China and International Law Symposium

Wednesday, April 6, 2011 - 8:45am - 4:30pm
Weymouth Kirkland Courtroom

View a slideshow of the event.

What will China’s “peaceful rise” mean for the international legal system? This is a crucial question for scholars of international law and international relations. China has become a major player within the current international architecture, contributing a distinct voice that emphasizes state sovereignty, mutual non-interference, and economic development. This is an essentially conservative position that hearkens back to mid-20th century concerns of state-building. At the same time, it seems to be likely that China’s continued rise will challenge the current architecture, as the scale of its engagement with the rest of the world will put new pressures on the existing structures. In addition, Chinese jurists are playing leading roles at international tribunals, contributing to the development of jurisprudence in myriad areas. This sense of engagement means that Chinese voices will continue to influence the trajectory of international legal developments.

Clearly the future relationship between China and International Law will be one of mutual interaction and engagement. Chinese behavior may adjust to comply with global norms, while China itself is likely to have an important impact on the development of those norms. This one-day symposium will trace these processes in a number of different areas, including the international security system, human rights, trade law, and others. A key output will be a conference report that summarizes the proceedings and projects the likely future for this important set of issues.

This symposium is sponsored by the Confucius Institute and the University of Chicago Law School. It is free and open to the public. No response is required but seating is limited. For special assistance or needs, please contact Rebecca Klaff at 773.834.4326 or

Symposium Schedule
8:45 a.m. Welcome

Tom Ginsburg, University of Chicago; Mr. Guoqiang Yang, Consul General

9:00 a.m. The Rise of China and its Impact on International Relations (audio)
Chair: Jonathan Masur, University of Chicago
Panelists: Daniel Abebe, University of Chicago; David Kang, University of Southern California; Charles Lipson, University of Chicago; Dali Yang, University of Chicago

10:30 a.m. Break

10:45 a.m. International Human Rights: Does China Change Human Rights Law or Does Human Rights Law Change China? (audio)
Chair: Brad Roth, Wayne State University
Panelists: Dingxin Zhao, University of Chicago; Randy Peerenboom, Beijing/LaTrobe University, Australia; Eric Posner, University of Chicago

12:15 p.m. Break

1:30 p.m. International Law and Regional/Global Security (audio)
Chair: Guy Alitto, University of Chicago
Panelists: Jacques deLisle, University of Pennsylvania; James Li, Tsinghua University; Tom Ginsburg, University of Chicago

3:00 p.m. Break

3:15 p.m. China, the WTO, and International Economic Law (audio)
Chair: Karen Alter, Northwestern University
Panelists: Anu Bradford, University of Chicago; Julia Qin, Wayne State University; Jiangyu Wang, National University of Singapore; Peter Yu, Drake University

Tom Ginsburg