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The 2nd Geneva-Harvard-Renmin-Sydney Law Faculty Conference

On July 11th and 12th, law schools of Renmin University, the University of Geneva, Harvard University and the University of Sydney co-hosted The 2nd Geneva-Harvard-Renmin-Sydney Law Faculty Conference in Renmin University. Seventeen scholars from the four schools and eight representatives of Chinese enterprises attended the conference.

Geneva-Harvard-Renmin-Sydney Law Faculty Conference is an annual conference, proposed by the University of Geneva, and in turns hosted by the four schools. The theme of conference this year is Corporate Governance and Corporate Social Responsibility, including Corporate Governance and State-owned Enterprises, Corporate Governance and Corporate Social Responsibility, Corporate Governance and Freedom of Speech, Diverse Corporate Governance, Protection of the Individual Reporting and Corporate Governance: Chinese Practice and Experience.

The conference first day was opened by a speech of Professor Wang Liming, vice president of RUC. He expressed warm welcome to all the guests and emphasized the importance of academic communications between different countries while the conference provides an excellent platform for scholars to discuss and communicate. He also expressed his hope that this conference could promote the reform of Chinese Corporate Law.

Afterwards, representatives from the four schools made speeches in turns. First was Professor Christine Chappuis, Dean of Law School of the University of Geneva. She pointed our that the University of Geneva held the 1st conference and the four schools overcame all kinds of difficulties to reach mutual understanding and communication. She then expressed her gratitude to Professor Han Dayuan, Dean of RUC Law School and believed Renmin Model would definitely surpassed Geneva Model. She also put forward positive expectations for next year¡¯s conference in Sydney.

The second one was Professor William P.Alford, Vice Dean of Harvard Law School. He pointed out the significance of academic conversations between different areas and only through reflections and communications, could we face challenges together and solve problems.

The third one was Professor Joellen Riley, Dean of Law School of the University of Sydney. She expressed her gratitude, introduced Sydney Law School¡¯s current progress and ended the speech in a set of humorous Australian English, wishing the success of next year¡¯s conference.

The last one was Professor Han Dayuan, Dean of RUC Law School. He started from the weather, and used the example of industrial pollution and food safety to fit the theme. He believed besides government, companies should also carry the responsibilities. Then he expressed his gratitude to all the guests and hopes for this conference.

The first section of discussion was hosted by Professor William P.Alford, in the theme of Corporate Governance and State-owned Enterprises. Professor François Bellanger from the University of Geneva, Professor Ye Lin from RUC, Assistant Professor David Chaikin from the University of Sydney made their speeches. They talked about types, management mechanism and regulations about enterprises in different countries, and analyzed the challenges that state-owned companies face nowadays. After the speeches, many scholars made comments and raised questions. Professor Henry Peter from the University of Geneva, described two cases in Switzerland and pointed out that managers in state-owned companies sometimes were directly appointed by state parties, and caused chaos. Professor Ye Lin responded that China didn¡¯t have such problems, but there were problems due to complicated game between the central and the local.

The second section was about Corporate Governance and Corporate Social Responsibility, hosted by Professor Christine Chappuis. The first speaker was Professor Henry Peter. He believed that the profit maximization of shareholders and corporate social responsibility could be unified. Professor Allen Ferrell from Harvard, by the use of economics method, discovered that the well-being of corporate management was positively correlated with how much the corporate carried social responsibility. Professor Liu Junhai from RUC, analyzed the Corporate Law of China and current situation, and believed China should emphasize more about corporate¡¯s social responsibility. Professor David Kinley started from the human right issues in corporate¡¯s social responsibility and pointed out that human right issue was an important connection between corporate¡¯s social responsibility and law. Doctor Giulia Castracane from Geneva, introduced the ¡°business judgment rule¡± in US and analyzed its effect on corporate¡¯s social responsibility. After the speeches, Assistant Professor Jin Haijun raised his question about the definition of corporate¡¯s social responsibility and discussed with Professor Henry Peter and Professor David Kinley. Afterwards, Professor Ye Lin¡¯s comments sparked a discussion about how religion and moral affected corporate¡¯s social responsibility.

The third section was about Corporate Governance and Freedom of Speech, hosted by Professor Jennifer Hill from Sydney. Professor Maya Hertig Randall from Sydney analyzed how freedom of speech affected corporate governance. Professor Liu Haijun from RUC described some trademark cases and analyzed freedom of speech and private property rights protection. Then many scholars made further discussion on the theme. Professor David Kinley held the view that if speech made by the company considered social justice, then it was also part of its social responsibility.

The fourth section was about Diverse Corporate Governance, hosted by Professor Long Yifei, vice dean of RUC Law School. In this section, Professor Reinier Kraakman from Harvard, analyzed differences between BRIC companies in foreign direct investment, such as investment fields, methods, and complexity. Professor Zhu Yan introduced the features of Chinese corporate governance. Professor Jennifer Hill began with financial crisis and analyzed diverse Australian corporate governance in three aspects. Professor Tang Xin from Tsinghua University talked about independent director system in China and made comparisons with other countries. Professor Luke Nottage from Sydney, expressed his opinion towards Australian director system and discussed with other scholars through remote video.

The fifth section was about Protection of the Individual Reporting, hosted by Assistant Professor Guo Rui from RUC. Professor Val¨¦rie Junod from Geneva talked about the value of protection of the individual reporting. Assistant Professor Guo Rui introduced the distinctions between Chinese and American protection of the individual reporting, analyzed Chinese protection and proposed advice to improve the protection. Doctor Olivia Dixon pictured how Australian protection branched out from public law areas to corporate and stock areas.

The sixth section was about Corporate Governance: Chinese Practice and Experience. Eight Chinese enterprise representatives shared their experience in corporate governance. The eight representatives include Ms. Fu Tong from Qihoo 360 Technology Co Ltd, Mr. Li Mingliang from China Financial Futures Exchange, Ms. Jiao Jiao Jingdong Century Trade. Ltd, Mr. Li Zhuyong from Peoples Insurance Company of China, Mr. Yao Jun from Ping An Insurance Group, Ms. Yu Siying from Alibaba Group, Mr. Yu Tengqun from China Railway Group Limited, Mr. Zhang Yuantang from China Resources Snow Breweries. Afterwards, scholars made their comments and discussed about corporates¡¯ social responsibility, human right protection, and salary difference between state-owned and private corporations.

After the seminar, Professor Henry Peter from Geneva, Professor Allen Ferrell from Harvard, Professor Ye Lin from RUC and Professor Divid Kinley from Sydney made wonderful public speaking. Then, teachers and students from RUC and international summer school raised their questions and discussed with audiences.

After the public conference, Professor Han Dayuan, Dean of RUC Law School, and Professor Lin Jia, Party Secretary of RUC Law School, presented a souvenir medal.

The 2nd Geneva-Harvard-Renmin-Sydney Law Faculty Conference rounded off successfully at RUC. Scholars from the four schools expressed their appreciations to this conference at RUC and looked forward to the next conference at Sydney.

(Translator: Xu Yelin)

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