About the Fund
Nurturing the Rule of Law in China
Since 1999, 46 American corporations and firms have invested more than $1.7 million in a unique effort to strengthen the rule of law (RoL) in China, known as the US-China Legal Cooperation Fund (Fund).
Over the course of 13 years, the Fund made 125 grants to support a wide variety of RoL projects in China. These projects were jointly conducted by Chinese and American co-participants, most of which are educational institutions or legal services organizations. Often the Fund's grants served as seed money, helping to leverage greater levels of support from other funders.
The Fund's Trustees decided to bring the Fund's small-scale, seed grant-making to a close in December 2012, recognizing the greater opportunities now available to Chinese and American partners for collaboration and the wider range of potential funding sources. The Trustees value the contributions that Chinese and American partners have made to strengthening the rule of law in China and wish them continued success in their endeavors.
For further information on the Fund's history and accomplishments, please see the article in the January-March 2013 issue of the China Business Review.
Below are some of the Fund's accomplishments:
Promoted legal development of China's governmental process, by supporting
- Compilation of a handbook on conducting Chinese village elections;
- Research on possible reforms of National People's Congress legislative procedures; and
- Research and a workshop in China on freedom of information.
Enabled Chinese citizens to understand and enforce their legal rights, by supporting
- Education of Chinese farmers and lawyers in Chinese land laws, and promoting rural land reform;
- Publication of a Chinese health law textbook for Chinese law schools; and
- Training of legal aid lawyers in representing women victims of domestic violence.
Strengthened China's judicial and administrative legal processes, by supporting
- Establishment of a facility for resolution of commercial disputes;
- Evaluations of Chinese courts' performance in commercial litigation; and
- Training of Chinese judges in court administration.
Enabled Chinese law drafters, judges, lawyers, and law teachers to learn about American laws, by supporting
- Chinese-language courses in China on US corporate, securities, and intellectual property law;
- Publication of an English-to-Chinese law dictionary and a manual for translation of international trade terms; and
- Production of a Chinese-language journal about American law.
Strengthened protection of intellectual property rights (IPR), by supporting
- A seminar for Chinese judges on IPR;
- A Chinese university patent training workshop;
- A program for US-China cooperation in education and research on IPR; and
- A study of criminal sanctions to enhance trademark protection in China.
Reinforced China's WTO education and compliance efforts, by supporting
- Dissemination of the obligations and requirements imposed on China by the World Trade Organization (WTO);
- WTO training programs for Chinese judges, government officials, academics, and enterprise managers; and
- Education of Chinese legislators and agriculture regulators on WTO agriculture implications.
In 2005, the Fund's Trustees, with the generous assistance of the GE Foundation, commissioned an independent evaluation of the Fund's work by Professor Stephen J. Golub, an expert on RoL programs. His report, available without charge on request, states its "core conclusion is that [the Fund] plays a valuable role in contributing to improvements in China's legal system."