China / People

Law man

By Liu Xiangrui (China Daily) Updated: 2016-07-15 09:09

Eugene Clark brings an international legal perspective to many China projects and institutions, Liu Xiangrui reports.

Law expert Eugene Clark, 68, has been involved with teaching and research in and about China for two decades.

As an active commentator on China issues, he was invited to Beijing in June to give a presentation at a conference that focused on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and its impact upon China.

Clark is a fellow with the Australia Academy of Law and a professor emeritus at the University of Canberra, where he was formerly pro vice chancellor. He is on the board of three international journals and a member of the Legal Education Committee of the Law Council of Australia. Born in the United States, he is now a citizen of both the US and Australia.

Clark's direct interaction with China started in 1995, when he received a "China Links" grant from the Australian government as part of a team of law academics from the University of Canberra.

They formed a partnership with the China University of Political Science and Law. Experts from both sides engaged in various collaborative activities including hosting conferences in Beijing and Canberra, producing special issues of publications that focused on China-Australia comparative law.

Clark recalls making many friends in those early exchanges with China, which led to his later work in the country.

"We shared networks to build bridges of understanding and cooperation between Australia and China," says Clark.

He says his interest in China started after he moved to Australia from the US in the mid-1970s, when he noted the growing involvement of Australia and the US with China.

"Australia's geographic position makes China especially important. Historically, too, the presence and contribution of Chinese immigrants to Australia's economy and society have been significant," he adds.

In 2012, he was appointed a distinguished professor at China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing, and became the university's first Global 1,000 Talents scholar. The 1,000 Talents program was initiated by the Chinese government to recruit global experts.

Besides teaching undergraduate and postgraduate classes, he has published articles in international journals, several of which were co-authored with Chinese scholars, and assisted the university with building relations with international universities.

After his three-year period as a Global 1,000 Talents scholar ended, Clark continues to visit China periodically to attend conferences, and has been a visiting professor of law at the same university since 2015.

During his time in China, Clark has had the opportunity to visit different universities and tour many historical and cultural sites around the country.

"In the 20-year period since I first came to China, I have seen how dramatically the country has changed," says Clark. "I have also come to appreciate the immense size and vastness of China. I appreciate now that there are many 'Chinas'. In each province the food, the history, the industry, the geography, the cultural traditions and the dialect are wonderfully diverse and continuing to evolve while at the same time each contributing to the whole."

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