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U.S.-China Partnership for Environmental Law

Events Archive

2008 Conferences

Workshop on Chinese Environmental Law Conducted at the U.S. EPA

June 27, 2008 - Washington, D.C.

Professors Tseming Yang, Jingyun Li, and Mark Qiu (PhD student at SYSU Law School) led a workshop on Chinese environmental law at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for agency staff involved in cooperative work with China's Ministry of Environmental Protection. Professor Yang provided an overview of structural differences between the U.S. and Chinese systems of law and government, Professor Li addressed water pollution and environmental information disclosure, and Mark Qiu addressed the recently adopted superministry reform's relevance for environmental regulation. The group also met with EPA Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assistance Granta Nakayama and OECA Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator Catherine McCabe to discuss our program and the opportunities for collaboration.

Environmental Law and Practice Workshop for Guangzhou Lawyers

June 16, 2008 - Guangzhou, China

Together with SYSU, we co-sponsored a workshop on environmental law practice and the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development mechanism. Participants included individuals from Guangzhou law firms as well as officials and lawyers from Beijing and Chongqing.

Environmental Law Research and Teaching Workshops

June 8 & 14-15, 2008 - Beijing & Guangzhou, China

The Partnership for Environmental Law in China convened two successful environmental law research and teaching workshops in Beijing (with the China University of Politics and Law) and in Guangzhou (with Sun Yat-sen University Law School) on June 8 and June 14 and 15, respectively. Both workshops focused on pedagogy, curriculum issues, and research methodology as well as the role of environmental law scholars in the development of China's environmental regulatory system. Senior and junior scholars shared their teaching and research experiences in lively discussions. Among key concerns raised in both workshops were questions about the quality of teaching materials, clinical methods of teaching, the role of comparative law research approaches, and ongoing challenges of balancing the teaching of theoretical approaches to environmental law with education about practical applications and effects of environmental regulation. A total of over 50 senior and junior scholars attended both workshops, including from leading Chinese institutions such as China University of Politics and Law, Tsinghua University, Peking University, Renmin University, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, and Shanghai Jiaotong University.

Energy Law Roundtable at Tsinghua University

June 10, 2008 - Beijing, China

Together with the Tsinghua Center for Environmental, Natural Resources & Energy Law, the Partnership for Environmental Law in China co-sponsored a roundtable on energy institutional reform and curriculum issues related to developing energy law. Approximately 25 scholars, government officials, non-governmental organizations staff, and students participated. The focus of the presentations and discussions were on two separate topics: 1) the March 2008 superministry reform's impact on energy governance, and 2) how to develop a law school curriculum related to energy and environmental law. Participants included scholars from Tsinghua University, Zhengzhou University, Renmin University, and the North China Electric Power University, as well as individuals of the Regulatory Assistance Project, the State Electric Regulatory Commission, the Energy Foundation, and the U.S. Embassy.

Video-conference Presentation for Carnegie Mellon University

April 28, 2008 — Vermont, USA

Professor Tseming Yang, Jingjing Liu, Professor Danni Liang, and Mark Qiu gave a video-conference seminar on "China, Climate Change, and Environment" for an audience of students and faculty at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. The presentation reprises the presentations given at the NAELS (National Association of Environmental Law Societies) conference in Burlington, Vermont. Prof. Yang addressed China's Climate Change Program, Ms. Liu talked about dispute resolution and environmental mediation in China, Mr. Qiu covered China's recent government restructuring and its implications for environmental regulation, and Prof. Liang addressed the environmental implications of mandatory arbitration for foreign investor expropriation claims under China's bilateral investment treaties.

Partnership Staff and SYSU Visiting Scholars Speak on "China, Climate Change, and Environment" Panel at National Association of Environmental Law Societies 2008 Annual Meeting (Burlington, Vt.)

March 21, 2008 — Vermont, USA

On March 21, VLS Professor Yang, Partnership Associate Director Jingjing Liu, SYSU Professor Danni Liang, and SYSU PhD student Mark Qiu gave presentations about China's climate change program and its environment law system at a panel on "China, Climate Change, and the Environment" at the 2008 annual meeting of the National Association of Environmental Law Societies. Professor Yang provided a background overview of China's Climate Change Programme and environmental regulatory system; Jingjng Liu discussed dispute resolution in China and environmental mediation; Professor Liang explained environmental issues raised by expropriation and arbitration provisions in China's Bilateral Investment Treaties; and Mark Qiu examined the recent reorganization of China's central government strucure.

Read the presentations:
Tseming Yang's Presentation (PDF)
Danni Liang's Presentation (PDF)
Jingjing Liu's Presentation (PDF)
Mark Qiu's Presentation (PDF)


2007 Conferences

Conference on Legal Development of Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan

Dec. 15–16, 2007 — Guangzhou, China

On December 15–16, 2007, SYSU and VLS co-sponsored a successful legal developments conference at SYSU law school with scholars from Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, and other parts of mainland China. The focus areas of the conference were intellectual property law, international trade law, and environmental law. Dean Wang Shuyi of Wuhan University Law School and director of its Environmental Law Research Institute gave a key note address.Jingjing Liu gave a presentation on environmental ADR.

DSM Study Tour Seminar on Environmental and Energy Law

Dec. 7, 2007 — Vermont, USA

On December 7, VLS hosted a workshop on energy and environmental law for a study tour group of 17 officials from China's National Development and Reform Commission, Ministry of Finance, State Electric Regulatory Commission, the regional grid company, and provincial economic and trade commissions. The overall study tour focused on energy demand side management (DSM) issues, especially energy efficiency. Led by Timothy Hui and Bo Shen of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the group visited California EPA, the State Energy Commission and the State Public Utility Commission before coming to Vermont and then continuing on to visit the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, as well as the US Department of Energy and EPA in Washington DC.

VLS Professor and Institute for Energy and the Environment Director Michael Dworkin started off the workshop with a presentation on the important role of energy efficiency in addressing climate change problems. During the afternoon sessions, Director of the Regulatory Assistance Project Richard Cowart spoke about how cap-and-trade mechanism can help reduce power sector carbon and VLS Professor Mark Latham addressed the legislative challenges of US environmental law in addressing climate change.

Environmental Law Workshop with Chinese Government Officials, Supreme Court Judge, and Environmental Law Professor

Oct. 12, 2007 — Vermont, USA

VLS hosted a one-day environmental law workshop with a five-person delegation from China. Participants included Dr. Bie Tao, assistant counsel for environmental law at SEPA; Judge Qian Feng, chief justice of the fourth civil division of the Supreme People’s Court of China; Chen Zhanjun, deputy director of the division for legal affairs of the Hunan provincial EPB; Huang Danfeng, division chief for public awareness promotion of the Guilin municipal EPB; and Li Jingyun, associate professor of environmental law at Jiangxi Normal University. The delegation was led by Alex Wang, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council China Environmental Law Project. He was joined by his colleague Zhou Yanfang from the Beijing, China office.

The workshop focused on several comparative areas relating to environmental law, including: compliance, enforcement, public interest litigation, and energy. In addition, workshop participants engaged in an in-depth discussion regarding the role, function and structure of the Vermont Environmental Court.

Environmental ADR Workshop with EPA General Counsel Roger Martella

Sept. 3, 2007 — Guangzhou, China

VLS conducted a successful roundtable discussion featuring U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) General Counsel Roger Martella at SYSU. The workshop was jointly sponsored by VLS and SYSU and focused on environmental federalism and alternative dispute resolution. Participants ranged from high-ranking government officials to legal professionals. Notable participants include: Yuan Daoling from State Environmental Protection Agency’s (SEPA) South China Regional Office; Wu Hongjie from the Environmental Enforcement Supervision Division of Guangdong Provincial Environmental Protection Bureau (EPB); Zheng Zewen from the Policy and Regulation Division of Guangzhou Municipal EPB; Steve Wolfson from the EPA’s International Office; representatives from the U.S.-Guangzhou consulate; and environmental law professors and graduate students from the Guangdong province.

Energy Law Workshop with Chinese Officials from the State Electric Regulatory Commission

Aug. 24, 2007 — Washington, DC, USA

Professor Michael Dworkin, Director of the Institute for Energy and the Environment at VLS, joined senior officials from China’s State Electric Regulatory Commission for a day-long seminar organized by the Regulatory Assistance Project. Other attendees included a commissioner of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and other utility commissioners. The seminar addressed methods to enhance total system efficiency and reliability in order to reduce financial and environmental costs. Topics included market rules, transmission calculations, financial incentives, long-term resource planning and energy efficiency.

Workshop with Guangzhou Environmental Law Professors

July 24, 2007 — Guangzhou, China

Together with SYSU Professor Zhiping Li, VLS Professor Tseming Yang led a workshop with environmental law professors from various Guangzhou law schools focused on classroom pedagogy and curriculum. The workshop also explored potential joint research areas.

Workshop with Chinese Legal Experts

July 7, 2007 — Vermont, USA

VLS hosted a workshop on procedural and substantive issues related to environmental law for Chinese legal experts. The full-day workshop was highlighted with a variety of discussions and presentations. VLS professors Tseming Yang, David Mears, and Mark Latham led discussion focusing on environmental issues related to federal law, compensation, causation, and litigation.

Environmental Law Teaching Workshop

May 15, 2007 — Guangzhou, China

Professor Michael Dworkin, director of the Institute for Energy and the Environment at Vermont Law School, held a workshop at Sun Yat-sen University with five environmental law professors. Participants instruct at SYSU, South China University of Science and Technology, and South China University of Agriculture. The workshop included a discussion on pedagogy and curriculum issues related to each respective environmental law programs.

Promoting Efficient Use of Energy and Resources

May 11–12, 2007 — Guangzhou, China

Vermont Law School, Sun Yat-sen University, and Guangdong Economic and Trade Commission, cosponsored an international conference titled “Promoting Efficient Use of Energy and Resources” in Guangzhou, China. The conference was funded by the USAID grant and focused attention on China’s newly proposed energy conservation and circular economy laws. Keynote speakers included the following: Dr. Sun Youhai, director of the legislative office of the Environment and Natural Resource Committee of the National People's Congress and key drafter of the circular economy law; Dr. Bie Tao, deputy director of the policy and regulation office of the State Environmental Protection Administration; Barbara Finamore, director of the China program of the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Professor Wang Canfa from the China University of Political Science and Law.

The conference attracted over 200 participants, including leaders from U.S. government, Chinese national and provincial governments, the academic community, the business sector and nongovernmental organizations. Proceedings from this conference and a book collecting papers submitted for the conference will be published by the end of 2007 and disseminated throughout Guangdong province and other parts of China.

China in Transition: Environmental Challenges in the Far East

March 1–2, 2007 — Vermont, USA

Vermont Law School hosted an international conference entitled “China in Transition: Environmental Challenges in the Far East.” Initiated by the student editorial board of the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law (VJEL) and supported in substantial measure by the USAID grant, this conference brought together a number of renowned speakers to focus critical attention on China’s enormous national and international problems concerning environmental degradation. Discussion topics included the deficits plaguing the current legal infrastructure in China, particularly the courts and administrative bodies, and the serious problems with implementation and enforcement of existing environmental rules and regulations. Keynote speakers included Professor Wang Canfa, an internationally recognized environmental activist from China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing, and Professor Jerome Cohen, Professor of Law at New York University and Senior Adjunct Fellow, Asian Studies, Council on Foreign Relations (New York City). Professor Cohen is one of America’s leading scholars on the Chinese legal system. The conference attracted approximately 150 participants over the two days, including local policy analysts, regulatory officials who regularly work with Chinese environmental institutions, and water regulatory officials from Canada. In May 2007, VJEL’s editorial board published in hard copy the conference proceedings and a series of papers on Chinese environmental and energy issues, including scholarship submitted in response to an open call for papers (available online at