Law Professor Pitman Potter of the University of British Columbia was talking about his upcoming paper "China's Health Care Policy". It's about how the National Human Rights Action Plan of China and China's Health Care Reform Guidelines fail to take into account the rising costs of drugs and the descending level of access to medicines in China, because of patent protection and enforcement. In the paper the role of the Doha Declaration, as an interpretation on the flexibilities of the Agreement on Trade and Intellectual Property Rights, will come to the fore. So stay tuned for Professor Potter's paper.
UPDATE May 19, 2010: Professor Potter's paper is 'Dilemmas of Access to Healthcare in China', published in China: an International Journal 8, 1, March 2010, pp 164-179.
Another interesting presentation was given by Law Professor Donald Clarke, who is connected to the George Washington University Law School. His presentation was about "The Concept of the Extra-Legal in Chinese Law and Its Significance". Professor Clarke was making the point that scholars who were either focusing on the differences or the similarities between China and the rest of the world, might miss the point. Professor Clarke said that the discussion about whether China's legal system is mature or immature is a bit ridiculous, because nobody knows what the end stage is going to look like. And of course it is not strange that China, given its different background, comes up with a different legal system. His main point was that China's legal system has different layers, which could each be observed:
1. the factual claim, if a norm is violated;
2. the norm, which is saying that it is illegal to violate a norm;
3. this layer is the meta-layer and is about the legal system game itself.