Nina Rotermund目前是杜伊斯堡艾森大學的博士生，主修研究（Chinese Studies）, 拿到了哥廷根-南京大學的雙學位學歷，主修法以及比較法，曾在北京外國語大學以及台灣國立大學進行過學習與交流。
受訪人：Nina Rotermund, 杜伊斯堡艾森大學的博士
German Law students:
why should we learn Chinese law?
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that German legal system is the foundation of the Continental Law. Those who want to dig deeper into the huge treasury of civil law principles should always focus on the German legal system. However, after 30 years of reconstructing Chinese legal system, is there anything can be learnt from Chinese law? The Foundation for Law and International Affairs (FLIA) interviewed one German expert, Nina Rotermund, who shared her understanding of Chinese legal system. Ms. Rotermund is currently doing her Ph.D. in Law at Duisburg-Essen University and her research interest is Chinese studies. She got her master』s degree from Nanjing University with a focus on economic law. Additionally, she was once on a brief visit to Beijing Foreign Studies University and National Taiwan University.
FLIA: What do you think are the driving factors that make the foreign students be interested in studying in Chinese law?
NR: The Chinese modernization is unique in its speed and success. Within thirty years of reforms China doubled her GDP compared to some European countries that took about half a century to achieve the same. Nowadays, China is a major global player and attracts international investors who are interested in doing business.
The convergence of the world, the diversification of social actors and the increase of demands inevitably cause problems and disputes which are not easily solved 「on the streets」, but ask for a more complex interpretation. Thus, an understanding of Chinese law and its legal history is important in order to successfully solve such disputes. Only a profound study of Chinese law, and preferably in a comparative perspective, will provide enough insight into the different approaches.
I believe that foreign students soon realize the benefits of studying Chinese law regarding their own career prospects.
FLIA: Generally speaking, what branch of Chinese law is Western students interested in most and why?
NR: I believe that the fields of commercial and company law are of higher interest for the majority of students since commercial interactions between China and the West are predominant. A smaller percentage of students will be interested in public law such as the constitution, administrative laws or even criminal law. Interestingly, the public law sphere is more sensitive because those laws touch upon aspects that are subject to the state. Therefore, it might be a bit more difficult for foreign students to get access to data in those legal fields.
FLIA: Do you think will Chinese legal education become more and more popular among foreign students? Why?
NR: In my view, the education of Chinese lawyers experienced an intense wave of professionalization in recent years, which is related to international and domestic pressures. Internationally, voices that demand a strengthening of 「rule of law」 in China cannot be ignored any more. Domestically, an increasing legal consciousness among the people can also be observed, especially when it comes to disputed where state actors and citizens are involved. Besides these pressures, legal reforms are particularly essential for the leadership to prove its legitimacy and credibility.
This development seems promising and will open legal education for foreign students.
FLIA: How do you think your educational and working experiences in China will benefit you?
NR: During my studies I spent a couple of years in China which were essential for giving me insight in the Chinese way of thinking. This experience still influences the way I approach research puzzles and proved now to be beneficial of the PhD project I am pursuing. I am focusing on the Chinese administrative litigation law and the impact of direct and indirect political influence on the implementation of it. I am positive that the abilities I gained in my time in China will be helpful for my future research and career.
FLIA: What impressed you most in terms of your study in China?
NR: In China, I experienced 「Orientalism at its best」 because my previous perception and worldview were profoundly challenged. I got to know myself and my background in a way I would have never expected by experiencing Chinese culture with its traditions and values.
FLIA: What do you think are the main differences between Chinese legal education and Western legal education?
NR: As far as I can tell, the Chinese bar exam is different from the German state examination in terms of contents. Whereas in China, students answer multiple-choice questions, the German state exam mainly focuses on legal opinions and reports.
When I studied Chinese law in Nanjing, my professors presented themselves as very critical. They emphasized many times that China 「should continue learning from Germany」. I personally disagree with this attitude because legal transplants are not always successful. The respective legal culture has to be kept in mind. Some legal disputes might not be solved by a legal 「one size fits all」 tool. Another striking differences was that my Chinese legal teachers took care of communicating politically correct contents whereas in Germany, the teachers do not seem to be restricted in what they say.
FLIA: Do you think is there anything we can learn from Chinese legal system?
China』s overall development is paradigmatic. At the beginning, this speed demanded flexible laws and politics which favored economic growth. But nowadays the economy is not growing as fast as it used to any more. What we experience now is a phase of saturation in China to which laws have to be adapted. In my view, the Chinese legal system is a very good example for a system in transition. The systems in Europe and the USA look back at an established, century-long history whose numerous legal processes sometimes seem to be encrusted. They follow an idea of 「never change a running system」. What once has proven right and successful, does not necessarily be the right thing to do when the circumstances have changed. The Brexit debate, the threat of international terrorism and also the change in US politics since the inauguration of President Trump all challenge the 「old」 system and its thinking. What we can learn from China now is how to deal with changes and how to preserve flexibility and strength while approaching an unknown future.
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