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Statement by Mr. ZHANG Peng of the Chinese Delegation at the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly under Agenda Item 84: the rule of law at the national and international levels

2017/10/05

Mr. Chairman,

The Chinese delegation welcomes the discussion of the “Ways and means to further disseminate international law to strengthen the rule of law” under the agenda item “The Rule of law at the National and International Levels”.

Mr. Chairman,

As a staunch defender and active builder of international rule of law, China stands firmly committed to safeguarding the fundamental principles of international law and basic norms governing international relations with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter at the core, advocating multilateralism, and practicing international rule of law. Early this year, in his keynote speech at the UN Office in Geneva, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed an answer to the universal question of “What is happening to the world and what we should do about it”, that is, to build a community of shared future for mankind and embark on win-win cooperation. President Xi stressed that the effort to build a community of shared future for mankind should be guided by the basic norms of international relations. He further stressed that “law is the very foundation of governance” and called on all countries to uphold the authority of international rule of law, exercise their rights in accordance with law, and fulfill their obligations in good faith. He said that all countries and international judicial bodies should ensure equal and uniform application of international law and reject double standards or “selective application of international law”. This would ensure “genuine equality and justice in the world”.

Mr. Chairman,

Achieving international rule of law is a common pursuit of mankind, and further disseminating international law plays a crucial part in developing international rule of law. The Chinese Government sees a greater role for the United Nations and other international organizations, along with all Member States, in advancing communication and cooperation in the area of international law to further facilitate the dissemination and promotion of international law.

International organizations, the UN and its specialized agencies included, are major vehicles for the dissemination of international law. China hails the positive contribution of the UN Programme of Assistance in Teaching, Study, Dissemination and Wider Appreciation of International Law to the dissemination and exchange in the field of international law. We appreciate the efforts of the UN Office of Legal Affairs and other UN entities to facilitate the dissemination of international law. We welcome the successive launch of the UN Regional Courses in International Law and the UN International Law Fellowship Programme. The Chinese Government has been supporting the Programme of Assistance with annual donations to support the Programme’s regional courses in Asia and Africa and its audiovisual library project, in order to bolster the capacity of developing countries in international law. China calls on the UN to make full and effective use of the Programme to facilitate the sharing of resources and information on international law.

The Chinese Government has consistently promoted exchanges and dissemination in the field of international law and contributed Chinese expertise and Chinese wisdom to the capacity building efforts of developing countries in international law. In 2015, the Chinese Government set up the China-AALCO Exchange and Research Program on International Law (CAERP) with a view to enhancing exchange and cooperation in international law among Asian-African countries in the renewed spirit of the Bandung Conference. Under this program, my government has successfully hosted three training courses and five workshops and trained more than 100 legal personnel from developing countries. In September this year, the Third Training Course on International Law was held, first in Beijing and then in Hong Kong. It was attended by 50 legal officials from 35 AALCO member states, the Lao PDR as non-member, the AALCO Secretariat, and the AU secretariat. As a result of my government’s vigorous effort, the training program has seen a continuous increase in the number of trainees as well as a richer and more sophisticated curriculum. It is now one of the major platforms dedicated to the promotion and dissemination of international law in Asia and Africa.

China believes that enhanced awareness raising, education and research at the national level constitute an important means to disseminate international law. My government has taken a number of steps to effectively advance the research and dissemination of international law in China. These include online publication of international law-related information, public diplomacy, and partnership between government institutions and academia, so that the public can access and discuss the frontier issues and latest developments in international law.

Teaching and promoting a wider knowledge of international law at institutions of higher learning is high on my government’s agenda. As of now, 628 universities in China offer law major, which is selected by more than 312,000 undergraduates. International Law is a required course for law majors. Each year, various universities in China have over 130 PhD candidates and over 1,000 LLM candidates majoring in international law. Many law schools and institutes of social sciences have their own international law institutions for training international law scholars and practitioners. Over the years, a range of national academic bodies have been established, such as the Chinese Society of International Law, the China Society of Private International Law, the Chinese Society of International Economic Law, the Chinese Society of the Law of the Sea and the China Institute of Space Law. They play their part in advancing the research, dissemination, and exchanges in international law through various activities such as hosting annual academic meetings and publishing research-oriented periodicals.

Mr. Chairman,

The Chinese Government is ready, along with the rest of the world, to abide by its commitments to international rule of law; to advance democratic legislation, impartial judicial practice, and rigorous adherence to law; and to do its part for the promotion of democratization and rule of law in international relations.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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