A Mere Glimpse into the “Challenge”

As I was browsing the web site of Washington College of Law, I found an event schedule for some visiting scholars from China before the Olympics last year. The event is called “The Challenges Facing China.”

I might be totally biased, but when I read that title, I immediately think of the words “human rights.” After a brief glimpse into the event schedule, I did find the words human rights, except that it is buried between a break and a lunch break, and the speaker for that topic is NOT one of the Chinese scholars, but a person from Amnesty International. Here is a copy of the schedule, as you can see (if you can easily spot Chinese names), the Chinese scholars only talked about environmental and business issues:

10.30 am         Environmental Issues in China

Professor Judith Shapiro, Washington Collage of Law. Sustainable Development

Professor Wang Rong, China University of Political Science & Law. Water Right Practice in China

Xiaoqing Lu, Research Associate with the Freeman Chair in China Studies. Environmental Challenges and Health Problems in China.

11.50 am         Break

12.00 am         Human Rights in China Panel

T. Kumar, Amnesty International. Freedom of Expression in the Upcoming Beijing Olympics and the Situation of Tibet.

12:40 pm         Lunch

1.40  pm          Business and Trade in China

Professor Meng Yanbei, Law School, Renmin University of China. Anti-Monopoly Laws in China

Professor Laney Zhan , The Law Library of Congress. SUBJECT TBD

I find this pretty funny: it’s like a huge intentional gala for which both the US president and Osama Bin Laden are invited to attend; the organizer is somehow clever enough to make sure that the two would not mingle either in a friendly manner or in a fist fight.

Well, what can I say? Chinese scholars talking about challenges that China is facing don’t have anything to say about human rights. Maybe one of my friends is right: “China has no human rights problem, just like it doesn’t have any intellectual property problem.”


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