On the 5th May, a group of London South Bank University (LSBU) Law students embarked on an 11 day study trip in China. Their timewas spent exploring different aspects of the Chinese legal system, and participating in language and cultural activities. These activities were designed to help the students contextualise their learning. Their time in China was spent in Beijing and Harbin and the trip was co-organised by LSBU’s Department of Law and the Confucius Institute for Traditional Chinese Medicine (CITCM).
Whilst in Beijing the students visited the International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission and the Beijing Arbitration Commission. During both of these visits the students attended a seminar and then had the opportunity to raise relevant questions. The students asked very thought provoking questions which led to stimulating discussions about the stereotypes of the “Chinese way” for arbitration and mediation.
In Beijing the students continued to deepen their knowledge of the Chinese legal system by attending lectures delivered by lawyers from Ince & Co (the largest maritime law company in the world) and JingShi (a leading law firm with 105 branches in China). The lawyer from Ince & Co talked about how international law firms practice law and do business in China , while the lawyer from Jingshi discussed a case study of international policy and how Chinese law firms operate under the Chinese government’s “One Belt One Road” policy in Middle Eastern countries. Professor Yongqian Tu (Professor of Law & Management) from Renmin University of China, which is a leading university in China, also gave a lecture on the Present Chinese Law.
After attending the lectures, one of the students named Zeynep Yaren Ertunc, explained that she had ‘learnt many new things regarding the legal system.’
During their time in Beijing the students also visited famous sites including the Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square, The Forbidden City and the Great wall. After visiting the Great Wall, one of the students named Princess Coker, commented on the experience. She said ‘it has been most interesting to see China first hand. The Great Wall is said to be the only man made object that can be seen from outer space. Seeing this vast structure first hand was one of the high points.’
Whilst in Harbin the students attended more Law related activities including visiting the 93 Group's. During this visit discussions were held with the legal department with the main topic being the advantages and challenges that Chinese state own enterprises face with regards to legal issues.
Students also visited Borun Law firm in Harbin, where one of their lawyers delivered an overview of the Chinese Legal System. This talk was catered to meet the students’ current understanding and knowledge of Chinese law. Students then had the opportunity to question the firms lawyers and partners. This meeting was concluded with a group discussion with the law students from Heilongjiang University. This discussion allowed students from both universities to compare the legal practices in China and UK.
The final legal related visit was to the Intermediate Court in Harbin. At the court the students witnessed a traffic accident trial, after which they were given the opportunity to question the judges. Witnessing a court case in China was a new experience for all of the students on the trip.
Their time in Harbin was also filled with Mandarin and culture lessons (including martial arts and ping-pong). Understanding Chinese language and culture is vital for enhancing the student’s cross-cultural communication abilities. This will prove vital if they choose to pursue a career in international law.
After returning from China some of the students expressed their thanks to CITCM. CJ Efozia said ‘thank you very much for your assistance… both the cultural and legal aspects were very educational. The materials which you provided have also proven very useful in helping me better understand the Chinese socio-legal systems. Thank you once again.’
Another student named Anira Belkis Rosado Chang commented ‘Going to China marked a before and after point of my life...I truly identified with China’s culture, food and people. This trip has significantly contributed to my decision to apply for an internship at one of the most successful law firms in Harbin.
Guo Jiaqi, the Professor of Chinese at CITCM, expressed that ‘the students will have benefited greatly from the in country experience. One of the best forms of education is gaining first-hand experience’.
Overall the trip was a huge success; the students learned a lot about China’s legal system whilst experiencing Chinese culture first hand. CITCM offers a series of courses which provide students with the opportunity to study in China. For more information about our programmes please visit our website or get in touch.