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  • Speaker | 21 August, 2017

    The Political Economy of Han Xinjiang: Organised Dependency and Lucrative Chaos

    Social control is the main preoccupation of the Chinese authorities in Xinjiang argues the economic anthropologist, Tom Cliff. Both rhetoric and military force have intensified in 2017. The rolling “strike hard” campaigns of the 2000s have given way to a permanent war footing. What is life like for ordinary Han settlers in Xinjiang—people just trying to “get along”? How does it differ from the rest of China? And what do their lives tell us about the political economies of Xinjiang, and its fraught relationship with the cultural and political core of China?

    These questions are key to understanding the mechanisms of unrest and social control in contemporary Xinjiang. Based on more than three years of field research in Xinjiang, Tom Cliff will argue that ordinary Han are central political actors in this ongoing tragedy and that economic and civilian relationships are just as important as guns and military power in effecting social control in Xinjiang.

    Cliff will address the FCCC and take questions on these issues, offering an in-depth and historically-grounded viewpoint on contemporary Xinjiang.


    Tom Cliff is an economic anthropologist based at the Australian National University. He is the author of Oil and Water: Being Han in Xinjiang, which was published by Chicago University Press in June 2016. He has a PhD in Asian Studies and is currently investigating informal finance, social stability management, and welfare structures in non-metropolitan China. Cliff spent over three years living in and exploring Xinjiang since he first passed through in 1995. 27 months of that time was specifically dedicated to research for his book, during which time he lived and worked for the elite Tarim Oilfield Company, based in Korla, South Xinjiang. His 2015–2016 publications on Xinjiang include a book chapter with Columbia University Press and an article in The China

    DATE: Aug 21 (Monday) 6-7:30pm
    VENUE: Embassy of Australia, 21 Dongzhimenwai Dajie
    ENTRANCE: FCCC Members free, non-members: 100 RMB. With passports and prior registration only.

    Speaker | 18 August, 2017

    The Chinese Supreme People’s Court Database – how to use it and what secrets does it reveal about China’s legal system?

    Until just a few years ago, China’s court cases were unavailable to the general public and it was near impossible to find court decisions on specific topics. But in recent years, China’s Supreme Court required lower courts to publish court decisions in a database accessible to the public. There is no cost or fee to use the database, and it is easy to navigate says our speaker, Geoffrey Sant. The database now holds approximately 32 million cases and is adding tens of thousands every week. It has received in excess of 9 billion visits so far. The court database provides a tremendously rich resource for journalists interested in reporting on China’s legal system, crimes, high-profile disputes, corruption, and scandals, says Sant, and it also offers the opportunity to find trends and cases that are otherwise unknown or unfamiliar outside of China.

    Geoffrey Sant, partner at Dorsey and Whitney LLP and an adjunct professor at Fordham University School of Law and at the China University of Political Science and Law (in Beijing) will walk FCCC members through the Supreme Court Database and show them how to make practical use of the resource as well as highlight some of the more newsworthy cases. Some of the cases he will highlight include: eyewitness testimony of drivers running over pedestrians multiple times, cases of “ding zui,” in which one person falsely admits to a crime in place of the real criminal and cases of police officers arrested for corruption and assisting criminals.


    Geoffrey Sant is a Partner at Dorsey & Whitney LLP. He is also an adjunct professor at Fordham University School of Law and at the China University of Political Science and Law (in Beijing). He is the President of the Board of Directors of the New York Chinese Cultural Center and Director of the Chinese Business Lawyers Association. As an attorney, Geoffrey Sant represents such international banks as Bank of China, Bank of Communications, Bank of East Asia, Banco Nacional de Argentina, DNB Nor Bank ASA, Agricultural Bank of China, China Construction Bank, and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. On behalf of one of his clients, Geoffrey Sant defeated a class action litigation brought against the client and then successfully convinced the judge to impose money sanctions against the law firm that sued his client. Among his other clients, he represents some of China’s largest investment and real estate companies. In 2016, the PRC Ministry of Culture selected him as a “Young Sinologist.” Geoffrey Sant’s articles on China include introducing substitute criminals (ding zui) to the West in 2012, and a controversial article on hit-to-kill drivers. He has a BA from the University of Chicago, an MA in Chinese and Japanese literature from Columbia University, and a JD from NYU School of Law.

    DATE: Friday, Aug 18, 10-11:30am

    VENUE: Embassy of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg Unit 1701, Tower B, Pacific Century Place, 2A Gong Ti Bei Lu – Beijing

    ENTRANCE: FCCC members free, non-members 100RMB