Yang Suijia, a student of the Faculty of Law of the University of Macau, recently won a second prize at a national public speaking competition on China’s constitution in the high school and university category. The competition attracted 206 contestants in 34 teams from mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macao. The event was organised by the Ministry of Education, and hosted by Beijing Foreign Studies University.
The University of Macau’s (UM) Centre for Constitutional Law and Basic Law Studies (CCLBCS) and Educational Research Centre (ERC) today (26 December) became the official partners of two key research centres under the Ministry of Education in the field of humanities and social sciences, namely the Center for Studies of Constitutional and Administrative Law at Peking University and the Centre for Teacher Education Research at Beijing Normal University. The three universities will strengthen collaboration in the field of humanities and social sciences in order to create a high-quality education system, participate in national strategy, and seize the opportunities brought by the ‘Belt and Road’ initiative and the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
Guests attending the plaque-unveiling ceremony include Vice Minister of Education Tian Xueliang, Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Ao Ieong U, Deputy Director of the Central Government’s Liaison Office in Macao Luo Yonggang, UM’s University Council Chair Lam Kam Seng, Director of the Office of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan Affairs under the Ministry of Education Liu Jin, Head of the Department of Language and Words under the Ministry of Education Xu Xiaoping, Director of the Higher Education Bureau Sou Chio Fai, UM Rector Yonghua Song, Peking University Vice President Tian Gang, and Beijing Normal University Vice President Zhou Zuoyu.
Rector Yonghua Song said in his speech that UM is the only public university in Macao to have a centre for the studies of the constitution, the Basic Law, and the ‘One Country, Two Systems’policy, adding that the centre has received considerable attention and support from the Macao SAR government and the central government’s liaison office in Macao. The centre is dedicated to popularising knowledge of the constitution and the Basic Law in Macao to promote the continued implementation of the ‘One Country, Two Systems’policy. Rector Song said that the ELC was established with the great support of the Macao SAR government, and is the only educational research centre at a public university in Macao. According to Song, the ELC is committed to nurturing high-calibre educators to contribute to education development in Macao and the Greater China region. The collaboration is an example of the successful implementation of the ‘One Country, Two Systems’policy and represents UM’s effort to carry out President Xi Jinping’s expectations for Macao to establish a high-quality education system.
The delegation visited the University Gallery in the company of Rector Song to gain a deeper understanding of UM’s new campus project and latest developments in scientific research. The guests also met with the heads of various academic and administrative units at UM.
In 1990, Prof Augusto Teixeira Garcia relocated from Portugal to work on a two-year contract at the University of East Asia (UEA), the predecessor of the University of Macau (UM). At the time, he did not anticipate that this city would become his home, or that he would become an associate dean of the Faculty of Law (FLL). In the past 20 years, he has taught commercial law, in particular the Commercial Code of Macao, of which he was the main drafter. ‘All these years, I’ve never wanted to leave Macao,’ he says.
Reforming the Commercial Code in the Transitional Period
Born in Porto, Prof Garcia worked as a lawyer and professor in higher education institutions in Portugal. Despite his first impression of Macao as a ‘hot and humid place’, he later discovered that he was charmed by the city’s attractions, and he decided to stay on. In 1996, the local government appointed him the coordinator of the reform of the Commercial Code, a 19th-century creation that could no longer meet Macao’s needs.
After the signing of the Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration on the Question of Macao in 1987, Macao was to pursue the localisation of the civil service, language (with Chinese serving as an official language) and law. ‘Legislation in Macao did not come with a Chinese translation until the late 1980s. All the laws created in the past, including the Commercial Code that came into force in 1888, had no Chinese version. So we had to translate the laws. We could either translate them as they were, or take the opportunity to reform them to provide Macao with a more modern legal environment. The government took the latter path,’ he says.
The new Commercial Code came into force shortly before the handover of Macao in 1999. At that time, Prof Garcia already had three children who were born in Macao and a close tie with the city. While some of his Portuguese friends were planning to leave Macao, he felt an obligation to stay in FLL to teach commercial law according to the new law.
Students Across the Legal Sector
On FLL’s role, Prof Garcia says, ‘The FLL is the oldest law school in Macao. Its objective is to train jurists with expertise in Macao’s legal system for all kinds of legal tasks. The programmes offered by the FLL aim to nurture legal professionals to serve the local community. The majority of the legal professionals, including judges, public prosecutors, jurists in the civil service and lawyers, are our graduates. Also, some of our graduates are current or former members of the Legislative Assembly.’
Prof Garcia has taught commercial law and company law for decades, and he fondly remembers many outstanding students. ‘One of my former students is now a judge,’ he says. ‘When she enrolled in our Bachelor of Law programme in Portuguese, she could hardly speak any Portuguese, but she did not give up and did very well later on. After getting her degree, she entered the civil service and eventually became a judge. She also did a master’s programme with me. Now she speaks Portuguese fluently. I am amazed and very proud of her because I know the difficulties she has overcome with the language.’
Links to Portuguese-speaking Countries
FLL has always cultivated special links with Portuguese-speaking countries, especially Portugal, African countries, and East-Timor. As early as the late 1990s, Prof Garcia travelled to Mozambique as part of a UM delegation to develop cooperation with Educardo Mondlane University (EMU), which he visited again this year with UM Rector Yonghua Song. This time, he explored new areas for cooperation with EMU and witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the two universities.
According to Prof Garcia, there are many students from Portuguese-speaking Africa in FLL. For instance, in the Master of Law Programme in Portuguese Language, of which Prof Garcia is the coordinator, nearly half of the students come from these countries. ‘After they [FLL students from Africa] graduate, the majority of them go back to their countries for a legal career. Some have even become ministerial-level officials in Cape Verde. Although in lesser numbers we also had students from East-Timor, some of them occupy relevant positions within the legal judiciary, the government, or the academia.’ he says.
As the Macao Special Administrative Region is approaching its 20th anniversary, Prof Garcia believes that the city will become more prosperous, and he hopes the economic prosperity can benefit residents in a more balanced manner. He says, ‘Meanwhile, UM and the FLL will continue to play an important role in Macao’s development and nurture professionals in different fields.’
The University of Macau (UM) Faculty of Law recently held a forum on civil and business law for master’s students and PhD students from mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan. The forum was jointly initiated by various universities, with the aim of fostering academic exchange in the Greater China region and nurturing researchers in the area of civil and business law. The event attracted many postgraduate students, experts, and scholars in the field. During the forum, participants had in-depth discussions on civil and business law.
The seminar included two sessions. A total of 29 master’s students and PhD students gave speeches. Their speeches were then commented by professors from various universities, including Soochow University, Fujian Normal University, Jilin University, Taiwan University, and UM.
UM holds a forum on civil and business law
Qiao Xiaoyang, honorary doctor of the University of Macau (UM), former chairman of the Legal Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), and chairman of the Hong Kong and Macao Basic Law Committee of the NPC Standing Committee, today (9 November) gave a lecture in UM’s Ho Yin Conference Hall. He discussed the relationship between the central government’s overall jurisdiction over Macao and the high degree of autonomy of the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) from three perspectives. The talk attracted many UM faculty members and students.
In his speech, UM Rector Yonghua Song said that Qiao Xiaoyang participated in or was in charge of the drafting or amending of dozens of laws, including the Amendment to the Constitution, having made a tremendous contribution to the legislation in China and the return of Hong Kong and Macao. His ties with Macao and UM go back a long way. He was involved in the central government’s authorising Macao SAR to exercise jurisdiction over the new campus, the selection of the campus site, as well as the groundbreaking ceremony and the inauguration of the new campus. Therefore, Qiao was a contributor and a key facilitator of UM’s new campus project. Rector Song added that the achievements Macao has attained over the past two decades since Macao’s return to the motherland would not have been possible without the guidance of the Constitution and the successful implementation of the Basic Law and the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ policy.
During the lecture, Qiao discussed the relationship between the central government’s overall jurisdiction over Macao and the high degree of autonomy of Macao SAR, from three perspectives, namely ‘the proposal of the central government’s overall jurisdiction over Macao and its meaning’, ‘the high degree of autonomy of Macao SAR and authorisation-related issues’, and ‘questions and answers regarding the central government’s overall jurisdiction over Macao’. Qiao pointed out that when the sovereignty over Macao was returned to China in 1999, it essentially enabled China to resume its jurisdiction over Macao. Within the ‘One Country’ framework, the central government has overall jurisdiction over all its territories, which is an important principle of the Constitution. In the case of Macao, when resuming its overall jurisdiction over Macao SAR, the central government established the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ policy and the Basic Law, which stipulate that certain powers shall be exercised directly by the organs under the central government, while certain powers shall be jointly exercised by the organs under the central government and the Macao SAR government. The central government authorised Macao SAR to manage its internal affairs that do not involve the central government or the mainland. Therefore, the high degree of autonomy enjoyed by Macao is the result of the central government’s exercising overall jurisdiction over Macao.
Qiao explained that within the ‘One Country’ framework, the relationship between the central government and the Macao SAR government in terms of power is one of authorisation. The Basic Law established a rigorous authorisation system to ensure that Macao SAR enjoys a high degree of autonomy but will under no circumstances become an independent or semi-independent political entity, in order to safeguard the country’s sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity. The relationship between the central government’s overall jurisdiction and the SAR’s high degree of autonomy is akin to the relationship between the source of a river and the river; the two are not mutually exclusive. Therefore, whether in theory or practice, the two must never be held as opposing positions, and the high degree of autonomy must never be used to challenge or undermine the central government’s overall jurisdiction.
Reviewing the implementation of the Basic Law in Macao over the past two decades, Qiao pointed out that from the outset, the Macao SAR government and people from all walks of life in Macao correctly grasped the relationship between the central government’s overall jurisdiction and Macao SAR’s high degree of autonomy. Over the past 20 years, there has never been any instance in which the constitutional relationship between the central government and the Macao SAR government was disputed; nor has there been any instance in which the central government’s authority was publicly challenged. This fully demonstrates that Macao residents have a very strong sense of national identity and great respect for the constitution. This also shows that the academic community in Macao has done a good job of promoting the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ policy and the Basic Law in Macao; Therefore, the central government’s overall jurisdiction and the Macao SAR’s high degree of autonomy have been well integrated, demonstrating the successful implementation of the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ policy with local characteristics.
Chen Zhi, a PhD student from the Faculty of Law (FLL) of the University of Macau (UM), received a third prize at the 12th China Arbitration and Justice Forum, for his paper titled ‘Some Considerations Concerning Non-litigation of Service in Arbitration’. The paper focuses on the service of documents in commercial arbitration in mainland China and proposes a more flexible, efficient, and cost-effective service system to cover the three aspects, namely legislation, arbitration practice, and judicial review.
In mainland China, the service of documents in arbitration is highly analogous to that in civil litigation, which can be regarded as an example of judicialisation of arbitration. Over the past few years, leading arbitration institutions have tried to promote a more flexible, efficient, and cost-effective service system. But according to Chen, more efforts will have to be made in order to change traditional judicial opinions. In reference to The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Model Law and related legal practices in international arbitration, a non-litigation delivery system should be established to cover the three aspects, namely legislation, arbitral practice, and judicial review, in order to strike a balance between justice and efficiency. Chen’s supervisor is Prof Tu Guangjian.
This year’s forum attracted around 300 participants. More than 100 research papers were received and ten of them were awarded after a blind review process conducted by seven renowned scholars and experts. The event was organised by the China Academy of Arbitration Law, which is the only national arbitration research organisation in mainland China, and hosted by the Langfang Arbitration Commission.
Chen Zhi (4th from left) receives a third prize at the China Arbitration and Justice Forum
To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China and the 20th anniversary of Macao’s handover to China, the University of Macau (UM) held a seminar on the implementation of the Basic Law in Macao over the past two decades.
UM Rector Yonghua Song delivered a speech at the opening ceremony, in which he said that UM owes its rapid development to the successful implementation of the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ policy, which allowed UM to build on Hengqin Island a new campus that is nearly 20 times larger than the old one. Rector Song said that the new campus project showed the central government’s support for higher education in Macao and was an innovative implementation of the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ policy. He added that with the rapid development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, the implementation of the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ policy and the Basic Law will also enter a new era, which dictates that Macao must take full advantage of the policy and integrate with the Greater Bay Area.
Xu Ze, president of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, praised the successful implementation of the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ policy in Macao and expressed his hope for UM to play a leadership role in cultural development in Macao. Liu Dexue, director of the Legal Affairs Bureau of Macao, discussed how to adhere to ‘One Country’ principle while ensuring that the two systems co-exist in harmony and create maximum benefits.
Experts and scholars from renowned universities, including Peking University, Tsinghua University, Renmin University of China, Shenzhen University, Macau University of Science and Technology, and UM, attended the seminar and had an in-depth discussion on related topics, including the relationship between the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ policy and the governance of the nation, the Basic Law and the governance of the special administrative region, the development of the Greater Bay Area and Macao’s participation in the country’s development.
UM holds a seminar on the implementation of the Basic Law in Macao
A group photo
The launch for The BRICS-Lawyers’ Guide to BRICS Texts and Materials, a new book co-authored by Professor Rostam J Neuwirth and Associate Professor Alexandr Svetlicinii from the Faculty of Law, University of Macau (UM), was recently featured at the BRICS Forum on the International Rule of Law held in Beijing.
The book presents one of the first collections of important texts and materials that have emerged from the cooperation among the BRICS member states. This compilation has been brought together with an intention to make these materials accessible for the convenient use by government officials, practicing lawyers and arbitrators, as well as scholars and students of international relations, business, economics, and law. The text comprises treaties, summit declarations by heads of state, ministerial declarations, declarations adopted by the BRICS Legal Forum and other official documents.
Held in Beijing from 7 September to 8 September, the forum was organised by CASS Institute of International Law and was supported by the Center for Publicity and Education of the Rule of Law and Public Law Studies, CASS Institute of Law, Legal Application Bureau, China Democracy and Law Press, Social Sciences Academic Press (China) and Beijing Yingke Law Firm. The event was attended by over 60 experts and scholars from public institutions, universities, research organisations, publishing houses, and law firms in Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, and Portugal.
The book also includes a chronological presentation of the first decade of BRICS cooperation. It is available at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/9996511170/ref=rdr_ext_tmb.
On 15 August 2019, Prof. Tong Io Cheng, Dean of Faculty of Law, gave the new students of the 2019/2020 academic year their first lecture at the Faculty of Law. During the talk, Dean Tong introduce the origin of Law being a branch of knowledge and discussed about whether Law deserves a position in the world of science. Students are inspired by bringing the topic to a more profound discussion.
UM professor elected titular member of International Academy of Comparative Law
Prof Wei Dan, associate dean of the University of Macau (UM) Faculty of Law, has been elected titular member of the International Academy of Comparative Law (IACL). In 2018, she became the first Chinese scholar to be elected executive committee member and vice president of the academy.
Established in the Hague, the Netherlands, in 1924, the IACL is the oldest and most influential international academic association in the field of comparative law. Every four years, the organisation holds an event known as the ‘Olympics for Comparative Lawyers’. Composed exclusively of highly qualified scholars all over the world working in the field of comparative law, the IACL aims to promote research, publications, and international cooperation in comparative law. In addition to outstanding academic contributions to the field of comparative law, those who wish to become titular members of the IACL must obtain votes from a minimum of two thirds of the academy’s current titular members.
Prof Wei Dan’s titular membership of the IACL demonstrates the international impact of FLL’s research in comparative law and international recognition of Macao’s scholars. Prof Wei received her bachelor’s degree from Peking University’s Law School and her master’s and PhD degrees in law from the Faculty of Law of the University of Coimbra, Portugal. She is currently the only Chinese who holds a PhD degree in law in the Portuguese Language.
UM Social Media
[大眾報] 2019-07-19 P08 澳門新聞