Liu Nanlai, male, Han nationality, born in May, 1933, is a native of
Endure Great Hardships in Pioneering Work, and Devote Oneself to the Cause of Chinese International Law
Liu Nanlai, a researcher of International Law Research Center of Chinese
Jiangnan Talent Returns Home after Studying Abroad, and He is Determined to Devote Himself to Research the Law all of His Life
There have been many talents in the regions south of the
In July, 1955, teacher Liu was selected to go to the
In March, 1961, teacher Liu returned China after gaining a vice doctoral degree in law at Moscow University, and then he was assigned to the Law Institute of the Philosophy and Social Science Department of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences to be engaged in law research, and he has worked in this institute for forty-six years. He has researched intently for several decades. Academic positions he has held include, assistant researcher, associate researcher, researcher, master instructor, and doctoral supervisor. In addition, he has also served in various administrative positions, including deputy director and director of the International Research Room and Chief Librarian of the Law Departments Library.
“Read ten thousand books and walk ten thousand miles.” Besides studying abroad in the
Able men tied down to a routine post. In 2002, teacher Liu retired at 69, but his academic career didn’t stop. He accepted the restart of the Law Department, and he continued to work in the International Law Research Garden. In 2003, in order to strengthen international law research, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences decided to build an International Law Research Center at the International Law Research Room of the Law Institute, and teacher Liu became a member of this new research team, standing on a new starting line with new and old colleagues. At present, he is 74 years old, but he still serves as the Deputy Director of the Human Rights Research Center at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Vice Chairman of Chinese Society of International Law, Chief Editor of Chinese Journal of International Law, Executive Director of China Society for the Law of the Sea, Member of National Philosophy, Social Sciences, and Planning Society, and postdoctoral mentor, and continuis to contribute to the cause of international law. He has many things to do, teaching young scholars and receiving scholars from other units. I have always advised him not to do so much work, and the body is the capital of the revolution, but he always does as before.
Repay the Country with Books, the Research Field Hinges on the Country’s Needs
“As scholars, we repay the country with books.” As a returned scholar and member of the Communist Party, teacher Liu always values researching urgent topics faced by the country, so that he has changed his major because of the country’s needs. When he joned the Law Institute, he was assigned to the legal system team. At that time, law research in the new
In the middle of the 1970s, after “the Great Cultural Revolution in
“If we say that your transfer to international law research was passive, your choice of International Law of the Sea and International Human Rights Law as your key research field started from your consideration of the situation, keen observation, the master of the development trend of international law, and strong responsibilities of repaying the country with books and using international law to maintain national interests”, I summarized his scientific research direction like this. When we talked about why he chose International Law of the Sea as his main direction of research, teacher Liu said: “at that time, the 3rd United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea was held, and the international society was discussing the formulation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The conference was held from 1973 to the end of 1982, aiming to achieve a blanket agreement on nearly all issues of the law of the sea. This was an international convention with the longest negotiation time, most issues involved, and most complicated system since the United Nations was established, and its importance is second only to Charter of the United Nations.” He pointed out that this conference and planned convention were very important for
During the Conference on the Law of the Sea, teacher Liu folloed the conferences course with perseverance and took an active part in discussions organized by relevant departments, and tried hard to plan advice and suggestions for the Chinese delegations participating in the Conference on the Law of the Sea. And at the same time, teacher Liu achieved results in the theoretical research of the Law of the Sea. In 1986, the book International Law of the Sea was finished and published under his charge, written by several theoretical workers on the Law of the Sea and Chinese representatives participating in the Conference on the Law of the Sea jointly. This is the first academic book comprehensively and systematically discussing the international ocean law system, and it makes a contribution to the foundation of the discipline of the Law of the Sea in
After the 1980s, with the prominence of human rights issues in the layer of international politics and law, teacher Liu opened up international human rights law as another new key research field. The background at that time is: on the one hand, after the reform and opening-up policy was implemented in China, more and more people took part in international human rights activities, actively participated in discussions on human rights issues and the formulation of international human rights at the United Nations, and attended more than ten international human rights conventions in succession; on the other hand, some western countries made human rights diplomacy for political ends, started arguments on issues of human rights, and tried to contain China with the issues of human rights. Under these conditions, international human rights law became a hot topic in
Teacher Liu took an active part in human rights activities and discussions on human rights policies in China, and at the same time, he researched deeply and systematically the theoretical and actual issues on international human rights. He has put forward unique opinions on some issues, such as the universality and particularity of human rights, the relationship between human rights and sovereign rights, the boundary between international human rights protection and not interfering in the affairs of other nations, and the mechanism for implementing the human rights convention in
When talking about the choice of research fields and research key points, I said: “asking your pardon, your exciting point for undertaking scientific research and your uppermost achievements are always on the most urgent theoretical topic faced by the country. I think this is not only because you are in the position of an official scholar of the
Teacher Liu said that there were numerous issues needed researching in front of researchers. As for what issues we shall research, to a large extent, researchers should consider. There are no prohibited areas of scientific research, and scientific researchers can research any issues, namely they are free in the choice of research issues. However, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences is an institute established by China, and it is the think tank and brain trust of the Party Central Committee and the State Council, so at the time of researching issues, researchers of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences can not start from their own interests completely, without considering the nation’s needs. He pointed out that international law has very strong applicability. Scholars of international law in China shall value not only theoretical research, but also research actual issues of international law faced by the country, especially the research of some issues of international law involving the maintenance of national legal rights, international peace and development, and the maintenance of the international normal order and so on, making a stand against power politics and hegemonism internationally, and never showing no interest in bad acts of trumping international law. Teacher Liu does what he says. In books on international law published by him, in quite a lot of books, he has not only stated theories of international law, but also connected with actual situations, using international law to oppose international illegal actions, to maintain the national interests of
Teacher Liu not only insists on linking theory with practice, practicing what he preaches, and paying much attention to actual issues, especially theoretical and actual issues which require immediate solutions in Chinese foreign affairs practice, but also always teaches his students and young scholars: “you shall not only learn basic theories well, but also research actual problems, especially actual topics faced by the country, so as to the maintain national interests of China with the use of international law.” And I had deep feelings about this when I studied under him. The topic selection of my doctoral dissertation was produced under his guidance to a large extent. In 1996, teacher Liu was employed as a member of the expert team on fishery sources legislation issues of the relevant exclusive economic zone of the Ministry of Agriculture. He knew deeply the urgent requirement of pressing on the research of international fishery law, and he suggested that I regard issues on international fishery law as the topic selection for my doctoral dissertation. Later, he also took me to participate in the discussion meeting on fishery sources legislation issues at the Bureau of Fisheries of the Ministry of Agriculture, and he led me to coastal areas to investigate and research ocean and fishery management issues, so I knew about and felt relevant actual issues. At that time, someone said: “select this kind of title for a doctoral dissertation, and I am afraid that it will be difficult for you to find work after graduating.” However, with the influence of my supervisor, I have “refused to come to my senses”. Finally, I wrote my doctoral dissertation named New Development of Fishery Legal System in International Waters, which was a concern of relevant government departments. In addition, after graduating as a doctor, I regard International Law of the Sea and Fishery Law as my key research field.
In 2006, at a symposium, which talked about researchers who were members of the Communist Party, teacher Liu emphasized again and again: “you shall combine your own research interest, research direction, topic selection, and the country’s needs together and maintain national interests through researching and applying international law, so that you can play a role in the think tank and brain trust better.” For several decades, he just practiced this kind of faith diligently and conscientiously.
Abundant Scientific Research Achievements, Practical and Innovative Academic Viewpoints
Teacher Liu has researched the field of international law research, with abundant achievements. He has written and edited several monographs and collected papers, such as International Law of the Sea, International Law, Developing Countries and Human Rights, Universality and Particularity of Human Rights, and Research on Issues of International Criminal Law and so on, co-translated books, such as Modern International Law of the Sea, International Private Law, Theories of Country and Law, and History of the Study of Politics and so on; he has published more than ten academic theses at home and abroad, such as 1946Preparation and Pass of French Constitution, Discussion on Rousseau’s Country Theory, International New Order and Human Rights, Discussion on the Relationship between Human Rights and Sovereign Rights, Keep Effects on the Approval and Implementation of International Convention of Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, and See the Legal Status of “U” Mode Line in the South China Sea from International Law of the Sea and so on; he has also written several research reports, and numerous other academic achievements. In addition, he has also cultivated a group of masters, doctors, and post doctors, some of which have become key people in the scientific research and teaching work of Chinese international law. He has made outstanding contributions to developing the Chinese social science cause, so he was praised by the State Council in 1992, and he enjoys lifelong special government benefits.
Talking about teacher Liu’s achievements in the theory and practice of Chinese international law, if you use some words with quantization, like “an author with many works to his credit”, it is not complete. Besides books published public ally, many countermeasure research reports written by him for relevant departments of the Party Central Committee, such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs etc., have had an effect on the practice of some international law in
Teacher Liu is very modest. He hasn’t talked about any achievements in front of me, and some achievements listed above were solicited from him. I talked with him not long after; the topic was changed to his opinion of the development of the law of the sea.
He opened the International Law of the Sea, and sighed with emotion: “this book was published in 1986. Through the years, conditions have changed a lot. We shall renew and supplement a lot of content, so this book needs revising. However, I don’t have enough time and energy, so this task will rely on you young people.”
I took this “bible” which had taken me through the doors of the international law of the sea, and I felt the heavy content. If we regard it as a doorsill, I have crossed over it. However, it is a series of
He said: “at present, if we recall the developmental course of the law of the sea and look into its development and cause of its formation after the 1990s, we shall research many issues.”
“In your book, you summarized the revolution feature of international law of the sea after “the second world war” as a sentence, “the applicable scope of ocean liberty principle has been narrowed largely, and the trend that sovereign states and international organizations manage organizationally has strengthened gradually””, I tasted this sentence with appreciation, “this sentence highly summarizes the main line for the development of internal law of the sea for the past half a century.”
He said: “the development and change over the past twenty years states that this opinion is right. And this trend is still ongoing. In the 1990s, after the cold war was ended, under the background that international situations become relaxed and a kind of intention of cooperation for solving regional and global problems appeared, the United Nations held a conference to revise chapter 11 of United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, namely deep-sea mining. And then, in 1995, the United Nations also passed Agreement on Trans-boundary and High Migratory Fish Population, which revised the provision on the fishery industry in international waters in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. In 2000, the International Sea Bed Authority passed Prospecting and Exploration Rules of Polymetallic Nodule within the “Region”, and in 2004, it also formulated the draft of Prospecting and Exploration Rules of Polymetallic Sulfide and so on. And the law of the sea has developed greatly in the recent ten years.”
“At present, the international society is discussing the protection of oceananic biodiversity outside areas of national jurisdiction. The European Union proposes to formulate the third executive agreement of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and the key point is building an ocean protection area in international waters. And the issue on deep-sea fishing was also put forward. In November, 2003, the first Deep-sea Fishery Academic Seminar was held in
“Reasons for this change are various, including international politics, economics, science and technology, and military affairs and so on. Only researching its reasons deeply, can we forecast its development trend and think about the countermeasures of
“In this book, you summarized the revolution reasons of the international law of the sea after “the second world war” in three points: firstly, economic recovery and development within the global range and the rapid rise of world population have increased the need to protect the oceans, so various countries struggle to control ocean resources. Secondly, swiftly developed science and technology provides the means and actual possibility for human beings to make use of the ocean in a wider range, especially exploring and developing ocean resources, including deep-sea resources. Under this background, many national legislation, national documents, and proposals on widening national sea area scope of jurisdiction, the utilization and protection of ocean sources, and other ocean usage have been put forward. For example, Truman, the American President, published a continental shelf announcement in 1945; Latin American countries proposed the ocean rights of 200 miles; in 1967, Marc Ado, the Maltese ambassador, suggested that the ocean bed and its subsoil outside the scope of the jurisdiction of various countries shall be announced as “common heritage of mankind”, which was accepted by the United Nations assembly. This series of activities has shaken traditional international law of the sea from its foundation. Thirdly, the rise of third world countries plays an improving role in the development of the law of the sea. They ask to break the traditional international law of the sea, which benefits western countries, and building a new international law of the sea legal system reflecting their benefits”, I read out this chapter spontaneously. “I think that this analysis and discussion are extremely incisive, especially under those conditions”, I said.
Teacher Liu said: “this is the analysis and judgment of that condition. It can not completely state the causes for the development of international law of the sea in recent years. After the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea passed, especially since the 1990s, various causes have pushed forward for the revision of the convention and the new development of the law of the sea. For example, the discovery of new mineral resources on the seabed, the exhaustion of world fishery resources, the increase in and awareness of ocean environment protection globally, further development of ocean technology, and the development of military activity on the sea and anti-terrorism situation etc., these factors have pushed forward the development of the law of the sea continuously.”
I said: “in my doctoral dissertation written in 1998 and Tendency for the Development of International Law of the Sea, the speech to Chinese International Law Annual Conference in 2006, we have put forward: after the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea passed, in the 1980s, the practice of international law of the sea was mainly building, consolidating, and coordinating legal systems within national scope of jurisdiction; after the 1990s, the key point for the development of the law of the sea was re-arranging and strengthening regions outside the national scope of jurisdiction, especially the development of international sea-bed areas and a legal system for the fishery industry in international waters. After the 1990s, features for the development of the law of the sea can be summarized in the following points: firstly, coordinate the benefit based relationships between developed countries and developing countries. And the most outstanding expression was the material alteration of chapter 11 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, namely the development system of international sea-bed regions. Secondly, make up for the contradictions and conflicts between interests in international waters and the coast because of the misalignment of the ocean ecology boundary and political boundary caused by the demarcation of exclusive economic zones. Classic example: in 1995, Agreement on Trans-boundary and High Migratory Fish Population. This agreement requires that maintenance and management measurements inside and outside exclusive economic zones shall be coordinated mutually. Thirdly, coordinate the conflict of interests between resource development and resource and environment protection in sea areas (international waters and “regions”) outside national scope of jurisdiction. And it is mainly revealed in several aspects: deep-sea mining and environmental protection, protection of biological diversity, protection areas of international waters, and the development and protection of deep-sea fishery resources and so on.”
Teacher Liu evaluated my observation in a positive way. “In this aspect, you have made beneficial research. You shall pay special attention to analyzing influences of these developments of international law of the sea towards
I know that teacher Liu has his own opinions on some issues, such as the standard for confirming the range of the continental shelf and the legal position of “U” mode line in the
In the field of international human rights law, teacher Liu has stated his opinions on positions, policies, and specific countermeasures that China shall adopt on issues of human rights in a series of countermeasure research reports written for relevant departments of the Party Central Committee, and he has also discussed incisively some issues, such as the position of human rights in the international order, the relationship between human rights and sovereign rights, and human rights viewpoints of developing countries and so on, in some public works.
“In your book Developing Countries and Human Rights, on the basis of analyzing and researching a large amount of material, you summarized the human rights viewpoints of developing countries as follows: facilitating human rights is the common ideal of people of all countries; human rights is universal, but at the time of handling human rights issues, you shall consider the diversity of every country in the world in politics, economics, society, and culture; human rights can not be segmented, namely it includes not only civil rights and political rights, but also economic rights, social rights, and cultural rights, not only individual rights, but also collective rights; development rights are inalienable human rights; people’s right of self-determination is a basic human right; old international economic order is the root cause for human rights violations, and we shall facilitate building international economic new order to maintain human rights; the primary task for implementing human rights lies in various countries; promote human rights through the way of conversation and cooperation, rather than confrontation; oppose the politicization and ideology of human rights issues.” I know deeply that behind these profound and highly concise words, there is much painstaking effort and the wisdom of the author.
He said: “it is the essence of this book.”
I said: “this is the first attempt made by Chinese scholar. Few people have made so comprehensive and systematic summarization internationally. In this theoretical issue, you have made a creative contribution to international human rights and human rights theory.”
He supplemented: “since modern times, people in developing countries have been constricted by colonialism and imperialism, without any human rights. Therefore, they specially value, cherish, and try hard to pursue human rights. Developing countries have formed their own human rights viewpoints after a long development process. They have made great achievements in the aspect of striving for and maintaining human rights. However, we should realize that the full realization of human rights needs a long development process.”
Think Highly of International Law Research, Place Hopes on Young Scholars
When teacher Liu was asked about his opinions and suggestions for young scholars, a modest and rigorous teacher Liu didn’t consider himself to be a master. He praised the young people in the Law Institute and International Law Center. “At present, half of working the staff in the institute are young people under forty years old. You are young and have wide knowledge, and you can gain information from the internet as much and soon as you can. In addition, most of you have been abroad, with good English, new concepts, and new ideas, and you are completely capable of doing better than people of my generation. I place hopes on you and other young people in the International Law Center”, he emphasized, “at present, in the aspect of material gains in
As for young scholars engaging in international law research, he said: “at present, the world is not very peaceful, and international relationships are anfractuous, with rapid change, so it is very necessary for international law to coordinate the relationship between countries and to maintain world peace and normal international order. Through twenty-years of reform and opening-up, the international status of
And then, he said: “at the time of maintaining national interests, we shall also make contributions to world peace and development and the improvement of the whole body of mankind. Therefore,
“It is the era of a multipolarised world and economic globalization, and issues of international law emerge endlessly, so you are able to develop your skills to fullfil your research of international law”, he said, “choose your research field, and research with persistence. You may feel pain sometimes, but will gain some major achievements after all.”
Wang Hanling, male, was the doctor of laws at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and post doctor of laws at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada. At present, he is an associate researcher at the International Law Research Center of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a Professor at the Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and special arbitration expert in the Chinese fishery industry through the nomination of the Chinese government to the United Nations in accordance with United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. He is an ocasioanl consultant to the Legal Office of the United Nations.
Translated by Feng Weijiang.
Editor: Wang Daohang