Are you wanting to learn how the laws between China And Canada conflict with each other? Are you concerned about the China And Canada relationship?
I attended an event organized by McMillan Law, UVIC Law and UBC law school. The event focused on Canada-China Legal cooperation. The purpose of the event was to discuss the correct ways to move forward despite political issues between the two countries.
Until the arrest of Meng Wangzhou and the “two Michaels”, Canada and China enjoyed excellent relations. Prior to this, Canada and China were even exploring the signing of an extradition treaty.
The webinar covered the importance of Canada’s independent judicial process. It also encouraged Canadian and Chinese business people and politicians to understand the diplomatic challenges between the two countries and to find a way forward.
Canada-China Legal Cooperation, Sponsored by UBC Law
This article will follow the Chatham House Rules, which dictates that I can share what was discussed, but not who said it. I have included pictures of the speakers in the article.
Below are my take-aways from the seminar that was held on the second anniversary of the arrests of the “two Michaels.”
Below is a list of the speakers at the Canada-China Legal Cooperation event
- Stephen Wortley, Executive Partner at McMillan Law. He chairs their China practice. He is a graduate of UBC, 1984.
- Pu Lingchen, special counsel at Zhong Lun Law Firm.
- Professor Vincent Yang, senior associate at the International Centre for Criminal Law Reform and Criminal Justice Policy. This is a project at the University of British Columbia.
- Professor Huang Feng of the Beijing Normal University.
- Mr Justice Michel Bastarache, former Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada.
Professor Vincent Yang is a senior associate at the International Centre for Criminal Law Reform and Criminal Justice Policy.
This is a project run by the University of British Columbia. It is a United Nations-affiliated centre, based in Vancouver. Professor Yang has taught law in China and Canada for 35 years.
Photo: ClearWay Law’s office in Beijing, China
Should Lawyers Get Involved in Politics?
Canada and China are experiencing the worst crisis since the two countries established diplomatic relations on October 13, 1970
Canadian politicians are failing to resolve the issues. Legal professionals need to get together to discuss how they can work together to solve the diplomatic disputes.
We have heard enough from the diplomats and politicians. It’s time for the legal professionals to get together and discuss what can be done.
Canada Helped China Establish Its Criminal Justice System
In 1995, Canada became the first western country to assist China with the reform of its criminal justice program. Canada was ahead of the United States and the United Kingdom.
The work that Canada did significantly helped China develop its legal system. It also helped with law reform and legal education.
Canadian judges from the Court of Appeal, correction officers, judges from the Supreme Court of Canada, and staff from the legal aid program, all worked with their Chinese counterparts.
China And Canada Relationship
On the Chinese side, the Legal Aid Society and the most prestigious legal think tanks, police and lawyers worked with their Canadian counterparts. There were over 10,000 people involved.
Canada published a book series, with over 50,000 copies, and also provided over 200 seminars.
The goal was to reduce the difference in the laws between China And Canada.
Major successes from Canada’s Involvement In Helping China
There were several successes in Canada’s assistance with China’s criminal justice program.
The first was the creation of China’s legal aid program. Canada helped set up China’s legal aid program in its early stage around 1996-1999. Canada also produced books explaining how legal aid works.
In 1996, China had only one legal aid centre. Now there are over 3000 legal aid centres all over China.
The Canadian legal professionals also worked with China’s prisons and helped introduce the Canadian system which focuses on fairness. However, some people have said that China didn’t accept human rights standards in their prisons, and therefore this initiative has failed.
Canada also promoted international standards for prosecutors. The goal was to encourage the independence of prosecutors from politicians. It’s my position that this initiative has certainly failed.
Ways to resolve the issues between China and Canada
Canada and China must rebuild their trust. If there is no trust, then the two countries won’t work or talk to each other.
Both countries agree on many things. For example, they could work together on fighting money laundering, drug trafficking, and crimes against children.
Canada and China will never agree on issues like Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Laws Between China And Canada | China And Canada Relationship
Lawyers cannot do the job of the politicians, but they can be helpful. Lawyers are experts at dispute resolution.
Legal disputes between Canada and China should be resolved according to the standards of international law and principles
Both countries need to promote judicial independence and the right to a fair trial.
Both countries need to promote friendship and understanding. Therefore, I have written many articles for both the Canadian and Chinese media.
Both governments of China and Canada need to consider talking to resolve their issues, in accordance with the rule of law. The politicians are messing everything up.
Canada and China Can Resolve Its Conflict
A speaker from China stressed that the legal industry should follow the rules of international law. Further, that these internal laws bypass political tensions and ideologies.
There are two countries that do a great job of separating politics and their legal system, Italy, and Canada.
In the early 1990s’, China had serious political problems due to the events that occurred at Tiananmen Square. Many countries around the world were concerned about what had happened. Things in China needed to change.
Reforming China’s Justice System
In 1991, Italy signed an agreement with China to help reform China’s criminal justice system. Canada also signed a similar agreement with China in 1994.
Because of this, Italy and Canada gained a lot of respect from the global community for helping China make much-needed changes.
Just before the political tensions between Canada and China, both countries signed an agreement to fight organized crime and corruption. Canada and China have many of the same goals.
The countries should focus on what they can agree on, instead of discussing “hot-topics” all the time. We can improve the China And Canada relationship.
International Initiatives at the Canadian Bar Association
The Canadian Bar Association has a long history of working with China. For an interesting article, Google ” CBA Adapting to the times.” It appears in the National Magazine.
Law firms in China had just reopened in the 1980s after the China Cultural Revolution (1966-1976.) The number of lawyers went from 5000 at the end of the ’80s to the 500,000 lawyers that now practice in China today.
The CBA helped China set up standards for newly licensed lawyers. Also, they set up a program that required lawyers to attend ongoing education.
Goals of Canada China working together
One of the main goals was the need to educate the Chinese public about the legal system and how it works.
By 2003, Canada and China were working together very closely on criminal justice reform.
Canada helped push for people charged with crimes in China to gain access to the evidence the police had against them much earlier in the process.
A strong legal system is important for society because it allows members of the public to have their grievances heard. This prevents violence and revolutions.
Legal experts went abroad with the goal of helping judges in other countries rule fairly.
Laws Between China And Canada Are Very Different
The program played a role in assisting Canadian judges as well. The Canadian judges were given complex issues in other countries and had to think about international co-operation.
Canadian judges made presentations to judges in China, Russia, and Africa about federal taxation and the legal drafting of decisions.
Further, Canadian judges organized seminars to explain the Canadian ways of dealing with cases and taught about procedural rules. These seminars were held in India, Hong Kong, the European court of human rights, and France.
Some countries wanted a judge from the Supreme Court of Canada to attend their programs since the other countries had a top-level judge attending from their own country.
Picture: The author Alistair Vigier in Shanghai, China
Foreign Judges Came To Canada
Many foreign judges wanted to attend the Canadian courts and assist in the decision-making process (although the Canadian judges had the final say.)In 1999, the Canadian government decided to create programs for former communist countries. This included Russia and Ukraine.
Canadian judges spent five weeks in Moscow. Russian judges also attended Canada to be part of the decision-making process in select cases.
Canadian judges also visited China to assist with their criminal justice reform. Two judges from the Ontario Court of Appeal also participated. These presentations happened at a school for judges in Beijing.
If you want to learn more about the laws between China And Canada, click on some links in this article to read more. There is hope for the China And Canada relationship.
Author: Alistair Vigier is the CEO of ClearWay Law, a legal platform that connects people who need lawyers to law firms in Beijing and Canada. It is his goal to improve relations between China and Canada.