Faculty members and students to speak at conference on Chinese Law in Germany

Cologne, Germany

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Two faculty members, a current Penn State Law student, and a graduate of the School of International Affairs (SIA) are traveling to Germany next month to speak at a global conference on Chinese Law. Professors Larry Cata Backer and Beth Farmer, along with S.J.D. student Shan Gao and SIA alumnus Keren Wang ’13 are all on the agenda at the European China Law Studies Association at the University of Cologne in Germany.

On Sept. 26, Backer, professor of law and international affairs, and Gao will each present their research on Chinese political and legal theory of a panel titled “The Semiotics of Chinese Communist Party ‘Law’ and State Law, Part I.” Backer’s remarks will focus on the ideological structures of Chinese constitutionalism, while Gao will speak specifically on the historical origins and current application of the concept of the People’s Democratic Dictatorship and the Mass Line.

“The ECLSA is one of the most important gatherings of scholars and policymakers with an interest in China,” said Backer. “Anyone interested in Chinese law and systems, and anyone doing business with China would profit form much of the research produced by ECLSA members.”

On Sept. 27, Farmer, professor of law and international affairs, and Wang will present their research in a panel titled “The Semiotics of Chinese Communist Party ‘Law’ and State Law, Part II.” Farmer will take on the topic of the 2008 anti-monopoly law, and Wang will reexamine Hong Kong’s political tensions under the theoretical foundation of the Chinese socialist system.

“It is quite an honor for our students to be speaking at this event,” said Farmer. “Prospective speakers are required to submit an abstract to be selected for the program, so it is impressive for them to have been chosen.”

Since its founding in 2006, the European China Law Studies Association has emerged as an important international organization for scholars and practitioners who are engaged in the study of Chinese law, from both comparative and interdisciplinary perspectives. The ECLSA meets annually to provide an opportunity for global scholars to explore the potential for mutual exchange, joint research, and a European network of China law studies.

Gao and Wang are both Chinese attorneys studying in the U.S. Gao received his LL.M. degree from Penn State Law, and is now furthering his legal education and studying for his S.J.D. Wang graduated from the Penn State School of International Affairs and is a Ph.D. student in the Penn State Department of Communication Arts and Sciences.

Backer researches the legal and policy implications of globalization, especially as it relates to the emergence of ways of understanding constitutional and enterprise law. His most recent work touches on the regulation of multinational corporations, sovereign wealth funds, transnational constitutionalism, and the convergence of public and private law. He has recently focused on Socialist law and ideology within globalization and its structures.

Farmer’s research interests include U.S. and foreign antitrust and trade regulation law, issues of federalism, and comparative competition policy. Before entering academia, she was an antitrust law enforcement attorney with the New York attorney general's office and counsel with the National Association of Attorneys General in Washington, D.C. Her recent publications focus on Chinese competition law and on the pre-merger notification guidelines, competition in the insurance sector, and an analysis of U.S. and European multi-jurisdictional competition enforcement.