Thursday, October 22, 2020

Inaugural HKULDC Annual Conference 2020 Gathers Global Doctoral Candidates

The inaugural Annual Conference of HKU Law Doctoral Colloquium (HKULDC) took place on 31 August 31 2020. After distributing a call for papers  and inviting international PhD students, HKULDC assembled a diverse group consisting of 16 speakers from HKU, CUHK, CityUHK, Beijing, NYU, Indiana, Glasgow.

Conference Details 
With opening speeches by Professor Hualing FU, Dean of Law and Warren Chan Professor in Human Rights and Responsibilities, and Professor Xin HE, Chairman of the Faculty Higher Degrees Committee and Professor of Law & Society, the Annual Conference warmly welcomed the 16 speakers, as well as distinguished guests and commentators from HKU, UNSW, CityU, Fudan University and China University of Political Science and Law. The audience of 210 teachers and students, who registered for the event, were affiliated with Hong Kong’s three law schools, Mainland’s top law schools as well as the academic institutions in the US, UK, EU and Australia. Following the student representative and PhD candidate Wayne Wei Wang’s introduction to HKULDC, the Conference moved to the Roundtable Sharing on How to Excel in the Academic Job Hunting Marketplace. 

Roundtable Sharing on How to Excel in the Academic Job-Hunting Marketplace 
The Roundtable was attended by Professor Yun Zhao (Head & Henry Cheng Professor in International Law, HKU), Professor Shahla Ali (Professor & Associate Dean (International Law), HKU), Professor Jedidiah Kroncke (Director of Early Career Research & Associate Professor, HKU), Professor Yan Xu (Law PhD Alumnae & Associate Professor, UNSW), Professor Hao Xiong (Law PhD Alumnus & Associate Professor, Fudan University), Dr. Anna Dziedzic (Global Academic Fellow, HKU), and Dr. Xu Qian (Post-Doctoral Fellow, HKU) as speakers. They shared insights and perspectives on preparing for the academic job market and gave advice on how to attend related interviews. 

Panel Session One - The State Apparatuses 
Jane Richards, a PhD candidate at HKU, moderated the first panel on the State Apparatuses, with Professor Scott Veitch (HKU) and Dr. Benjamin Chen (HKU) as lead discussants. Shuyu Chu, a PhD candidate at HKU spoke on Between Right and Punishment: Party Rules as Political Normalization. She gave fascinating insights into how, as a method of political social control, political rules operate in mainland China. She raised key issues in relation to how authoritarian rule in China is maintained, and political expectations are internalized by citizens as a form of CCP governance. The second speaker Teng Li, from the NYU school of law spoke on Justifying the State; with some overlap in the theme of his topic with Shuyu, his concern was with how the state justifies coercion of its subjects. He noted that there are limits to the legitimate exercise of state power, which may trigger citizens rights to use coercion.  The third speaker, Jiajun Luo, also from HKU gave another Chinese themed presentation, this time on The Autonomy of Chinese Courts in Commercial Disputes: Evidence from Intellectual Property Cases. His is an empirical study draws on an analysis of case law to make an argument about the relative independence and autonomy of Chinese courts and the judiciary. Finally, Sumit Sonkar, a PhD Candidate at CUHK presented his talk on Reimagining Equality: An Anatomy of Indian Young Lawyers Association vs. The State of Kerala. The case analysis tested the limits of equality from India’s Constitution in relation to women’s rights and also the caste system. 

Panel Session Two - Commercial, Trade and Investment Tensions 
Sau-Wai Law (Samuel), a third-year part-time PhD candidate at HKU, moderated the second panel on Commercial, Trade and Investment Tension, with Prof Jiangyu Wang (CityU) and Dr Angel Zhang (HKU) as discussants. Ziyu Liu, a third-year PhD candidate at HKU, observed that the drafting of the Foreign Investment Law of China (FIL) had been seriously affected by Sino-U.S. relations. It leads to the fact that FIL is only a compromise made. She argues that the Sino-US relation will continue to affect the formation and implementation of foreign investment policy in China. Abdulkadir Yilmazcan, a fourth-year PhD candidate at HKU, shared his empirical findings of the procedural rules of US and EU against China in its anti-dumping measures. He argued that the main purpose of the Anti-dumping Agreement may be defeated given a lack of procedural justice. Dr. Chao Wang from CUHK, shared his empirical studies of the Chinese shareholding disclosure rules of the Chinese shareholding disclosure rules and public enforcement by the China Securities Regulatory Commission, and proposes that China to adopt a relatively tolerant regime for shareholding disclosure so as to avoid the stifling effect on market developments. Shanyu Xiao, 3rd year PhD candidate at City University of Hong Kong, shared her empirical findings that the Mixed Ownership Reform has achieved initial success in promoting the internal corporate governances of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) in China; although more shall be done as most SOEs only limited the introduction on non-state capital, giving limited control rights to new strategic investors 

Panel Session Three - Rights, Safety and Geography 
Abdulkadir YILMAZCAN, a fourth-year PhD candidate at HKU, moderated the third panel on rights, safety and geography, with Prof Zhiyuan GUO (CUPL) and Dr. Jedidiah KRONCKE (HKU) as lead discussants. PhD candidate Jane RICHARDS presented “Abolition of the insanity defence: a new model of criminal responsibility inclusive of all mental capacities”. Richards argues that the proposed model would ensure that the criminal justice system functions to bring more substantial justice for all. MPhil candidate Elaine Lok-Lam YIM delivered her presentation titled “Why the Right to Collective Self-determination of a People Cannot Support Extensive Immigration Control”. Yim argues that the scope of legitimate authority of a state vis-à-vis non-citizens is limited to what is sufficient for attaining the collective autonomy of the citizens, whereas the scope of legitimate authority of a state vis-à-vis citizens is not limited to a sufficientarian standard. Yi Seul KIM presented her study “The Formalistic Ebb and Flow in China’s Food Safety Regulatory Governance: Periods of Under-Regulation and Over-Regulation”. Kim, in her study, examines how accurate it is to say that law reforms de facto mean improvement in food safety based on empirical findings. PhD candidate Dhiraj NAINANI presented his work “Gold & Darkness: The Legal Geography of Hong Kong’s ‘Last Ghetto’. His paper attempts to paint a portrait of the complex assemblage that is Chungking Mansions. 

Panel Session Four - Regulating Digital and Robotic Platforms 
Pattamon Anansaringkarn, a second-year PhD candidate at HKU, moderated the fourth panel on regulating digital and robotic platforms, with Dr. Yahong Li (HKU) and Dr. Marcelo Thompson (HKU) as lead discussants. Miss Tian Zeng, a PhD candidate at Peking University, considered the issue of exclusive behaviour in the online platform market from a competition law perspective in her presentation “Access to Premium Content in Online Content Platform Market: Research on Exclusive Behavior under Competition Law”. Miss Xingsi Di, a PhD candidate from the Faculty of Law, University of Hong Kong, shared her insight on the development of a regulatory mechanism for Robo-advisors in China in her presentation, “From Prosperity to Deadlock: China's Path on Financial Supervisions on The Robo-advisors”. Mr. Zihao Li, a PhD candidate at the University of Glasgow, discussed personalised pricing in the context of EU data protection laws in his presentation “A critical review of Automatic Price-making Algorithm and EU Data Protection Law: Is GDPR Enough to Achieve the Goal of Transparency and Fairness in the Era of E-commerce?”. Mr. Yifan Huang, a lecturer at the School of AI & Law, Shanghai University of Political & Law, shared his research on the possibility of introducing a judicial AI assistive case-handling system across different legal regimes in China in his presentation “Legal Challenges for Establishing a Unified Artificial Intelligence Assistive Platform in Judicial Practice”. 

Keynote Speech
Dr Shitong Qiao, Associate Professor of the University of Hong Kong, gave a wonderful keynote speech on "Publishing Your Doctoral Thesis during and/or after Your PhD Studies." In his speech, Dr Qiao gave lots of helpful advice on selecting journals/law reviews; publishing books based on PhD thesis with multiple interesting examples; and many other things. The keynote speech was moderated by Elaine Yim.

The inaugural HKULDC Annual Conference was concluded by the closing remarks and further suggestions from Professor Scott VEITCH, Paul K C Chung Professor in Jurisprudence and Dr. Alex SCHWARTZ, Deputy Director of RPG Student Affairs. 

What is #HKULDC? 
HKULDC is HKU’s student-driven online platform for intellectual exchange among global early-stage legal researchers. It has framed six sub-fields such as, Comparative Chinese Law (CCL), Public Law (PL), Legal Theory/Law and Humanities/Law and Society (LTHS), Financial, Competition and Commercial Law (FCCL), Technology and Intellectual Property Law (TIPL), Arbitration, Dispute Resolution and International Law (ADRIL), and Food, Medical and Health Law (FMHL).

Why is #HKULDC? 
The COVID-19 Pandemic has made MPhil/PhD life digital, remote and somewhat disrupted. However, it has also been observed that online doctoral seminars and colloquiums are being organised to create a formal and serious environment for intellectual exchange globally. MPhil/PhD life is not only reading and writing all the time. It is also about practising scholars’ life. MPhil/PhD candidates have to transfer themselves from students to early-stage researchers (ESRs) in the degree-seeking process. 
How will #HKULDC proceed? 

Annual HKULDC Conference 
Initiated by the FHDC committee members and convened by HKU’s Law PhD Candidates - Wayne Wei Wang, Yi Seul Kim, Jane Richards, Sau-Wai Law (Samuel), Abdulkadir Yilmazcan, Pattamon Anansaringkarn, and Elaine Lok-Lam Yim, University of Hong Kong Law Doctoral Colloquium (HKULDC) Annual Conference is viewed as an experimental event aimed at ”learning by practice” for HKU Law RPg (MPhil and PhD) students. Presenting at and hosting a panel within one's research area will be an essential skill for her/his potential academic future while attending and contributing to conference discussions is an underestimated but important aspect of training in MPhil/PhD studies. 

Global Doctoral Webinars 
Through HKULDC’s Support Services, RPg students at HKU Law have the potential to make a real and positive change in the community. HKULDC will try to invite the established scholars within global PhD fellows’ research fields to be the panel members, providing them with mentors’ experience and expertise. 

Interdisciplinary Talks 
HKULDC will be organising interdisciplinary sharing events on campus and beyond. They expect to invite those external PhD fellows outside Law Faculty and HKU's Law RPg students, who share similar research interests for a series of interdisciplinary talks. It aims at breaking the traditional lines between subjects and increasing the originality and visibility of RPg students' research. 

Methodology Bootcamps 
HKULDC will also be initiating a regular platform for introducing emerging research methodologies. Our RPg students have observed that empirical studies are emerging in the academic job market. Dozens of law schools are introducing data science courses. Research students have to recognize that new data and methods can help our RPg fellows communicate their research into the general public and policymakers. 

中國法律全球化 (Chinese Law Goes Global) 
Most of HKULDC’s efforts pertaining to this program involve studying new approaches and developing innovative ways to implement them. They evaluate their geographical advantages in this field and remove the language obstacles for the global understanding of the Chinese legal system. 

To know more about HKULDC, please follow the twitter account @hkuldc and subscribe to HKULDC Global Mailing List at!forum/hkuldc.

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