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Taiwan Research Programme
London School of Economics and Political Science
Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE


Professor Stephan Feuchtwang

Dr Fang-Long Shih

Criminal Justice in China and Taiwan

With Professor Jerome A. Cohen (New York University School of Law)

co-organised with the LSE Asia Research Centre

Series:  Seminar on Taiwan in Comparative Perspective, special series on  Justice in Comparative Perspective

Date: Thursday 12 March 2009, 6:30pm-8pm

Venue: Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House, London School of Economics (LSE)

Chair: Professor Stephan Feuchtwang (Taiwan Research Programme)


The impact on China of the global economic crisis is expected to intensify domestic social and political tensions and increase the government's resort to informal and formal administrative and criminal sanctions. By late 2008, popular ferment over "re-education through labor", unfair convictions and sentencing, capital punishment and related issues--though muted in the media--had brought criminal justice up for consideration by the country's most powerful institution, the Communist Party Politburo, and legal officials are currently debating how best to implement the leadership's general and sometimes conflicting guidelines. Meanwhile, in Taiwan, the corruption prosecutions of ex-president Chen Shui-bian, his family and associates have for the first time focused public attention on detailed issues of criminal procedure that require a new balancing of the interests of state, society and suspects in light of the island's democratic development and concern for human rights. Moreover, a series of interpretations by Taiwan's Council of Grand Justices has articulated international standards of due process of law, required the executive and legislature to confront difficult criminal justice reforms and demonstrated for the first time that a constitutional court can play an effective role despite the abiding influences of traditional Chinese political-legal culture. Professor Cohen will analyze recent criminal justice progress on both sides of the Taiwan strait and relevant cross-strait interactions and their implications.

About the speaker

Professor Jerome A. Cohen is Co-Director of NYU Law School's US-Asia Law Institute and Adjunct Senior Fellow for Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations. He formerly served as Associate Dean and Director of East Asian Studies at Harvard Law School and for two decades practiced international business law relating to China. He continues to arbitrate Asian commercial disputes and has taken part in many human rights cases involving China. Professor Cohen has published many books and articles and is a columnist for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and China Times (Taiwan).