Introduction to the Institute of International Law
Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
I. Historical Evolution
The Institute of International Law of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) is an important research centre of international law in China. Its predecessor, originally, is the Research Group of International Law and the Research Department of International Law of the Institute of Law, CASS, and then the Centre for International Law of CASS.
In 1959, the year following the establishment of the Institute of Law under the Division of Philosophy and Social Sciences of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Research Group of International Lawwas established under the CASS Institute of Law. In May 1977, with the approval of theCentral Committee of the Communist Party of China, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) was formally established on the basis of the Division of Philosophy and Social Sciences of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. In September 1978, the Research Group of International Law of CASS Institute of Law was restructured to form the Research Department of International Law. In October 2002, the Centrefor International Law was established on the basis of the Research Department of International Law with the approval of the Chinese government as an independent research institution directly under CASS, in parallel with the Institute of Law. In September 2009, with the approval of the Chinese government, the Centre for International Law was renamed the Institute of International Law, andProfessorChen Zexian served as the first director of the Institute. From September 2017 to November 2018, Professor Chen Su, the director of Institute of Law, served as the acting director of the Institute of International Law. In November 2018, Professor Mo Jihong became the director of the Institute of International Law.
II.Overview of Structure and Staff
The Institute of International Law has four research departments, one editorial office and one administrative department, i.e., the research departments of public international law, private international law, international economic law and international human rights law, respectively, the editorial office of Chinese Review of International Law, and the department of research administration. The Chinese Review of International Law, inaugurated in 2014, is the first original Chinese periodical of international law in China with an official registration number for publications. The Institute of International Law is responsible for its editorial work, and the Social SciencesAcademic Press for its publication. The Institute of International Law has also established the Research Centrefor Competition Law, the Research Centre for International Criminal Law, and the "Belt and Road" Judicial Research Base in cooperation with the Supreme People's Court of China (SPC). The Institute of International Law has master’s, doctoral and post-doctoral programs in the fields of public international law, private international law, international economic law and international human rights law, respectively.
The Institute of International Law currently has 35 full time staff members, including 9 research fellows (equivalent to full professor), 10 associate research fellows (equivalent to associate professor), amongst which 4research fellows are qualified to supervise doctoral program and 14 research fellows / associate research fellows are qualified to supervise master’sprogram.
The researchers of the Institute of International Law have a high reputation and wide influence both at home and abroad. At the international level, Prof. Mo Jihong is the(Lifetime) Honorary President of the International Association of Constitutional Law;Prof. Liu Nanlai is an arbitrator of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague; Prof. Chen Zexian is the Vice President of the Society of International Criminal Law; Prof. Liu Huawen is a member of the Executive Council of the Asian Society of International Law and theCo-director of the Cross-cultural Human Rights Centre in the Netherlands; Prof. Sun Shiyan is a member of the editorial boards of the International Review of the Red Cross and the Chinese Journal of International Law; Associate Professor Wang Hanling served as a consultant to the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea of the United Nations Legal Office, and as a special arbitration expert for international fisheries for many years.
At the national level, Prof. Mo Jihong was awarded the honorary title as one of the “National Top Ten Outstanding Young Jurists” by China Law Society; selected for the“National Talents Project” and awarded the honorary title asone of the “Young and Middle-aged Experts with Outstanding Contributions” by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, as one of the "Cultural Masters”in the “Four Batches of Talents Project" and asone of the third batch of "Philosophy and Social Science Leaders” for the “National Ten Thousand Talents Plan" by the Central Propaganda Department; he is also amember of the Academic Committee of China Law Society, a member of the Supreme People's Procuratorate Expert Advisory Committee, the Executive Vice President of the Chinese Association of Constitutional Law, and the President of the Association of Legislative Studies of the Beijing Law Society. Prof. Liu Nanlai, an honorary CASS academician, has been a consultant to the first, second and third International Law Advisory Committee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Prof. Liu Huawen has been a member of the second and third International Law Advisory Committee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; his is also the Vice President of the Beijing Society of International Law, the Vice President of the Soft Law Research Society of the Chinese Society of Behavioral Law, theeditor-in-chief of the Chinese Yearbook of International Law,which is published by the China Society of International Law, and an adviser on the construction of the rule of law to the Government of Yunnan Province.Prof. Liu Jingdong is the Vice President of WTO Law Research Society of China Law Society, a member of the "Reporting Group of 100 Jurists" of China Law Society, a deputy division chief of No.4 Civil Division of the Supreme People’s Court from 2015 to 2017, a special consultanttothe Supreme People’s Court and a member of the first International Commercial Expert Committee of SPC. Professor Liao Fan is the Deputy Head of the Committee of International Financial Law of the China Society of International Economic and Trade Law, a member of the Expert Group for the Adjudication of Foreign-related Commercial and Maritime Cases of the Supreme People's Court, and a special observer of the Xinhua News Agency.Associate Research Fellow ZhangWenguang was appointed by the Supreme People’s Court as an expert (of the First Batch) onforeign-related commercialand maritime trials in 2015, and a special advisor to the Shanghai International Maritime Judicial Base of the Supreme People’s Court in 2018. Furthermore, Profs. Mo Jihong, Liu Nanlai, Wang Keju, Tao Zhenghua, Shen Juan and Liu Huawen have been the recipients of the Special Government Allowance from the State Council.
Taking the 10th anniversary of its official establishment as an opportunity, the Institute will continue to strengthen the construction of think tanks, focus on innovation, improve performance appraisal, strive to build a world-oriented academic platform, and continue to recruit high-level talents at home and abroad. The Institute will make every effort to launch a series of high-quality academic works reflecting the research level of contemporary international law, consolidate the academic foundation and capacity building of the Institute as the national team of international law research, constantly expand its academic influence at home and abroad, and strive to enhance the discourse power of the research results of China's international law theory in the world. The Institute will continue to closely follow the latest developments in international law, reflect uponnew problems and trends in international law practice, and provide an important platform for the exchange of international law theory and practice between China and the international community. The Instituteis willing to work tirelessly with all colleagues engaged in the research, teaching and practice of international law in order to promote the cause of international law in China and the process of building the socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics.
Academic Achievements and Contributions
The Institute of International Law has always been firmly promoting the building of academic programs, and is in a leading position in China in research capacity and comprehensive influence.The program of public international law, which has been designated as a leading program by CASS and structured on the basis of the two research departments of public international law and international human rights law, coverssuch specialized areas as the fundamental theories of international law, international law of the sea, human rights law, treaty law, and the law international organizations.The program of international economic law, which has been designated as a key program by CASS and structured on the basis of the research department ofinternational economic law, covers such specialized areas as international trade law (including WTO law), international financial law, international investment law, international environmental law, and maritime law. The program ofprivate international law, structured on the basis of the research department of private international law, covers such specialized areas as international conflict of law, international civil litigation, and international commercial arbitration. Since the foundation of the Institute of International Law, all the academic programs have establisheda well-structured academic system and a highly capable and solid team of researchers.
The Research Group of International Law/the Research Department of International Law of the Institute of Law, CASS, as the predecessors of the Centre for International Law/Institute of International Law of CASS, has been one of the earliest organizations to resume academic research on international law in China since the reform and opening-up, and had made significant contributions to the establishment of international legal scholarship in China. With respect to the research onfundamental theories of international law, as early as in the 1960s, scholars working at the Research Group of International Lawhad translated and published two representative works of international law: The Theory of State and Law edited by Petr Semenovich Romashkinet et al. (translated by Profs. Liu Nanlai and Wei Jiaju et al, and published by the Law Press China in 1964); and Grigorij I. Tunkin's Theory of International Law (translated by Wang Keju et al., and published by the World Affairs Press in 1965). These translated books introduced the fundamental theories of international law of the former Soviet Union and its representative achievements relating to the developments of international law to the Chinese academia, and served as the pioneer in introducing researches on the fundamental theories of international law into China.
In the field of the law of the sea, since the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea started in December 1973, the international law scholars of the Institute of Lawhad closely followed the process of the conference, actively participated in the relevant discussions, and contributed opinions and suggestions to the Chinese delegation,thus becoming the main pioneers in the field of the law of the sea studies in China. Profs. Wu Yunqi, Liu Nanlai and Wang Keju translatedtheSoviet scholar Lazarev'sThe Modern International Law of the Sea (Tianjin People's Publishing House, 1981), which was the earliestintroductory work to the development of the international law of the sea in China. In 1986, Profs. Liu Nanlai and Wang Keju, in cooperation with scholars from other institutions, co-authored the book International Law of the Sea (Law Press China, 1986) to make a comprehensive and systematic exposition of issues related to the international law of the sea, which became the most comprehensive and systematic volume on the international law of the sea in China at that time, and was listed in the Law of the Sea Bulletin published by the United Nations as an important Chinese works in the field of international law of the sea.Selected Laws and Regulations on Exclusive Economic Zones and Continental Shelf of Different Countries (Law Press China, 1988),translated and compiled by Prof. Liu Nanlai et. al.,has also been widely usedby Chinese authorities and universities as an important reference material. In 2008, Professor Wang Hanling played a leading role in establishing the Centre for the Law of the Sea and Ocean Affairs of then the Centre for International Law, which became a research centre directly under the leadership of CASS in 2015. Prof. Wang Hanling also participated in the compilation work of the United Nations' textbook Ecosystem Approaches to the Management of Ocean (United Nations, 2011).
In the field of aviation law, the international community successively adopted three conventions against hijacking of aircrafts in Tokyoin 1961, The Hague in 1963 and Montrealin 1971, to all of which China is a state party.In 1983, Zhuo Changren and others hijacked Flight CA296 to South Korea. The eventshocked the whole country and raised the question of how to bring the high-jackers back to China to face trial and punishment. However, there was no adequate understanding of and research on this issue at that time in China. In 1985, Prof. Zhao Weitian publishedthe book On Three Anti-hijacking Conventions (Mass Publishing House, 1985), initiating the study on criminal matters relating to aviation law in China and thus filled in the gaps in the research on the crimes of aircraft hijacking in the country.Prof. Zhao Weitian subsequently published two editions of International Aviation Law in Taiwan and Mainland China, respectively, which was the first academic works systematically covering various branches of international aviation law, thus marking the beginning of the construction of the theoretical system of aviation law by Chinese scholars.
In the 1980s, when it was still disputed whether international criminal law was a separate field of legal studies andan independent branch of international law, there was no systematic research on international criminal law, nor any noticeable research outcome on specific topics in this area in China, until Prof. Lin Xin published the book Criminal Jurisdiction in International Law (Law Press China, 1988). This book has in a sense filleda gap in the studies of international law in China, and therefore can be fairly regarded as the foundation work on international criminal law in China.
In the field of human rights law, CASS was one of the first academic institutions to carry out human rights research in China. In1991, the Institute of Law CASS convened the first nation-wide seminar on human rights theories, and dispatched the first academic delegation of human rights scholars to North America, with Prof. Liu Hainian, the Deputy Director of the Institute of Law, as the head, Profs. Xin Chunying, Li Lin and Lin Di as members. Their visit attracted wide international attention. In 1991, the CASS Center for Human Rights Studies was established, with Profs. Wang Jiafu and Liu Hainian as co-directors, which was the first human rights research institution in Mainland China.
Benefiting from the research capacity of CASSInstitute of Law and CASSInstitute of International Law, CASS Center for Human Rights Studies has been playing an active and important role in carrying out researches on theoretical and practical issues of human rights, and promoting human rights education and international exchanges on human rights. Prof. Liu Huawen is the current Executive Director of the Centre. In order to strengthen the research on international human rights law, the Institute of International Law established the Research Department of International Human Rights Law in 2009, bringing together a group of outstanding scholars in the field of human rights law. The studies on human rights law at the Institute of International Law have combined academic research and practical work, and international law and domestic law, and have a highly regarded status in China.
As a new branch of study in the field of international law, international economic law did not exist as an independent programduring the period of Research Department of International Law of CASSInstitute of Law. However, this did not prevent the first generation of international economic law scholars in the Department from vigorously exploring the theories and practice of international economic law. They had made great and unique contributions to the formation and development of the discipline of international economic law in China by conductinggroundbreaking and innovative researcheson major theoretical issues of international economic law. There had been a number of renowned experts with domestic and international reputations, including Prof. Rui Mu, andProf. Sheng Yu, whohad been the deputy director of the Institute of Law and did research in the fields of public international law and international economic law; Prof. Xu Hegao, who was the head of the Research Department of International Law, subsequently transferred to the Ministry of Justice to undertake the Directorship of China Legal Affairs Centre, and did research in the fields of private international law and international economic law; Prof. Li Zerui, who specialized in the research on international economic law; Prof. Ren Jisheng, who was the deputy head of the Research Department of International Law, subsequently transferred to the Ministry of Justice to undertake the Directorship of China Legal Affairs Centre, and did research in the fields of private international law and international economic law; Prof. Wei Jiaju, who did research in the fields of private international law and maritime law;Prof. Yao Zhuang, who did research in the fieldsof private international law and maritime law;Prof. Tao Zhenghua, who was the head of the Research Department of International Law, and did research in the fields of pubicinternational law and international economic law.
The discipline of private international law in China has also undergone a process of starting from scratch. After the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, some Chinese universities offered courses of private international law, the contents of which were based on the private international law system of the Soviet Union at that time. The studies of private international law in China were also based on the textbooks and reference materials from the Soviet Union, without any books written by Chinese scholars in this field. In 1981, Profs. Yao Zhuang and Ren Jisheng co-authored the first textbook of private international law in China, Foundation of Private International Law (China Social Sciences Press, 1981) and published a number of articles in this field, thus becoming the pioneers ofthe study of private international law in China. After China resumed its sovereignty over Hong Kong and Macao, problems of inter-regional conflict of laws within China have been increasing. Prof. Shen Jun's monograph Research on China's Inter-regional Conflict of Law (China University of Political Science and Law Press,1999) analyzes the situation of inter-regional conflict of laws in China and puts forward some thoughts regarding the regulation of those inter-regional conflict of laws, thereby making contributions to the establishment of a Chinese system of inter-regional conflict of laws in the future.
Publications and Other Research Achievements
Ever since they were still the Research Group of International Law of the Institute of Law, the research staff of the Institute of International Law have endeavored to conduct in-depth research and publish high-quality works in the field of international law. Especially in the era of Reform and Opening-up, the Institute of International Law and its predecessor, the Research Department of International Law of the Institute of Law, have persistently made extensive and in-depth studies in various fields of international law, and produced fruitful research outcomes.
By the end of 2018, the Institute of International Law had published more than 170 books and 40 translated books, more than 1,000 research articles and 300 translated articles. In addition, the researchers of the Institute of International Law have also undertaken a large number of analytical and advisory work with respect to the legislative and judicial practice in China. They have submitted over 300 proposals, reports or legal opinions regarding various legal issues to the central government of China, relevant government authorities and decision-making bodies, which have been highly valued and widely praised, some of them have been recognized by the leaders of the Chinese government and the Communist Party as significant to the legal and other related works in China. Theproposals, reports or legal opinions provided by the researchers of the Institute of International Law in their capacity of experts have covered such topics as the formulation and revision of international treaties and agreements, the drafting and revision of laws and regulations related to foreign affairs, emergency plans for or responses to major international political, diplomatic and legal events, reports submitted by China to international human rights bodies for consideration, and the handling of major international economic cases. Therefore, in addition to its role as a major research institution of international law in China, the Institute of International Law has also played the role of a think tank to the Chinese government and various authorities in the fields of construction of democracy and rule of law, protection and promotion of human rights, conduct of foreign affairs as well as in the field of international law in its broadest sense.
The Institute of International Law has also undertaken and completed a large number of research projects. In 2018 alone, the Institute had completed 17 research projects, established and secured funding for 25 research projects, and had 34 research projects in progress, including three projects funded by the highest level of funding in China, the National Foundation of Social Sciences Research - "The Chinese Model of Legal Protection of Interests Overseas",led by Prof. Liu Jingdong, "International Treaties in Chinese Domestic Legal System: Analysis of Status and Design of Institutions",led by Prof. Dai Ruijun, and "The Compatibility of International Rulings with the Constitution",led by Prof. Sun Nanxiang.
Since the launch of the CASS"Philosophy and Social Sciences Innovation Project" in 2012, the Institute of International Law has actively participated in, benefited from, and contributed to the Innovation Project, with remarkable accomplishments. The Institute now has four research projects founded by the Innovation Project, i.e., "International Law Guarantee of Building a Community with Shared Future for Mankind and Promoting the Transformation of the Global Governance System", "International Economic Legal Issues in the Construction of the 'Belt and Road'", "The Rule of Law Crisis in International Economy and the Responding Strategies" and "Implementation and Development of the Law on the Application of Law for Foreign-related Civil Relationsof PRC". These research projects comprehensively cover the major legal issuesin relations to China's involvement in the global governance and conduct of foreign affairs on the basis of rule of law. The "Leading Program" of public international law and the "Key Program" of international economic law, both designated by CASS, and the publication of Chinese Review of International Law, are also covered and sponsored by the Innovation Project.
In the context of China's "Belt and Road" Initiative, the Institute of international law has been entrusted a major project by the leadership of CASS in 2019, "The Survey on the Legal Situation and Investment Risk in Countries along the 'Belt and Road'", which will conduct field research in the countries along the "Belt and Road", from the perspectives of both international law and domestic laws, and focus on the legal systems and level of rule of law in relevant countries, the effect of implementation of relevant policies and measures of the Initiative, obstacles and risks faced by Chinese enterprises, and the establishment and improvement of the dispute settlement mechanism for the Initiative, with a view to providing practical guides to the Initiative.
The Institute of International Law has established and kept frequent communications and close relations with universities, research institutions as well international and domestic practicing bodies all over the world. In the past four decades, the Institute and its predecessors have sent more than 160 person/times to study or conduct research at well-known academic institutions, think tanks or practicing bodies in many countries, and received 300 persons/times visits from other countries and international organizations. The Institute has also organized or co-hosted some 70 international seminars and symposiums.
Since 2004, the Institute of International Law has hostedthe "International Law Forum" for 15 consecutive times. As an international conference covering various areas of international law, the Forum has extensively addressed major theoretical and practical international law issues of the relevant years. It has become a well-known brand of the Institute by providing an important platform for international law scholars at home and abroad to exchange ideas and explore academic issues. Since 2010, the Forum has been incorporated in the series of "China Social Sciences Forum" sponsored by CASS, and has continued to develop at a new height.
In 2019, which marks the 10th anniversary of the official establishment of the Institute of International Law, the Institute will organize four important international conferences based on the successful experience of the International Law Forum, including the "BRICs Legal Forum", "The Sino-Latin American Forum of International Rule of Law", "International Forum on the Legal Framework of the “Belt and Road” and "The International Legal Forum on a Community with Shared Future for Mankind", with a view to drawing the attention of persons from all walks of life to major issues of international rule of law, and promoting multilateral academic cooperation and exchanges.