Friday, June 12, 2009

China has a very real habit of instituting new laws and then never enforcing them

TO BE NOTED: From China Law Blog:

Two China Things Of Which We Dare Not Speak (And Sex Is Not One of Them).
Posted by Dan on June 12, 2009 at 06:52 AM

I often get emails from readers asking me to write about a particular topic. There are two topics on which I frequently receive emails and on which I virtually never write. Proposed laws and China diplomatic meetings with foreign countries.

Just about every time there is a rumor of a major new Chinese law, I get an email from someone asking me to write about it. I virtually never do. This happened most recently regarding the news that China would soon be requiring all computers sold within China to come with built in web filtering software.

I do not like writing about proposed laws for the following reasons:

1. There are so many laws already on the books and being enforced that need coverage more. Laws on the books will impact you right now. Proposed laws may or may not ever come into being.

2. China has a very real habit of saying it will institute a new law and then never doing so. It floats new laws to gauge reaction. If the reaction is negative, the law oftentimes never comes into being.

3. China has a very real habit of instituting new laws and then never enforcing them. This often happens when the new law is negatively received.

I am absolutely thrilled our readership is so internationally diverse, but this also means that I often receive emails from people wanting me to cover their diplomatic relations with China. For two reasons, I never do this because China is always engaging in diplomatic meetings with some country somewhere. I do not see this as news. The press virtually always describes these meetings as positive and they almost always seem to end with a comment on how both countries expect increased trade and how some economic/business/aid package has been agreed to. This is not news. This does not warrant analysis. This is mutual public relations. Move along.

This is not a blanket rule (though I do not think I have yet to cover such a story) and I do reserve the right to cover some future major China diplomatic breakthrough. But for now, I will leave these stories to Xinhua.

Am I off base here? "

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