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Thursday, October 9, 2003 - 19:30

Criminal Justice and Sino-American Relations

Professor J. Cohen
Law Professor

Swiss Embassy

Since the first American ship arrived in China in 1784, criminal justice has been a frequent flashpoint in U.S.-China relations. The establishment of the People's Republic in 1949 witnessed several serious disputes over criminal law and procedure relating to American diplomats, missionaries and business people, and this was said to be one of the reasons why the U.S. refused to recognize the new regime in Beijing. Espionage charges led to China's subsequent convictions of other Americans, all of whom were released as Sino-American relations began to thaw in the early 70s. Yet the recent era of friendly cooperation has spawned continuing controversies over Americans detained and sentenced on charges as varied as theft of state secrets, spying for Taiwan, tax evasion and bribery. Professor Cohen has assisted the defense in many of these cases, which even today remain a thorn in the side of Chinese and American diplomats.

Professor Jerome Cohen of New York University Law School was a former Harvard Law Professor and adjunct senior fellow for Asia at the Council for Foreign Relations as well as a former partner at Paul Weiss in charge of China. Professor Cohen is currently involved in some controversial criminal cases in China.