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EUPLANT logo sat above the Erasmus+ logo which states 'with the generous support of the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union

The European Commission's support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Bail and Jury: Procedural Changes in the Tailor-made National Security Law
6 December 2021

The Law of the People's Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (The National Security Law, NSL) has sweeping impacts on the Hong Kong legal system. Other than PRC-based national security offences that Hong Kong has not been familiar with, it has also created procedural changes of which two significant ones are regarding the right to bail and the trial by jury.

National Security Review of Foreign Investment in China: One Decade Later
5 November 2021

In March 2019, the long-awaited Foreign Investment Law (FIL) of China was promulgated, effective since January 2020.[i] Subsequently, a number of implementing rules have been adopted to substantiate the succinct provisions in the FIL which is intended to act as a guiding legislation in China's foreign investment regulatory regime.

Foreign Arbitration Institutions in China: the latest development
21 September 2021

Foreign arbitration institutions may, theoretically, be relevant for the Chinese arbitration market in two ways. First, they might conduct arbitrations in mainland China by establishing operating offices there. Second, without business offices in place, they may still be involved by administering cases seated in mainland China.

Competition Policy Fit for Digital Sovereignty
16 July 2021

The term digital sovereignty is increasingly popular, especially within the institutions of the European Union (‘EU’) and with its Member States. Despite lacking a clear, unambiguous definition, digital sovereignty can be seen, with reference to the way in which it is used by the EU institutions and interpreted by scholarship, as a concept centred around the ideas of control, autonomy and the ability to influence others, which spans across three dimensions: (1) at state level; (2) between states and non-state actors, in particular tech companies; and (3) at the level of the individual through self-determination in the digital age.

The Limits of EU Competition Policy - the case of Chinese State Owned Enterprises
24 June 2021

European Union’s (‘EU’) Competition Policy is a topic of constant interest. Keeping pace with societal changes and political objectives, competition policy is now seen as an important tool for the fight against climate change, shaping the digital revolution and mitigating the negative effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on various sectors and industries. 

Justice for all or justice for none?
14 April 2021

In February 2021, the UNCITRAL Working Group III concluded its fortieth session that focused on the Investor-State Dispute Settlement ('ISDS') Reform.

Human Rights, China and the UN: A UPR Mid-term Assessment
16 March 2021

In a world where the international legal order is on the defence,[1] the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of China’s human rights situation epitomises the challenges inherent to the work of the United Nations (UN) bodies responsible for the monitoring and protection of human rights. We must be clear about the flaws, before considering what the European Union (EU), its member states, and Europeans more widely might do to address them. It is in this spirit that the Jean Monnet Network on EU-China Legal and Judicial Cooperation (EUPLANT) convened a workshop to address China’s growing role and influence in the UN human rights system[2] as well as an assessment of recent developments in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region and in Hong Kong in relation to recommendations put forward during China’s third UPR conducted by the UN Human Rights Council.[3]

The Chinese civil code: between Western models to Chinese characteristics
25 February 2021

On 1 January 2021 People’s Republic of China first ever civil code entered into force. [1] This code, made by 1260 articles and divided in seven books, is long awaited achievement which is part of a broader political project that links the code to the theory of the “socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics”[2]. Within the framework of this theory and through this new piece of legislation China pursues to end the reform phase based only on massive legal transplants, in order to start a new phase that, instead, takes into account also the identity and the specificity of the development process of the country[3].

“Three Great Mountains” for the Chinese State-Owned Investments in the European Union
3 February 2021

In April of 1948, Chairman Mao Zedong in his speech to a conference of political cadres mentioned the "three great mountains" that need to be overcome by the revolutionary forces: imperialism, feudalism and crony capitalism.[i]

EU’s Digital Decade - Digital Sovereignty, Non-discrimination, and Democracy in the Digital Age
18 January 2021

The overarching purpose of this blog is to suggest potential ways of how the fundamental values dimension of the Digital Decade could be achieved.

Human Rights in Times of Crisis: EU-China Relations at a Glance
5 January 2021

Against the background of what has been described as a crisis of the rules-based international order (Ikenberry 2018), human rights and the rule of law do appear to be increasingly contested. This contestation does not originate only from what has been described as processes of ‘authoritarian advance’ (GGPI 2018) but also from within a number of liberal democracies.

How do Chinese investment treaties protect the state’s police powers from investors’ expropriation claims? A fourth generation of Chinese International Investment Treaties
15 December 2020

In this blog, we address the question of whether Chinese international investment agreements strike a fair balance between the rights of investors and the regulatory powers of the state hosting the investment. We investigate the arbitration experience and drafting of expropriation clauses under Chinese International Investment Agreements (IIA), to then ponder on how China, or contracting states to its BITs, try to prevent investors’ claims following regulations taken to protect public interest.

International Commercial Dispute Prevention and Settlement Organization (ICDPASO)
12 November 2020

The inauguration ceremony of the International Commercial Dispute Prevention and Settlement Organization (hereinafter referred to as “ICDPASO”) was held on 15 Oct 2020.

EU-China Relations after the SOTEU - Negotiating Partner, Economic Competitor, Systemic Rival
8 October 2020

In this blog, we analyse the future of the relations between the EU and China in light of the State of the Union Speech (SOTUE), with particular focus on three areas: human rights and global governance, Digital and Environmental Policy.

Copyrightability of Graffiti and Street Art in Mainland China
17 September 2020

Whilst more and more graffiti works have been created at the planned sites nowadays, many were painted in other areas, and carry on the traditional nature of ephemerality of graffiti. Like in anywhere else, graffiti artists in China are struggling to preserve their works and protect their copyright.

Strengthened Liability for User-upload Platforms: Is Filtering Obligation Reasonable?
3 September 2020

The past few years have seen heated debates on the Europe Union’s (‘EU’) copyright reform, first proposed in September 2016. In April 2019, the new Directive on copyright and related rights -- Copyright Digital Single Market Directive (hereinafter referred to as “CDSM Directive”) -- was adopted. It became effective on 6 June and must be implemented by every Member State, through the incorporation into national law, by 7 June 2021.

What’s in a name? The role of gastronationalism in the recent EU-China agreement on Geographical Indications
6 August 2020

Despite the gloomy outlook for international trade, the EU-China Agreement on Geographical Indications is expected to enter into effect by the end of 2020. On the surface, the agreement would appear to be a simple matter of economic gains for both parties. Yet, what the deal really represents is a success on Brussels’ part to export its GI policy abroad, driven by and driving increasing gastronationalism at home. It remains to be seen if and how China will take a leaf out of the EU’s book to reap the benefits of this agreement in a similar way.

COVID-19, Cixi’s Crystal Ball and the Non-Performance of Contracts in China
22 July 2020

Could the fortune-telling crystal ball, made for Cixi, the empress dowager of the Qing (now on display in the museum of Philadelphia) have foreseen the COVID-19 outbreak in China?

EU Rule of Law Crisis as a Soul-searching Process
7 July 2020

In this blogpost, we argue that the ongoing rule of law crises in a number of EU Member States has led the EU into a 'soul-searching' process defined by two major exercises: one of reflection and one of reinvention

A Milestone in China’s Civil Law System: the Passage of its First Civil Code
16 June 2020

The long-awaited legislative promulgation of the Civil Code of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) on 28 May 2020 is widely perceived as a historical milestone in the evolution of the country’s legal system.

EU-China relations in times of Pandemics: beyond the narrative battle, EU’s future normative challenge
2 June 2020

As the world is facing an unprecedented pandemic in contemporary politics, one may wonder what impact COVID-19 will have on European integration and the future of EU-China relations.

Interoperability as a Rule of Law Challenge
6 May 2020

The march towards the interoperability of databases in the European Union challenges a number of fundamental rights including non-discrimination, effective judicial protection, privacy and data protection, including the principle of purpose limitation. This contribution argues that these challenges can essentially be viewed as rule of law challenges.


EUPLANT Video: ’South China Sea: Towards the Establisment of a New International Legal Order for the Oceans with Chinese Characteristics’ by Marta Hermez
29 April 2020

This video illustrates how the People's Republic of China is engaging in lawfare with regards to the South China Sea

EUPLANT video: ‘Human Rights in China’ with Dr Stijn Declerck (Amnesty International).
17 April 2020

In this video, Dr Stijn Deklerck (Amnesty International Netherlands) gives an overview of China’s main human rights visions and narratives; discusses how China is (re)shaping international human rights norms and standards; and indicates how Amnesty International is engaging with current issues and developments.

European Union Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters: Law and Practice
15 April 2020

This blog post briefly presents European Union (EU) judicial cooperation in criminal matters with China, its historical development, current practice and possible improvements and, as a particularly relevant issue for the future, the impact of Brexit on judicial cooperation between the EU, the UK and China.

Here’s Looking at You, Kid: Using Facial Recognition in Video Games in China
3 April 2020

There are now more than 2.5 billion gamers across the world and, collectively, they spent an estimated $152.1 billion playing video games in 2019[1]. According to a recent report released by Chinese gaming database Gamma Data Corp[2], China is now the global leader in mobile gaming accounting for more than 30 percent of the world's overall mobile gaming market.

China’s Foreign Investment Law and Its Implementing Regulations: Promises and Pitfalls
10 March 2020

On the 15 March 2019, the National People’s Congress, China’s top legislative body, passed Foreign Investment Law (FIL), which came into effect on the 1st of January 2020.[1] Effective from the same day is the Implementing Regulations of the FIL (Implementing Regulations) promulgated on the 26th of December 2019 by the State Council.[2]

Towards European AI: Part III – The AI Single Market, goals, hopes and dreams
17 February 2020

A Single Market for Artificial Intelligence (AI), an “institutional structure” for Trustworthy AI, up-skilling and re-skilling the current workforce; these are just a few of the recommendations the High Level Expert Group on AI (AI-HLEG), assembled by the European Commission (the Commission), puts forward in the second deliverable it released - after the Ethics Guidelines discussed in Part II of this series – “Policy and Investment Recommendations For Trustworthy AI”(the Recommendations).

What action should the EU take to defend academic freedom in external relations?
31 January 2020

An excellent initiative in many ways, EUPLANT also provides scholars with a wonderful platform to discuss the terms of transnational academic engagement, especially between the EU and China. These terms, and the potential pitfalls of interaction between systems underpinned by different conceptions of research governance, have increasingly become an issue of concern in EU countries.

International Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, and Enforcement of Foreign Decisions: May the Italy-China 1991 Agreement Set a Good Example for the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment Negotiations between the EU and China?
21 January 2020

According to the European Commission (EC), economic ties between the EU and China – despite the concerns raised by the Belt and Road initiative – are getting more frequent and stronger. In this economic and political scenario, since 2013, the EC is conducting negotiations with China for a Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI), aiming “to remove market access barriers to investment and provide a high level of protection to investors and investments in EU and China markets[1].

Towards European AI: Part II – The ethics of AI as a global issue
7 January 2020

In 2019 numerous states, international organisations and tech giants have shown enthusiasm towards redefining their normative identity by putting together principle-based approaches to Artificial Intelligence (AI). From Google and Microsoft to China and Australia to the European Union (EU) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a number of important stakeholders have, over the course of the last year, sought to define their position in relation to AI by publishing lists of – usually non-binding – principles which they seek to observe when developing or deploying AI.

The European Union’s regulation screening foreign direct investment: What implications for Chinese investors?
20 December 2019

The enactment of the ‘Regulation (EU) 2019/452 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 March 2019 establishing a framework for the screening of foreign direct investments into the Union’ puts the EU to the list of economies that adopt a mechanism to review foreign direct investment (FDI) on grounds of national security or other relevant public interests.

Do some of the own characteristics of the chinese law of arbitration influence the choice of the seat?
29 November 2019

For international contracts arbitration is now in China the predominant mechanism of dispute resolution. It is, however, a fact that foreign firms prefer to take disputes involving a Chinese partner to an arbitral location outside Mainland China. There is no doubt that such a choice is valid according to Article 128 of the Law on Contracts of 1999, on condition that the dispute is “foreign-related”. Is there a specific reason explaining this preference for a foreign arbitral seat?

The concept of originality in the copyright issue of AI-generated works in China
21 November 2019

Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology has reached a point where the contents it generates are ostensibly analogous to expressions - a skill once dominated by humans. AI technology at the current level can already generate various types of contents that are analogous to different kinds of human expressions, such as literary, musical or pictorial/graphical works. For example, ‘The Next Rembrandt’, a 3D printed painting is generated by AI technology made solely from Rembrandt’s works.

This project raises a critical question: can AI-generated contents be considered as works?

The EU, China and the free flow of data – how domestic concerns might prevent agreement at the multilateral level
15 November 2019

Electronic commerce is currently a hot topic in international trade. WTO Members are increasingly becoming aware of the need to regulate the Internet, the vast amounts of services that are being supplied over the Internet and the data flows that are necessary for the provision of such digital services. One of the main barriers to the cross-border flow of data are so-called data localization requirements (DLRs).

EU-China legal and judicial cooperation in the era of Sino-Marxism and Xi Jinping thought
29 October 2019

As Dr Matthieu Burnay convincingly emphasized at the last EUPLANT Roundtable in Brussels, Chinese and Europeans often talk about the same concepts, but mean a different content. I would like to add that not only the (concrete or abstract) concepts differ between the legal orders. Diversity can also be found on the meta-level, as the methods of applying those concepts to the law and of comparing them significantly vary between China and the EU (and its Member states). This blog post will show how both the concepts and the methods of inner-state and comparative law in China are shaped by Sino-Marxism and Xi Jinping Thought – and what consequences their emphasis on practice, actuality, and politics yield for EU-China Legal and Judicial Cooperation.

Traité d’Extradition entre la Belgique et la Chine
23 October 2019

C’est lors de la visite officielle organisée à Pékin en octobre 2016 à l’occasion du 45ème anniversaire des relations diplomatiques bilatérales que la Belgique et la Chine ont signé un Traité sur l’extradition. Le Traité facilite et légalise les extraditions afin de ‘promouvoir une coopération efficace entre les deux parties dans la lutte contre la criminalité’. Le projet de loi portant assentiment au Traité a ensuite suivi la procédure législative classique, sans remous notables, pour être finalement adopté (76 votes en faveur pour 61 abstentions) par la Chambre des représentants en novembre 2018. Le Traité ne prendra néanmoins tous ses effets qu’après la sanction et la promulgation du texte législatif par le Roi, et sa publication au Moniteur belge. La Belgique s’apprête ainsi à rejoindre d’autres Etats membres de l’Union européenne qui ont adopté des traités similaires avec la Chine, à savoir la Bulgarie, la Roumanie, la Lituanie, l’Espagne, le Portugal, la France, et l’Italie.

Towards European AI: Part I - Setting the context
18 October 2019

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is often described as the fourth industrial revolution and compared in terms of its capacity to change the world with the steam engine and electricity – a comparison which the European Commission itself has endorsed in its communication “Artificial Intelligence for Europe”. Other than changing the world as we know it, AI is poised to create between $3.5T and $5.8T in value annually, according to a discussion paper put together by McKinsey.

EU-China bilateral investment treaty in the era of sustainable development
14 October 2019

Between July 15th and 19th 2019, the 22nd round of negotiations on the EU-China bilateral investment treaty (EU-China BIT) was held in Brussels. This was the latest development in the negotiations. The EU-China BIT negotiations as a crucial part of EU-China relations have lasted nearly six years since 2013. During the process of negotiation, sustainable development has become a priority for both parties.

Uncertainties of investment court system and China's corresponding strategies
6 September 2019

The EU has in recent years carried out reforms on the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), which includes, inter alia, the establishment of the Investment Court System (ICS). This new system was initially proposed in the European draft in TTIP Negotiation (The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, TTIP).

The transplantation of Western legal norms into Chinese contract law: The fundamentality of values
6 September 2019

Many of the provisions of the Chinese Contract Law 1999 were inspired, if not modelled, on Western law. In Chinese contract law, one finds many doctrines familiar to the Western jurists. These include: force majeure and change of circumstances, the doctrine of good faith, and the nachfrist doctrine.

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