一个法律框架来规范党组构成及其活动。该框架包括以下文件:《关于深化国有企业改革指导意见》、 《关于深化国有企业改革中坚持党的领导加强党的建设的若干意见》、以及其他的有关营利性与非营利性经济实体的规定。总之,该法律框架代表了对早期监管努力的重大改进。

对现有监管框架的改进与完善,是加强党组在治理营利性及非营利性的国内外组织中的作用的重要手段。然而,为更好的发挥其作用,党组需要通过充足的外部权力资源来平衡其内部权力。

如何平衡党内外权力是学术界一直以来争论的焦点,加之党在国有及私有企业中的地位一直不明朗。党组的身份不明是指其法律属性不明,而并非其事实属性。同时,党组性质的不明确也来源于党内立法与1987年《民法通则》规定的不一致。2017年版《民法总则》与近期关于党组立法的改革,都为党组在党内外的权力提供了更加坚实的基础。

党组在党内立法中的本质

党组的内部权力主要基于《中国共产党章程》以及相关的党内立法。《中国共产党章程》第二十九条规定了党基层组织的成立方式:“企业、农村、机关、学校、科研院所、街道社区、社会组织、人民解放军连队和其他基层单位,凡是有正式党员三人以上的,都应当成立党的基层组织”。另外,第四十六条也授权党组可以成立于“中央和地方国家机关、人民团体、经济组织、文化组织和其他非党组织的领导机关中”。这种制度安排自党成立以来就存在。所有版本的党章都包含成立党的基层组织或党组的条款,并且授予他们凌驾于国有企业、私有企业、非营利性组织及个人之上的权力

即使各党组权力的法律依据来源于党中央这一点毋庸置疑但对他们性质(或身份)的质疑却依旧存在。这些质疑与党及其组织机构的法律权力或者说合法性无关,而关键在于如何对党组进行法律定义。

绝大多数版本的党章都含有对党的基层组织进行定义的条款。1992年版的党章第四条规定,建立于党外的党组织是“党员训练以及活动的基本单位”。1927年党章第五十三条形容党组为“党与群众直接相联系的组织”,随后党章的修正案删除了这个定义。在1928年至1982年的54年中,党的基层组织的法律性质仍不明确。直到1982年情况才发生改变,1982版党章第三十二条将党的基层组织描述为“党在社会基层组织中的战斗堡垒”。党的基层组织与战斗堡垒之间的类比,是陈云在1939年发表于解放日报的一篇文章中提出的。1977年,刘少奇建议在党章第十九条中使用“战斗堡垒”来形容党的基层组织的作用,而非它们的身份或法律性质,并且这种作用是以一种比喻的手法表达的。“战斗堡垒”并不是字面上所表达的由于防御需要而建立起的防御工事,在党的语言中它是指坚决维护特定政治、组织以及道德原则的机构。

从中国共产党成立以来到党的十八大,党组一词有三种定义方式:

1)仅从字面含义表述其政治功能;
2)公式化的表述,使党组的权力延伸至民事关系领域;
3)基于第11次和第12次党代会召开时的历史背景而采用诗意化及比喻的语言,可能含有额外的目的,即为纪念刘少奇对党的建设做出的贡献;
以上每一项的表述都是服务于其产生时的某一特定目的。但是自从20世纪80年代末以来,党及其基层组织就卷入到党内立法与民事立法的边界的问题中来,这一问题的产生出自于“定义接口”的缺失。该“定义接口”能促进这两种法律体系之间,以及党内立法、民事立法、跨国法的监管网络之间的沟通更加顺畅。
2015年《中国共产党党组工作条例》创建了“定义接口”,第二条将党组定义为机构:“党组是党在中央和地方国家机关、人民团体、经济组织、文化组织、社会组织和其他组织领导机关中设立的领导机构,在本单位发挥领导核心作用”。颁布关于党组工作的党内规定是加强党的内部权力的重要一步,并使中国法律体系各个部门之间以及与跨国法律体系之间能更好的交流与对话。在用法律语言创造的世界里,机构是能够并且确实存在于多个法律体系、子体系及监管框架之中的实体

党组在国家立法中的本质

为了充分发挥其效力,党组的内部权力以及表达该权力的定义必须同其外部权力的来源相一致。研究中国法的西方学者还未对党的外部权力进行过系统的研究。最先提出此问题的是Robert Heuser教授2,他在1987年指出:“虽然具有高度争议,但依据中国法律,中国共产党及其相关机构的本质可以被视为法人。然而,它们并不需要在政府部门进行登记注册。” Robert Heuser教授引用《民事诉讼法》来解释党及其组织的诉讼权利能力,根据第48条,事业单位、权力机关及组织机构能够成为民事诉讼的当事人,由其主要负责人来作为法定代表人。

西方学者无法对党的组织机构在民事立法中做出明确的定义,是因为定义分类本身自带的局限性,特别是法律上的分类。党的组织机构存在于这些分类之中,并且集中于多元治理,具有政治、教育和组织等各种职能。1987年《民法通则》对法人的分类没能完全体现出党的组织机构的多重职能。

1987年《民法通则》将法人分为四类,即企业、机关、事业单位和社会团体法人。这些分类仿照了其它国家的法律体系中的分类,但在这些国家中并不存在类似于中国共产党党组的机构,并且在他们的司法体系中,对政党的监管水平也迥然不同。在欧洲,对政党进行登记并非法定要求,在某些情况下政党并不需要为了实现其在国内立法中的合法地位而专门进行登记,或者依据针对其他种类的法人的要求而建立。更为重要的是,不同于中国,存在于其他司法管辖权下的政党并不需要寻求内外权力的平衡。

事后看来,1987年《民法通则》及其修正案并没有对所有的机构进行充分解释,从而符合经济和社会体系多样性的要求。1987年《民法通则》的分类是基于对各组织可以根据其职能不同进行区分的假设的基础之上。因此,创建以及运用此种分类的人并没有意识到某种组织的存在,即该组织是政治、政府、行政、监督、执行、意识形态、教育和社会功能的综合体。同时亦没有对横跨法律、行政、政治等领域的组织,或者在一国国境内外活动的组织进行概念化。

2017年《民法总则》引入了完全不同的逻辑,具有更大的灵活性和实用性,并且符合现实,将法人分为营利性法人、非营利性法人、特别法人和非法人组织。该种划分标准不再单纯地依据法人的存在是否为了履行特定职能,例如通过对终端用户提供收费服务而盈利,或提供由公共或私人实体赞助的公共服务。构建此分类的标准全面考虑了所有能够对“五年规划”的完成以及“一带一路”的建设做出有意义贡献的法人实体。为了实现这些或其他重要的目标,必须确保民事主体的自治权,并且使得它们的创造力与创新力充分表现出来。

并且,这一新的分类标准为党的外部权力提供了更加坚实的基础。《民法总则》最大的创新点是“特别法人”,根据第96条,特别法人包括不同的法人实体:“本节规定的机关法人、农村集体经济组织法人、城镇农村的合作经济组织法人、基层群众性自治组织法人,为特别法人”。某些实体的工作十分具体,并且与乡镇基层经济组织联系紧密。其他实体的责任更加广泛,涉及到了基层政府管理。群众组织的基层管理本身就是很复杂的问题,不仅仅涉及到传统组织例如居委会,而且涉及到执行公共管理职能的所有组织。

事实上,根据李适时3发表在中国人大网的官方评论,特别法人是依据宪法和相关法律建立,执行公共管理职能的机构。公共管理的范围包括所有与实施政府政策以及党的原则、政策、方针有关的决定和过程。其范围从广义上说,还包括国有企业、私有企业、社会组织和教育机构内的党组。

1987年《民法通则》通过之时,基层经济合作与治理主要涉及中国的实体,并且它们的活动范围仅限于特定的村、县或省。然而今天,此种情况已经改变。全国政协社会和法制委员会驻会副主任吕忠梅: “在我国,政府机关、村委会、居委会对外签合同的情况很多,如果不赋予它们法人地位,对它们参与民事活动是十分不利的,对交易秩序和安全也带来很大不确定性”虽然党组并没有对外签订合同,但其承担着监督所有国内法律实体契约性行为的责任。当下,中国的法律实体在海内外(超越一带一路的地理范围)运作,与国内外各种公共、私人、及非营利性组织签订合约。在更加广阔的跨国治理与法律的范围内,党组变得越来越活跃。他们扮演着政治领导、监督、民事、行政等关系的当事人以及具有公共管理职能的实体的多重角色。

跨国法是一种多元化的法律规则,由多种国家和非国家性质的公共或私人规则构成,在这个复杂的监管体制下,政党及其机构占有特别的地位。“特别法人”概念的创设能够使政治/法律体系内的根本性法规具有一致性,并且尊重这些体系的各自特性,从而进一步巩固在国有企业和私营企业中建立的党组的外部权力,这对于构建一带一路下的全球法治体系具有极大的积极意义。

伴随着这些机遇,2017年《民法总则》也同样面临着许多困境,例如,属于“特别法人”类别下的一些实体并非行政法的主体。第96条明确说明了党组性质和任务的复杂性,然而在第102条和103条中也分别指出了进一步推动不同法律体系间的合作的可能性以及巩固党组的领导地位和组织职能。《民法总则》还没有正式生效,一些专门术语的解释以及如何具体地操作某些条款的相关规定亦待发布。

在中国国内的法律体系下,党组的内外权力已经形成了强有力的联系。然而,“一带一路”的顺利推行以及全球交流的秩序与安全,亟需扩大党组的外部权力,使其延伸至国境外。虽然第九十六条在此方面有所帮助,但亦需要新的机制进一步加强党组内部权力、外部权力以及全球权力之间的联系。

1 Flora Sapio: 澳洲国立大学中华全球研究中心副教授。
2 Professor Robert Heuser:何意志教授,德国科隆大学现代中国研究所中国法律文化教授。主要著作有:《法治的东方经验—中国法律文化导论》(1999年)、《中国环境保护法》(2001年)、《社会主义法治国家与中国行政法》(2003年)、《入WTO后中国外商投资法》(2004年)、《中国经济法概要》(2006年)等。
3 李适时:曾任第十二届全国人民代表大会法律委员会副主任委员,全国人大常委会法制工作委员会主任。19537月生,湖南湘乡人,外交学院外交业务系国际公法专业、中国人民大学法学院民商法学专业毕业


 
© Flora Sapio 2017

6.06.2017

The General Provisions of Civil Law, Party Groups and the Belt and Road Initiative

It is my pleasure to announce the forthcoming publication, in Chinese, of a short essay on

"The General Provisions of Civil Law, Party Groups, and the Belt and Road Initiative". 

The Belt and Road Economies.
Public Domain Image


The essay, which is part of a series of commentaries on the General Provisions of Civil Law authored for the Chinese and Western public, examines the ways in which the General Provisions of Civil Law can contribute to the construction of a transnational rule of law framework for the Belt and Road Initiative. I discuss how the General Provisions of Civil Law bolster the legal status of Party groups in SOEs, private enterprises, and social organizations (including NGOs and Foundations) operating both in China and in Western countries.

A Chinese version of the essay - which was originally written in my native language (Italian) - will soon be published on this blog. 


6.05.2017

CPC Regulations on Inspection Tour Work Amended

On May 26, the Xinhua News Agency reported that a meeting of the Politburo of the CPC was held, during which amendments to the CPC Regulations on Inspection Tour Work were examined and approved, alongside a report on the status of inspection work.

The Regulations on Inspection Tour Work were issued in 2009, and amended a first time in February 2015. A full-text Chinese version of the Regulations is available here. A full-text English version of the Regulations is available here. A description of the inspection tour process is available here.

5.28.2017

Internship Opportunities at the Foundation for Law and International Affairs

I am delighted to share a call for internship issued by the Foundation for Law and International Affairs, an organization I am a proud member of.



FLIA Internship Opportunity


We are looking for interns from all over the world.


Who we are and what we do

FLIA is an independent nonprofit organization established in Washington, DC in 2015. As an educational and consultative think tank, FLIA is devoted to promoting global communication, cooperation, and education in the field of law and international affairs. The areas on which FLIA focuses include comparative law and culture, international crime and judicial assistance, courts and tribunals, social responsibility and sustainable development, global economics and world trade, international relations and multilateral diplomacy, global security and governance, and human rights. FLIA conducts various programs such as FLIA Conference, FLIA Dialogue, FLIA Insight, FLIA Youth, FLIA Publication, and FLIA Blog. 

Why be a FLIA intern

If you are seeking to start a professional path in the area of law and international affairs, obtain more practical knowledge and experience, and tap into your potential by working on recently launched programs, an internship with FLIA could be the right fit for you. 
What you can gain from FLIA is the opportunity to work with passionate young colleagues and world-class professionals from all over the globe, find inspiration from our culture to become experts and mentors, and make connections that you cannot make anywhere else. FLIA offers certain training sections to develop your knowledge and skills. There will be potential opportunities for official positions in FLIA and recommendations for graduate programs, internships, research assistantships, and other job opportunities. FLIA internships are part-time, voluntary positions. 

Who we are looking for

We are looking for young professionals, post-doctoral fellows, and graduate students who are studying or working at the intersection of law and international affairs. Candidates with multilingual skills are preferred.

What you can work on

· Research Program on Establishing a Social Credit System in China
The Chinese government is currently striving to establish a social credit system nationwide to ensure sound and healthy social and economic development. The construction of a social credit system in China is an important method aimed at perfecting the socialist market economy system and innovating social governance. The 12th Five-Year Planning Outline of the Economic and Social Development put forward the overall requirement of “accelerating the construction of a social credit system.” One main principle for social credit system construction is to progressively establish and complete credit law and regulation systems. A research assistant will conduct background research related to the program and do written translation if needed.


· Research Program on the Belt and Road Initiative
The Belt and Road Initiative was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 to chart out new territories for international cooperation. China invites other countries and regions to jointly build the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. The Initiative is essentially a new open platform on which countries in Eurasia and beyond can strength economic and cultural cooperation to achieve common prosperity. This program intends to issue public opinion reports on the Belt and Road Initiative. In addition to written translation, a research assistant will collect news, academic articles, and other materials that might be useful to scholars and practitioners interested in the Initiative.


· Research Program on Refugee Policy in China
China has acceded to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol. Despite its accession to the treaties, however, China’s domestic law on refugees and asylum is still under development. At the same time, the number of refugees and asylum seekers coming to China has gradually increased in the past two decades. As of March 2014, there were 301,448 refugees and asylum seekers registered in China with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). As China’s economic strength and political influence continue to grow, it is inevitable that more and more refugees and asylum seekers would be attracted to China. Thus, balancing its legal obligation under the treaties and the state’s own security interests will become a major challenge for China. This program seeks to provide policy recommendations on a wide range of issues relating to the regulation of refugees and asylum seekers in China.

Duration and Location 

The internship program starts on June 9, 2017, with a minimum commitment of three months. The average time commitment will be 20 hours per week.


Contact Us


If you can contribute your time, knowledge, leadership, and thoughtfulness to the above-mentioned projects and are interested in exploring this opportunity, please email your cover letter and résumé to contact@flia.org by June 5th. Bolster your resume by working with scholars and practitioners from all over the world!





The Foundation for Law and International Affairs (FLIA) is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization mandated to promote academic and public discourse at the intersection of law and international affairs. The core vision of FLIA is to promote international cooperation and public dialogue through the development of new ideas and collaboration with various academic, governmental and civil actors. . . . Our mission is to facilitate international scholarly activities, conduct high quality, independent research and policy analysis, engage in public education and awareness-building programs, as well as amplify the voice of the rising generation.