I am delighted to report that our China Program 2012 continues to be very exciting and filled with enthusiastic, culturally aware, and sensitive students and faculty who are thoroughly enjoying the exotic experience of China, the beauties of Hangzhou, the grandeur of Beijing, and the cosmopolitan old and new world nature of Shanghai. Judge John Walker of the United States Court of Appeals second circuit is a superb addition to our program. He is a true expert in the rule of law in China, and when he delivered his Distinguished Guest Lecture yesterday at the Zhejiang University Guanghua School of Law, the audience was full of Chinese students, professors, and legal scholars anxious to hear him speak and to see him in person. His insights into the development of Chinese legal reform are invaluable. He and I both attend the course in Chinese Legal System and Its Reforms, and as a result there is an extraordinary and I believe useful dialogue between scholars and students of East and West that may have an impact someday. Judge Walker is teaching in the course on International Business Transactions, and he has had opportunities to interract at dinners and at school and in the hotel with all the student and faculty here. He is wonderful, and I hope he will come back again to our program.
Our four-day trip to Beijing was better than ever. We visited the Beijing Supreme Court by special invitation, and Justice Jiang Huiling and two other judges and law clerk gave presentations about Chinese legal reform. The building is absolutely breathtaking...all in marble from floor to ceiling. Lots of formality and security. The full morning there was memorable!
We then visited Tian An Men Square on the eve of the anniversary of the big event in l989. Not a word was spoken about that historic event. We visited the inimitable Forbidden City, the great palaces and courtyards of the Emperor, and the next day we walked up the Great Wall! We visited the Ming Tombs, had lunch with a local Chinese family, ate Peking roast duck dinner, went to the Beijing Opera (and saw sumptuous costumes and dancing that were unforgettable), went to another Acrobat show, saw a Kung Fu show, and rode in a rickshaw in the Beijing Hou Hai area (like a suburb not far from the splendid Forbidden City that was in the past occupied by rich and important people who did not live in the Forbidden City). The Ming Dynasty style of these very old houses is carefully preserved. Quite a leap into the past!
All in all the trip has been full of adventure, learning, and intellectual excitement. I sense that the students have learned a great deal about international and comparative law, life in China, and life in the United States. Travel and study abroad are a necessity! Now we all know what was meant by "the grand tour" and its educational values.
I applaud all the students and faculty in this program for the enrichment they have gained and for the enjoyment they have provided to me personally as the director of this program, which is in its sixth year.
Professor Susan Tiefenbrun