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A recent string of suicides at Foxconn factories has highlighted the urgent need for China to improve labor conditions. At Foxconn’s Shenzhen plant ten workers have died and three others have attempted suicide within the past year. In response, Foxconn has increased worker pay by nearly seventy percent. Several other companies have also announced wage increases amid poor working conditions.
Provincial governments have responded to poor labor conditions by increasing minimum wage. Beijing, Guangdong, Shanghai and Zhejaing have all recently raised the minimum wage. “The Foxconn incidents were a likely catalyst for the wage increases,” commented Scott Garner, Director of Lehman, Lee & Xu Shanghai Office.
“These developments indicate that the era of incredibly cheap labor in manufacturing within China is beginning to come to an end,” said Edward E. Lehman, Managing Director of Lehman, Lee & Xu....
On May 25, 2010, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (“SAIC”), one of the AML Enforcement Authorities in China, released three revised draft regulations for consultation, with comments due Monday, June 7th:
The three regulations are:
工商行政管理机关禁止垄断协议行为的规定 (SAIC Regulations regarding the Prohibition of Monopoly Agreements). A previous draft was released in April 2009 and commented on by the ABA Antitrust Section.
工商行政管理机关禁止滥用市场支配地位行为的规定 (SAIC Regulations regarding the Prohibition of the Abuse of Market Dominance). A previous draft was released in April 2009 and commented on by the ABA Antitrust Section.
工商行政管理机关制止滥用行政权力排除、限制竞争行为的规定 (SAIC Regulations regarding Provisions to Prevent the Abuse of Administrative Power to Restrict or Eliminate Competition). This is new and has not been released before.
The Consultation Announcement is available at: http://www.saic.gov.cn/gzhd/fldf/201005/t20100525_85719.html
The Draft Regulations (in Chinese) are available at: http://gzhd.saic.gov.cn/gszj/zqyj/login1.jsp
Shanghai, China - April 26, 2010 - The Shanghai 2010 World Expo is expected to draw 70 million visitors to Shanghai, creating concerns about entry and exit access for foreign investors and visitors to China. AmCham Shanghai will hold a Chinese government briefing on exit-entry visa resolutions on Thursday, May 6 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel. Mr. Cai Baodi of Shanghai’s Exit-Entry Administration Bureau (Shanghai Municipal Public Security Bureau) will be invited to share up-to-date policies and procedures for visa service and residence permit applications. Mr. Cai will also share and answer questions on how the Exit-Entry Administration Bureau will implement its management plans for the 2010 World Expo.
“We have an active visa practice in China and have successfully assisted our clients on visa issues for over ten years,” said Edward E. Lehman, Managing Director of Lehman, Lee & Xu. “As lawyers for the Expo and member of AmCham Shanghai, we will be able to help our clients as well as members of AmCham Shanghai with their visa issues.” added Mr. Lehman.
For more information about Lehman, Lee & Xu, as well as a full listing of the firm, please visit the firm's website at www.lehmanlaw.com or feel free to e-mail the Shanghai office at firstname.lastname@example.org. ...
Lehman, Lee & Xu is pleased to announce that it has been distinguished in the category “Rising Star” at the International Legal Awards 2010. “Rising Star” award is aimed at recognizing firms of high potential. It recognizes remarkable evolution and rapid market gain to catch up with current leaders.
The jury included General Counsels and distinguished Lehman, Lee & Xu as a very dynamic firm, able to provide clients with innovative and efficient solutions.
Key figures of the International Legal Alliance Summit & Awards:
- Over 200 nominated law firms in 20 countries
- More than 100 General Counsels of Fortune 500 companies
- 10 Jury panels representing North America, Western Europe. Eastern Europe, Asia and South Pacific, Middle East and South Africa, South America
- 600 delegates (senior representatives of law firms and general counsels) from 40 countries...
The Chinese government certainly appreciates the delicate balance economic policy must strike between sustaining healthy, rapid economic development and transforming into a more domestic-consumption fueled nation. Stimulating domestic spending is necessary, but not sufficient to achieve a healthy economy in 2010.
This year is a crucial year in which China must stabilize its exports to ensure an 8% GDP growth, yet encourage and adjust current economic structure to support more domestic spending, a combination of which is vital to fend off the current global financial crisis. Furthermore, China seeks to achieve the targets of the 11th Five-Year plan and build the foundation for the 12th, putting equal emphasis on natural resource tax reform and the overall improvement of people’s livelihood.
It is a common concern of the deputies to the NPC and CPPCC as well as the Chinese people to see whether China's economy can make a smooth transformation in 2010 in order to prevent an overheated economy and forestall a risky bubble in the real estate market, all the while managing capital inflow as well as currency reevaluation.
With its economic plate rather full, China presents itself as willing and capable to tackle the most pressing issues of 2010. The strength of its economy and people has been tested, and its businesses have proved durable and productive. As a top-3 Chinese law firm, Lehman, Lee, and Xu has experience in corporate business services, inbound and outbound investment, intellectual property, mergers, and acquisitions, and a variety of other services necessary to the thriving world of Chinese business. Scott Garner, director of the Shanghai office, stated “We are especially excited about the business opportunities the upcoming World Expo is going to bring to China. Guaranteed to be a source of wealth for domestic growth, our services at Lehman, Lee, and Xu can be tailored to suit the needs of our customers, strengthened by the experience we have had in previous events such as the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The quality of the Chinese economy is sure to shine in the upcoming months.”
For more information about Lehman, Lee & Xu, please visit the firm's website at www.lehmanlaw.com or feel free to e-mail the Beijing office at email@example.com.
By Morgan Crank...
Edward E. Lehman, Managing Director of Chinese law firm Lehman, Lee & Xu, is scheduled to participate in a webinar discussing patent protection in China on April 28, 2010. Other confirmed attendees include Alex W. Zhang of King and Wood and Elizabeth Chien-Hale of Institute for Intellectual Property in Asia.
Mr. Lehman is planning on addressing the audience on the subjects of: the current state of Chinese IP law, determining the most effective protection and enforcement strategy for your patent portfolio, and the impact of the proposed 3rd amendment of China patent law.
Edward Lehman is the Managing Director of Lehman, Lee & Xu in China where he specializes in the legal aspects of doing business in China. He advises foreign companies on joint ventures, wholly-owned subsidiaries and holding companies, technology licensing, engineering and construction projects, and the financing of such projects, as well as the protection of intellectual property rights in transactions and projects in China. In practice for over 20 years, Edward has advised on a wide variety of China projects ranging from cars to pharmaceuticals to power plants and websites....
Sam Engutsamy, February 5 2010
Adopted by the by the sixth session of the Standing Committee of the 11th National People’s Congress, the Decisions of the State Council to Amend the Implementing Regulations of the Patent Law of the People’s Republic of China (“the Amended Regulations”) came into effect on February 1, 2010. The Amended Regulations are to be read in conjunction with the country’s third amendment to its patent legislation, the Patent Law of the People’s Republic of China (“the Act”), which came into effect on October 1, 2009.
Background: Patent Law
The Act was China’s third amendment to its patent regime. Previous amendments had been brought about through international pressure for China to develop its IPR regime to international standards. The first amendment to China’s Patent Law (“1992 Act”) came around through the 1992 Memorandum of Understanding between the United States and China, and China becoming a party to the Patent Cooperation Treaty. The second amendment (“2000 Act”) came around through entry requirements to the WTO and obligation to protect IPR under the TRIPS Agreement. China’s most recently amendment, the Act, was not created through international pressures, or obligations. Positively, it was through China’s own domestic realisation that changes and updates to their IPR regime were required. The Act was adopted at the 6th Session of Standing Committee of the 11th National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China on December 27, 2008, in accordance with the State Council’s National Intellectual Property Strategy.
The Amended Regulations
The Amended Regulations make a number of modifications to the Patent Law’s previous implementing regime; in total adding nine new rules, removing five previous rules, and amending forty-seven remaining rules. Outlined below are some of the amendments the Amended Regulations address:
(A) Compulsory Licenses:
Article 50 of the Act states that “for the purpose of public health, the patent administrative department of the State Council may grant a compulsory license for a patented pharmaceutical so as to produce and export it to the country or region which conforms to the provisions of the relevant international treaty to which the People’s Republic of China has acceded.” This in effect allows the State to effectively bypass the country’s Patent Laws, and grant a compulsory licence should public health issues aris. What the Act failed to do is provide a definition as to the meaning of “patented pharmaceuticals”.
The Amended Regulations clarifies the Article 50 proviso, by defining patented pharmaceuticals as “any patented product or product directly obtained according to patented processes in the medical and pharmaceutical field to address public health issues, including patented active ingredients needed in the production of the product and diagnostic supplies necessary for the application of the product.”
The Amended Regulations also go onto stipulate that the granting of compulsory licenses should be in line with international agreements China is a binding signatory to.
(B) Security Review:
Article 20 of the Act states that “where an entity or individual intends to file an application in a foreign country for patenting an invention or utility model accomplished in China, he shall report in advance to the patent administrative department of the State Council for confidentiality review.” Failure to submit such a report, would result in the patent being non registerable in China. Article 20 remained silent on the procedures surrounding the confidential examination, and would it would entail. The Amended Regulations, define the meaning of “invention or utility model accomplished in China” as “substantive content of the technical solutions made in China.” Pleasingly, it also provides details regarding the filing of the confidential examination.
(C) Protection of Genetic Resources:
Article 5 of the Act states that “no patent will be granted for an invention based on genetic resources if the access or utilization of the said genetic resources is in violation of any law or administrative regulation.” The Amended Regulations defines “genetic resources” as hereditary material with practical or potential values obtained from human, animals, plants or microbes. The Amended Regulations work in coordination with the Convention on Biodiversity; an international treaty that China signed in June 1992, and ratified in January 1993.
(D) Invention Incentives:
Article 16 of the Act states that “the entity to whom a patent is granted shall give to the inventor or designer of the service invention a reward and shall, after exploitation of the patented invention, pay the inventor or designer a reasonable remuneration on the basis of the scope of popularization and application as well as the economic benefits yielded.” The Act sheds little light on how such “reasonable remuneration” is expected to be calculated. The Amended Regulations outline the use of negotiations between the parties, or using the business entities internal rules in order to ascertain the levels of remuneration to be awarded.
The Amended Regulations highlight two main pointers. Firstly, it allows certainty to prevail, by clarifying aspects left opened or undefined by the Act. Secondly, it highlights China’s commitment in strengthen its IPR regime, and working hand in hand with international obligations she is a signatory to.
With China’s Trademark laws currently being amended, we can only anticipate China’s IPR regime strengthening in subsequent years, and the fulfilment of the country’s National IP Strategy.
Fancy a trip to the Summer Palace?
…or the Temple of Heaven, or the Badaling Great Wall? Well, you could stand the chance of winning entry to such locations, and others during the Chinese’s Spring Festival with a free giveaway.
Beijing’s tourism authority, www.visitbeijing.com.cn, are planning on distributing 300,000 free e-tickets to 32 of Beijing’s premier tourist attracts, beginning from February 12, 2010. All applicants need do is visit the above website, fill in personal details, including mobile phone, and select their three preferences in tourist location. A mobile phone can only be registered once, and lucky winners are required to redeem their tickets between February 14, and March 15 2010.
China’s tourism industry is expected to make 1.4 trillion RMB in 2010, as the number of domestic trips increase. Also as a result of inexpensive flights to Beijing, Shanghai and other mainland cities, China is becoming top destination for foreign tourists.
Such a move allows for more citizens to experience and visit their cultural background. With sites such as the Great Wall, I feel that pictures do not give this magnificent structure enough credit; you really need to get out there, and see it with your own eyes, to realise what an amazing feet of architecture it really is!
China’s boom in domestic tourism was highlighted upon in a recent NY Times article. ...
Volkswagen v Trademark Review and Appraisal Board of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce of the People’s Republic of China (“TRAB”)
- Volkswagen sought to registered the trademark “Tuan”, and submitted an application with the TRAB. Volkswagen applied on June 8, 2004;
- Their trademark application was in respect numerous items surrounding the auto trade;
- Zhejiang Shaoxing Kesiweiteli Electromechanical Co., Ltd (“Zhejiang”) registered the trademark “Antu” on October 10, 1986, and sort to extend this until January 29, 2017.
- In light of Zhejiang’s extension, the TRAB rejected Volkswagen’s application for registration;
- Volkswagen appealed to Beijing No.1 Intermediate People’s Court
Volkswagen claimed the following:
- There were no similarities between the two names;
- There were distinct differences between the two trademarks;’
- Proposed use of trademark was on different products to the trademark already in use;
- Volkswagen claimed In light of these factors that registration of the “Tuan” mark would not cause any confusion amongst the public.
Beijing No.1 Intermediate People’s Court decision:
- The court found in favour of Volkswagen, in that the two trademarks would not cause confusion amongst the public;
- TRAB’s decision was overruled and a review is required.
If two countries enter into Double Taxation Agreement, investors of both countries enjoy special treatment in respect of dividends, interest, and royalties. The State Tax Administration issued the Notice which addresses on identification and determination of a “Beneficial Owner” under the Double Tax Agreement.
Qualification of a “beneficial owner” under the Notice
The Notice defines a “beneficial owner” is a person who owns and controls an income or the rights and property from which an income is derived. A beneficial owner, which can be an individual, a company, or any other group, is generally engaged in substantial business activities, under the Notice.
According to the Notice, an agent or a conduit company is not considered as a beneficial owner. Therefore, Notice defines a "conduit company" as a company that is incorporated for the purpose of the avoidance or reduction of tax, or the transfer or accumulation of profits. This type of company merely registers in a country in order to satisfy a legally required organization form; it does not conduct substantial business activities such as production, trading, and management.
Determination of a Beneficial Owner
The Notice lists the following factors, which are not in favor of positive determination of a "beneficial owner":
1. The applicant is obligated to pay or distribute the income in full or a majority portion thereof (e.g., 60 percent or more) to residents of a third country or region within a prescribed time period (e.g., within 12 months after receiving the income).
2. The applicant has few or no business activities other than holding the rights or assets that generate the income.
3. If the applicant is a company, the assets, operation scale, and personnel of the applicant are small in size or amount, which does not match the amount of income.
4. The applicant has no or almost no right to control or dispose of the income or the rights or assets generating the income and assumes no or little risk.
5. The contracting country (region) does not tax the income, or the effective tax rate is very low.
6. The lender to a loan agreement that generates interest income has another loan agreement or deposit contract with a third party; the amount, interest rate, and the time of conclusion with respect to the third-party contract is similar to those of the first loan agreement.
7. The licensor to an agreement on copyright, patent, and technology licensing or transfer has a contract to license or transfer those from a third party.
When an applicant applies for tax relief under the DTA, he or she should prove himself as a beneficial owner providing the information relevant to the factors listed. The tax authorities should determine whether the applicant is a beneficial owner by analyzing the above factors relevant to the income. If necessary, they may confirm the information relevant to the identification of a beneficial owner through information exchange with a treaty country....
In October 2009, the lawsuit was filed under the Chinese Court against Google by a Chinese author Mian Mian upon violation of her copyright. The author Mian Mian argued that Google scanned her latest novel entitled “Acid House” into its online library without her permission.
Mian Mian, a counterculture writer known for her lurid tales of sex, drugs and nightlife, wants to be recovered her damages with amount of 6000Euro and a public apology, according to her lawyer Sun Jingwei.
Google removed Mian Mian’s works after it learned of the lawsuit, but Sun said that author was not satisfied. He further stated that: “we think even if they remove Mian Mian’s work their previous behavior is a violation of her rights. We demand a public apology.”
This case would be the first brought against Google in China over the Google Books project, which itself is no stranger to the courtroom.
The China Written Works Copyright Society called on Google to negotiate compensation for Chinese authors whose work was scanned into its library. Also Chinese Writer’s Association said in last December it had found more than 80,000 works by Chinese authors scanned into the library. Furthermore, the Association said it would hold talks with Google in near future on resolving the disputes.
The Law On Prohibiting Mineral Explorations in Forest Reserves and River Basins will affect more than 500 license holders
By Tsolmon Shar
07 Januray 2009
On 16 July 2009, The Parliament of Mongolia (The State Great Khural) adopted the Law on Prohibiting Mineral Explorations in Forest Reserves and River Basins. According to the new Law, it is strictly prohibited to explore and mine the minerals in the area of forest reserves and river basins. However, this provision doesn’t apply to strategically important mineral deposits.
The approval of the law brings significant outcomes to reduce environmental pollution, however, it also causes controversial scene in the mining sector. Due to implementation of the law, all the exploring and mining licenses, which permitted within 200m from forest reserves and water basins, will be withdrawn within 5 months. It means, the State will compensate more than 500 license holders, who affected by the new Law. However, the issues about how to compensate those license holders haven’t discussed by Mongolian authorities.
LEHMAN, LEE & XU is one of top Law Firms in China, which opened its branch office in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Professional lawyers at LEHMAN, LEE & XU’s provides efficient legal advices and solutions to its international and Chinese clients.
To learn more about the Lehman, Lee & Xu, please visit to website: www.lehmanlaw.com
10-2 Liangmaqiao Diplomatic Compound, No. 22 Dongfang East Road, Chaoyang District
Beijing 100600 China
Tel: (86)(10)-8532 1919 Fax: (86)(10)-8532 1999
The American Chamber of Commerce (“AmCham”) Shanghai to hold an education and training conference on December 10, 2009.
The all day event, to be held at the Renaissance Shanghai Zhongshan Park Hotel will be addressing issues surrounding and related to effective training. Keynote speakers include Lorna Davis - Chairman and President of Kraft Foods, China; Grant Mosey – Vice President and Director of Coca-Cola University, Coca-Cola (China) Beverage Ltd; and Richard Rothman – Managing Director of Gap International (Asia Pacific Region).
For further details on this AmCham event please visit: http://www.amcham-shanghai.org/AmChamPortal/Event/EventDetail.aspx?EventId=3956
Lehman, Lee & Xu has offices located throughout mainland China including Shanghai. For further information related to this office, our practice areas, or any other questions please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our website at www.lehmanlaw.com.
Lehman Lee & Xu, the top three Chinese commercial and leading IP law firm, has successfully assisted a Thailand Restaurant located in Beijing to solve its labor dispute with an employee recently. The employee filed a lawsuit at Beijing Labor Dispute Arbitration Commission after resignation claiming relevant payment of compensations. With the hard work and positive efforts on this case, Lehman Lee & Xu protects the client’s maximum rights and interests from the judgment.
For more information about Lehman, Lee & Xu, please visit the firm’s website, which is www.lehmanlaw.com.
Arriving at Beijing Capital International Airport at the end of August 2009, I was immediately overwhelmed. The massive complex, complete with its own train to ferry you to your baggage, confronts you with the realization, “I’m in China right now.” After a good bit of waiting for other students to arrive, we were whisked off to a bus ready to take us to school, Peking University. The bus ride, itself, was an experience. As we rode through the streets of Beijing, we were immediately overwhelmed by the size of the city and the number of people. We could see the Bird’s Nest and the Water Cube from the highway. By the time we arrived at Beida, we were awestruck.
Given some time to transition, we then began classes. Thankfully, my courses are conducted in English, as my Chinese is simply not good enough for Chinese instruction. Luckily, one of my classes—Sino-American Relations—is also attended by a few Chinese students, in addition to all the other Westerners. This allows for an interesting dialogue on the issues at hand. The ideas communicated by both the Western and Chinese students are truly intriguing and eye-opening.
BEIJING, Aug. 27, China's top legislature Thursday agreed a legislation overhaul with the updating and revision of 141 provisions in 59 different laws.
Most amendments focused on deleting outdated terms or clarifying them, as well as making certain provisions consistent with revised laws.
Article 7 of the General Principle of the Civil Law of the People's Republic of China, which reads, "Civil activities shall have respect for social ethics and shall not harm the public interest, undermine state economic plans or disrupt social economic order," has had the expression "undermine state economic plans" deleted.
The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) agreed that "state economic plans" was redundant with China's transition from a planned to a market-oriented economy over the past three decades.
In laws regarding fisheries, railways, urban real estate and electric power, the expression "requisition" has been changed into "levy".
In China, "requisition" refers to the transfer of the right of use, while "levy" refers to the transfer of ownership from individuals or groups to the state.
In many laws regarding mineral resources, wild life protection, frontier hygiene and quarantine, teachers, and civil aviation, references to specific articles of the Criminal Law have been altered to "according to relevant provisions of the Criminal Law".
The 10th session of the Standing Committee of the 11th NPC was held in Beijing from Monday to Thursday. At the ninth session held in June, eight laws and regulations were annulled.
Original Source: Xinhua
Edward E. Lehman was invited by CCTV 9 to speak on the recent release of the Bomber of Lockerbie Air Crash in the Dialogue Program on August 26, 2009. Please see the program at: http://english.cctv.com/program/e_dialogue/20090827/104761.shtml
Edward E. Lehman, Managing Director of Lehman, Lee & Xu, who has been working in China for over twenty years, has often been invited by various media to talk on issues about Chinese laws as well as international laws.
By Ding Qingfen (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-08-26 07:59
China's rise as the world largest exporter, though significant, does not mean Chinese exports will be of as high a quality as Germany's goods, experts said.
The Chinese government should seriously consider ways to improve the quality of goods for export and create more value-added products to strengthen its competitiveness, they said.
For the first time, China took the lead as the world's export champion, surpassing Germany by a minimal amount in the first half of the year.
A report released Tuesday by the World Trade Organization (WTO) shows that from January to June, China exported goods worth $521.7 billion. Germany, which has been the world's biggest exporter since 2003, exported goods worth $521.6 billion.
Despite the fact that Chinese exports have declined for nine months, "China's economic power is still rising, and excluding the exchange rate factor, China is expected to surpass Japan as the second-largest economy this year," said Cai Haitao, inspector of the Department of Policy Research under the Ministry of Commerce.
In late July, the WTO predicted China would pass Germany as the largest exporter in 2009.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development also said the ratio of China's foreign trade to global trade will increase from the current 8.7 percent to 10 percent when the global economy recovers.
"The figure is not surprising, thanks to the nation's growing economic strength. And the possibility is high that the momentum will continue," said Li Daokui, senior Chinese economist and director of the Economic and Management Institute of Tsinghua University.
But WTO chief economist Patrick Low said it was impossible to say which of the two nations would come out on top this year or in 2010.
"It's a very tight race," Reuters quoted Low as saying Tuesday.
"Obviously, the result will depend not only on what happens to export volumes, but what happens to exchange rates."
Last Tuesday, Germany's DIHK export association was quoted by AFP as saying that global demand for high-worth and high-priced products made in Germany had shrunk sharply during the economic crisis.
"Germany's trading partners are going more for cheaper products now," it said.
For China, the problem is still the quality and mix of exports.
"The Chinese economy has not benefited much from the exports. The biggest concern is the quality of exports," said Li.
Since late last year, trade protectionism against China has kept rising.
The nation has become a major target of trade remedy measures launched by developed nations, including the US and Europe, and developing nations, represented by India and Turkey.
From last October to this June, investigations concerning trade remedy measures against China were valued at $9.8 billion, rocketing up by 113 percent compared with the first three quarters of 2008.
"The question is, why it was all against China, not Germany?" said Li.
Germany has long enjoyed a good reputation for its high-tech and quality products. "Chinese exporters need to develop more value-added goods," said Li.
And Chinese exporters need to shift their focus to emerging markets, instead of the US and Europe, said Cai.
China's exports to the Middle East, East Europe, Africa and Latin America, respectively, accounted for 9.2, 3.7, 10.4 and 6.9 percent of their markets. But comparatively, the figure was 17 percent to 22 percent for the US and Europe.
The share of China's exports in the major 12 trade partners rose rapidly amid the economic recession.
According to the Customs, the market share climbed from 16.2 percent during the first quarter to 19.3 percent in early 2008. The 12 trade partners imported 75 percent of Chinese goods.
Although the global economy seems to have bottomed out, there is no sign that it will recover soon, which will force Chinese exporters to struggle for months.
"The global economy will experience low-speed growth for a long period of time," said Cai.
Aug 25, 2009
A test of the judicial system at the grass-roots level - that is how the lawyer for eight Henan villagers, who were convicted of libelling the village's Communist Party chief, sees his clients' possible third trial, after their two previous appeals were upheld.
The Qinyang Intermediate People's Court still has to decide whether it will pursue another trial. Originally it sentenced the peasants, from Panyao village of Shanwangzhuang town, to prison terms ranging from one to two years in October.
However, in the first appeal, the Jiaozuo People's Court found those terms inappropriate and sent the case back to Qinyang for retrial. In the second trial in June, the Qinyang court increased sentences for four defendants and eliminated probation for three defendants considered guilty only of minor offences.
Li Huiqing , a Beijing-based lawyer who represents the eight peasants, said while the first Qinyang ruling was "wrong", the second was "dead wrong". A second appeal was filed in Jiaozuo; the court upheld it on August 5 and, yet again, sent the case back to Qinyang.
"I think everyone understands the case was tossed back for a retrial because the Qinyang court didn't have enough evidence to support the [original] libel verdict," Mr Li said. "But the court, without showing further evidence, simply added extra penalties to the original charges [the second time]."
The eight villagers were arrested for handing out fliers in March last year, accusing village party chief Wu Xiaobao of abusing his power and taking money from the village's public account.
Mr Li said Qinyang police had arrested the eight peasants and filed charges. But according to mainland libel laws, only the person harmed by the alleged libel has the right to take the case to court. In this case, Mr Li said, Qinyang police arrested the villagers on Mr Wu's behalf.
Apart from the issue of who is allowed to launch a libel case, the accusations were written only after the village office refused to detail how the public money had been spent.
"Even with a little speculation, the eight peasants made most of their remarks based on the truth they knew," Mr Li said. "I think it will be a sad day for China's judicial system if the [Qinyang] court chooses to stick to its wrong decisions even after all the evidence has twice shown they were wrong," he said.
Mr Li said that, in his opinion, even if the Qinyang court convicted the villagers, the Jiaozuo court would throw out the verdict yet again.
Source: South China Morning Post
Updated: 2009-08-19 09:28
An outspoken Beijing lawyer has been arrested for tax evasion nearly three weeks after he was detained, his lawyer said Monday.
Xu Zhiyong, co-founder of Gongmeng, a legal assistance group, was taken from his home by security officers at dawn on July 29, according to a statement from Gongmeng.
Zhou Ze, Xu's lawyer, told China Daily Tuesday that Beijing prosecutors had approved a police application to arrest Xu for tax evasion.
Beijing municipal authorities ordered the closure of Gongmeng last month for not being "registered properly". Beijing tax authorities also sent a formal notice to the center last month, imposing a fine of 1.4 million yuan ($207,000) for evading taxes on funds received from overseas.
The notice of his arrest has been sent to Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, where Xu works as a professor.
An officer with the university's security department who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue confirmed to China Daily that the school had received the notice, but would not give further details.
Press officers with the Beijing public security bureau and procuratorate said they have no information about Xu's arrest.
The arrest brings Xu's case closer to a possible trial, although officials have not made a firm decision to prosecute. If tried and found guilty, Xu faces a maximum penalty of seven years in jail, according to the Criminal Law.
But Zhou said he considers the charge improper as only intentional tax evasion or the refusal to pay taxes despite of government notification could result in a criminal punishment.
"Neither of these two conditions apply to Xu's case. He has never been informed of failing to pay tax before," Zhou said.
Xu is currently being kept at the Beijing detention house, Zhou said.
"I paid a visit to him last Friday and he looked fine," he said.
Zhou said that there is no need for others to associate the charge with speculation that the government is cracking down on Gongmeng.
"We will try to defend him for the charge of tax evasion and I hope people won't associate too much with it."
Xu, in his late 30s, gained national attention in 2003 when he took up the case of Sun Zhigang, a college graduate who died after being beaten in a penitentiary hospital in the southern province of Guangdong.
The case helped to bring about the abolition of such penitentiary hospitals used to hold migrants accused of not having the right documents.
The combination of legal casework and public advocacy used by Xu and his colleagues set an example for many subsequent campaigns.
In 2005, Xu registered the Gongmeng group. With other scholars and lawyers, Xu has been providing legal help to the country's disadvantaged groups, including some of the parents of children who fell ill after drinking contaminated milk powder last year.
Information about Xu has been blocked on the internet Tuesday as the search for "Xu Zhiyong (Chinese characters)"on Google.cn and Baidu, two major search engines, generated: "Your search results don't conform to related laws and policy".
Source: China Daily
14 gangs busted, 100 arrested in triad crackdown in Chongqing
Aug 14, 2009
Police in Chongqing have broken up 14 organised crime gangs and detained scores of local businessmen, including three well-known billionaires, for their involvement in triad activities, the municipal government said yesterday.
A total of 100 mobsters, including 19 triad bosses, were arrested during a 50-day assault on organised crime in China's biggest city.
Crime gangs have got out of control in the booming industrial municipality - home to more than 30 million people.
The crackdown coincides with the downfall of Wen Qiang - director of the Chongqing Justice Bureau and formerly deputy police chief for 16 years - who was put under internal party investigation last Saturday for his alleged connections to organised crime.
It also turns the spotlight on the dangerous combination of power, money and gangsters that has made organised crime part of everyday life in Chongqing.
"Among the detained suspects, many are local entrepreneurs and businessmen, including billionaires," government spokesman Zhou Bo said.
Han Deyun , a local lawyer and a National People's Congress deputy who was briefed earlier by the authorities about the case, said at least three local billionaires had been detained.
Mr Han said those detained were property tycoon Chen Mingliang , motorbike tycoon Gong Gangmo , and Li Qiang - a local people's congress deputy who was once considered "the richest man" in the city's Banan district.
All three had developed close ties with Wen Qiang over the years.
With so many business leaders involved, Mr Zhou said the local government had to take care that the crackdown did not trigger a massive wave of business closures.
"When our police have gone to freeze the assets and ill-gotten fortunes amassed by these people, we considered the impact on [legitimate] business. We've reserved some money to ensure the affected companies and factories will continue to operate and do not have to close down," he said.
At a press conference to announce the arrests, Mr Zhou was asked to confirm whether 200 property developers in the city had been detained. The spokesman sidestepped the question, stressing instead that the crackdown had the full backing of Chongqing people.
In an apparent attempt to calm local business people, who feared they might be targeted in the anti-triad operation, Chongqing's recently appointed police chief, Wang Lijun , had met 30 of them on July 31, said Mr Han, who was present at the meeting.
Mr Wang told the business people not to worry even though some of them had paid money in the past to the arrested gangsters.
The police chief said he understood that many businessmen were coerced by the gangsters into paying them money. He said they would not be punished for such actions and pledged to relieve some of them from the extortive loans they had with the crime gangs.
Mr Wang also pledged that Chongqing police would not use the crackdown to extort money from the business leaders.
"He told them that police would protect their investment and legitimate business," Mr Han said. "Mr Wang said `we won't throw you to the wolves after saving you from the mouth of a tiger'. The business leaders think Mr Wang is an upright police chief who is really going to get tough on gangsters."
Source: South China Morning Post
By Zhang Qi and Cui Xiaohuo (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-08-12 07:51
Nearly six weeks after being detained by the Shanghai State Security Bureau for suspected espionage activities, Shanghai procuratorate authorities have now formally arrested four Rio Tinto employees.
The four, including Australian executive Stern Hu, have been charged with infringing business secrets and bribery, the Xinhua News Agency reported yesterday.
The arrest came shortly after Hu received his second consular visit from Australian officials.
Australia's Foreign Minister, Stephen Smith, said in Canberra yesterday Hu, an Australian citizen, had contact with consular representatives but he did not elaborate.
Chinese legal experts said the case was "complicated" but insisted Hu had been treated in line with normal legal procedures.
Wang Minyuan, an expert on legal procedure at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told China Daily that police and prosecutors' dealings in the Rio Tinto case had been legal.
"China's criminal law of procedure stipulates that the police normally must arrest or release detainees within one month from the start of their detention. However, detention may be prolonged if prosecutors need to conduct additional investigation," he said.
The Criminal Procedural Law stipulates that prosecutors may apply for additional time for investigations up to twice, which would allow police to detain suspects for one additional month each time.
The same law stipulates that legal representation must be given to suspects if the case is connected to State secrets.
Rio Tinto, meanwhile, has moved employees out of its Shanghai office following the detention and arrest of Hu and the three others, said Sam Walsh, head of London-based Rio's iron ore unit, according to Bloomberg yesterday.
Walsh said some non-Chinese employees in Shanghai had moved to Singapore.
China is Australia's second-largest trading partner.
Source: China Daily
Aug 10, 2009
Greens Power Equipment (China) and China Longyuan Electric Power Corp plan to raise up to a combined HK$6 billion in Hong Kong initial public offerings as they take advantage of rising mainland demand for alternative energy projects.
Both offerings are planned to be completed before the end of the year and investment bank Morgan Stanley of the United States is the sole adviser for the two companies.
Market sources indicated Greens Power, the smaller of the two firms, could start its offering before China Longyuan.
Greens Power, founded in 2002 and based in Shanghai, was solely owned by Greens Power of Britain and was hoping to sell a stake of up to HK$1 billion for a listing on the main board in late September or early October, sources said.
Two other sources said China Longyuan aimed to raise at least HK$5 billion by the end of the year.
Greens Power offers a variety of environmentally friendly boilers and heat-transfer products for the power generation and petrochemical industries.
Green energy, or alternative energy, is considered to be non-polluting and includes electricity production by geothermal, wind, solar or hydropower methods, instead of the traditional use of coal.
The alternative energy sector on the mainland has attracted strong interest from institutional investors given its huge growth potential and is backed by policy support from the central government.
China Longyuan, the nation's largest producer of wind power, is believed to have lodged its listing application with the Hong Kong stock exchange.
The company is the renewable energy unit of China Guodian Corp, one of the five state-owned producers of electrical power. Last year, it accounted for more than 20 per cent of mainland wind-power producing capacity with power generation capacity of 2,630 megawatts.
China Longyuan boosted its generation capacity to 3,000 MW in the first half of the year and hopes to raise that to 6,000 MW next year.
Given the recent strong market sentiment and ample capital inflows, at least 10 companies are believed to be planning offerings in Hong Kong aiming to raise a combined HK$20 billion.
The H-share offering of China Metallurgical Group is the biggest issue among those planning a September offering. The company is thought to be aiming to raise HK$10 billion in Hong Kong as well as to tap the domestic market by selling US$1.4 billion worth of A shares on the Shanghai stock market.
Source: South China Morning Post...
Updated: 2009-08-06 14:51
China will further enhance access in its service market and expand areas and channels for non-government investment, according to a fact sheet released in Beijing on Wednesday.
The move was aimed to expedite the development of its services industry and increase the share of services in GDP, said the economic track joint fact sheet of the first China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED).
In the fact sheet, the two countries agreed to take measures respectively to promote balanced and sustainable economic growth in their domestic economies both to ensure a strong recovery from the international financial crisis and to bring about more balanced and sustainable global economic growth after a global recovery is firmly established.
It said, firstly, both countries would enhance communication and the exchange of information regarding macroeconomic policy, and would work together to pursue policies of adjusting domestic demand and relative prices to lead to more sustainable and balanced trade and growth.
Secondly, both sides would also pursue forward-looking monetary policies with due regard for the ramifications of those policies for the international economy.
In addition, they would encourage new approaches to infrastructure financing to assist with economic recovery.
The fact sheet said the United States would take measures to increase national saving as a share of GDP.
"The US household saving rate has already risen sharply as a result of the crisis, contributing to a significant decline in the US current account deficit, and the United States will adopt policies that will continue to encourage household saving," it said.
The United States would also reform its health care system with the aim of controlling rising health care costs for businesses and government while assuring high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans, and was committed to reducing the federal budget deficit relative to GDP to a sustainable level by 2013.
As for China, the fact sheet said the country would continue to implement structural and macroeconomic policies to stimulate domestic demand and increase the contribution of consumption to GDP growth.
China would also deepen social safety net reform, including strengthening its basic old-age insurance system and enterprise annuities, it said.
The first S&ED was held in Washington, D.C. from July 27 to 28. The mechanism was jointly launched by Chinese President Hu Jintao and US President Obama during their meeting in April in London as a way to show elevation of the importance of China-US cooperation under the new historical circumstances.
Source: China Daily...
The Internet in China needs to be administered by additoinal laws because what was once a virtual world is now a substantial part of the real one, a senior official has said.
"The government should make efforts to strengthen the legislation of the Internet so it can be regulated effectively," Cai Mingzhao, vice-minister of the State Council Information Office, said at the UK-China Internet Roundtable meeting yesterday.
The Chinese government has already set up a basic legal framework that regulates Internet information, tackles cyber crime and protects network security.
Cai said the State must continually develop legislation to deal with new Internet-related issues as they arise, so the Internet can be managed.
There are now 338 million Internet users in China - more than a quarter of the population. Some 181 million write blogs and the Internet is increasingly being seen as a "new channel" for public opinion. Bloggers have played an important role in busting corrupt officials and reporting incidents, such as the Urumqi riot.
But the challenge of managing blogs and bloggers has become an important issue for the government, said Liu Zhengrong, deputy director of the Internet affairs bureau of the State Council.
"Bloggers are prohibited from leaving 'harmful' or 'unhealthy' comments on the Internet, in order to protect the general public," Liu said. "Website administrators have responsibility to monitor and control the contents that are posted on their websites by bloggers."
"Harmful" and "unhealthy" information includes the spreading of rumors, slander, porn, gambling, violence, details of murder and terror and the instigating of crime.
Original source: China Daily
Updated: 2009-07-27 09:47
An executive was beaten to death on Friday as 3,000 steel workers threatened with job cuts protested following the takeover of their company in Tonghua, Jilin province.
Jianlong Steel Holding Company representative Chen Guojun was killed at a facility run by Tonghua Iron and Steel Group, in northeast China's old industrial heartland.
The brawl broke out after Tonghua workers were told to expect job losses during a meeting with a delegation from Jianlong Steel, a privately owned firm based in Beijing.
It was the second time Jianlong had launched a takeover bid for the State giant and many feared the company planned to drain State assets before following up with cost-cutting measures, including redundancies.
"Employees (many of whom are shareholders) are close to enjoying financial gains as the price of steel continues to rise," said a police officer that identified herself only as Wang.
"Then, Chen disillusioned workers and provoked them by saying most of them would be laid off in three days.
"Chen, saying that a total number of 30,000 employees would be cut to 5,000, infuriated the crowd."
The angry steel workers beat Chen and then blocked ambulances, police and government officers from reaching him. He is believed to have died in the midst of the steel workers at 8 pm Friday.
"Chen, the manager, did not deserve to be killed. Unfortunately, he was targeted after unleashing the anger of the furious crowd," said Wang.
The demonstration led to a halt in production at all of the seven blast furnaces belonging to the steel manufacturer, which has a yearly throughput of about seven million tons.
Jianlong held 49 percent of shares in Tonghua between 2005 and the start of 2009, and restructured the company.
Last year, the joint venture experienced significant economic losses due to the global financial crisis, leading to a drop in production and cuts in salaries, causing discontent among workers.
One netizen said the murder at the end of last year of Song Kai, the head of a Tonghua-affiliated steel mill, allegedly at the hands of a 28-year-old worker, was another example of the friction between management and workers in the joint venture.
Jianlong left the partnership in March and workers reportedly celebrated with fireworks.
This month, Tonghua State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission reported that the company, which "went through some very tough challenges in past 10 years", had made a profit of 42.7 million yuan ($6.2 million) in June.
But on July 22, workers learned that Jianlong had secured more than 50 percent of the company's shares, giving it full control.
Local government representatives announced on Friday night that the deal would now be shelved permanently and the crowd dispersed.
Jianlong and Tonghua are respectively ranked 158th and 244th in the top 500 Chinese companies.
Source: China Daily
Published: July 8th, 2009
BEIJING – While Edward Lehman, Managing Director of leading red circle law firm Lehman, Lee & Xu is no stranger to providing counsel to diplomatic missions and financial institutions, Lehman is also widely recognized as an expert in the field of mining law. “The mining sector in China has developed later than developed countries and the authorities have had to develop laws in a very short time”, states Ed Lehman, Managing Director of the firm, “as one of the longest established law firms we have been at the forefront of legal developments in the field, giving us a unique perspective in this area. Similarly our Mongolia office is the leading firm regarding mining and resource law in that jurisdiction” .
Lehman, the longest serving (and only foreign) Managing Director of any law firm in China, has long had an interest in the area and was recently appointed to the board of directors of the Shoshone mining corporation, based in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. “I’ve had a passion for the field for a long time due to its relevance to the economy and its fascinating history. To be appointed as a board member was truly an honor”. Lehman’s passion for the mining sector has led to him being called upon by the business community in China to assist with mining related matters. “I’m always happy to help out in any way I can. My door is always open”.
The Silver Summit is the pinnacle event in the silver mining calendar, bringing experts from the field globally each year for to discuss the development of the global silver mining industry.
The two day conference organized by the Pan American Silver Corporation is being held in Spokane Washington, a mining centre known for its proximity to some of North America’s largest silver mines. The summit brings together some of the most prominent names in the field including Ross Beatty, Earl Bennett, David Bond and Jeffrey Christian. “You literally have the global silver mining industry’s key people at this event” relays Lehman. “Bringing these names toghther with some of the leading players in the field commercially such as Bear Creek,Endeavor and First Majestic you really have an unmissable event”.
Eion Murdock Interviewed by CCTV 9 to Talk on the Relationship Between Federal Government and the State Governments of the United States
On July 14, 2009, Eion Murdock, Foreign Legal Counselor of Lehman, Lee & Xu Was Interviewed on the telephone by CCTV 9 to talk on the relationship between the Federal Government and the State Governments of the United States in the CCTV Dialogue program entitled "Ethnic Autonomy and economic prosperity".
Mr. Murdock gave a brief introduction on how the Federal Government of the United States and the 50 state governments deal with issues that occur between the federal government and the various states.
The program, which aired on July 14, focused on several issues relating to the recent unrest in the Xinjiang region of western China.
Published: July 8th, 2009
BEIJING – Attorneys from Lehman, Lee & Xu’s Beijing practice recently presented to students from the University of Minnesota School of Law and Renmin School of Law. The program, which gives students from the University of Minnesota and other law schools the chance to experience Chinese law and culture for a month each summer demonstrates the increasing importance foreign law schools are placing on Chinese law. “
Attorneys Andrew Lillis (a Minnesota alumi) and Marisa Planells Valero spoke about the life of a foreign lawyer in China, using practical examples to augment their talk. “The practical aspects are really the most important. There is only so much that can be learned in the classroom. It is our hope that providing an insight into the way we practice law will provide the students with an added dimension”, relays Lehman.
Such programs were virtually unheard of even several years ago however there are now a number of such programs where students from a number of U.S. and European law schools visit China. “While few will want to practice long term in China many find it useful to have an overview of the legal system here. I really think it helps them in their careers”.
Lehman, Lee & Xu has had a long and fruitful relationship with Renmin University, having hosted a number of its professors as “of counsel” to boost its litigation practice. “I have always viewed Renmin University as one of the most innovative in China” , relays Ed, long time China resident who has forged relationships with a number of China’s top educational institutions.
The firm, one of China’s largest, is a leader in the field of corporate law and also specialized in intellectual property. With a team comprised of both foreign and Chinese law styled on an American law firm model the firm offers a unique approach amongst Chinese law firms. ...