Personal Statement

              Applied Program: LL.M. Degree at Harvard Law School

Requirements: Please read parts (a) and (b) below carefully and write an essay addressing both questions, with (a) constituting at least half of the total length. Your entire statement should be no more than 1,500 words ---anything exceeding the word limit will be disallowed. Please type or word-process your statement, with your full name on the top of each page and your signature at the end, and attach it to your application.

Part A: Briefly describe either an important issue in your field of interest or a current legal problem facing a particular country, region, or the world, and then propose a theoretical framework or a strategy you would use to address this issue.

Part B: Please tell us something about yourself – in particular, why you wish to pursue an LL.M. degree at Harvard and how doing so connects with what you have done in the past and what you plan to do in the future.

Part A

A current legal problem facing China is the judicial corruption and injustices. China’s existing judicial system, established under the conventional framework, is increasingly failing to facilitate the development of the market economy and the formation of a society ruled by law. Judicial injustices have constituted the most serious obstacle that are seriously endangering China’s social and economic programs, jeopardizing social stability and resulting in the general public’s skepticism, distrust and even contempt for the authority of law. China’s accession into the WTO, a drastic event which marks China’s determination to conform to international practices, has further rendered the existing judicial system obsolescent. The system of market economy, which China is assiduously trying to establish, will be inconceivable without a sound judicial system.

With the reform in China’s judicial system becoming inevitable, several strategies can be adopted. First, as the core of judicial reform, judicial independence is the guarantee for overcoming the weak condition of the judicial realm and for creating a just judicial system and implementing constitutional government. The core of judicial independence is the exercise of complete autonomy in the execution of judicial power, with no interference of any external factors, especially the interference from other components of the political system. Judicial independence can be understood on three levels: the independence of the judicial power, the independence of the court and the independence of the judge. The independence of the judicial power necessarily requires the independence of the court. When the independence of the court reaches a certain point, the independence of the judge will correspondingly become inevitable. China’s existing political system has not created a sound environment in which judicial organs can independently exercise the judicial power. The judicial power has not been given its due status among three branches of power. The local arrangements of judicial systems make the courts highly dependent on the authorities of local governments in such crucial matters as personnel and financing. Various kinds of external, non-judicial interferences result in the unfair trials of many cases, and even resulting in unjust, false and erroneous cases. The relevant management systems within the court prevent judges from conducting independent trials of cases. The trials of cases are controlled by top officials of the courts and have to seek the approval of from many departments within the court. Essentially, the collegiate panels attend the trials but the opinions they provide are largely ignored and they have no right to deliver any verdict. The central part of China’s judicial reform lies in how to concretely carry out the independent status endowed by the Constitution on the judiciary. It is also an issue that demands urgent solutions by the judiciary and legislative community. The successful experiences of the Western countries that perform “the rule by law” are worthy of our borrowing and learning from.

Second, the specialization, professionalism and elitism of judges will facilitate the success of judicial reform. In a debate with the English King James I, Sir Edward Coke pointed out that as an art, the profession of law could only be mastered through a long period of learning and practice. However, over the past 40 years in China, there have been no strict requirements concerning the educational background of the candidate to be appointed as judge. This lack of educational requirements has resulted in a large number of people without proper legal education becoming judges and procurators. The reform in the system of appointing judges has becoming a particularly pressing issue.

Furthermore, to ensure the success of judicial reform, several other major issues have to be solved. Those issues include the positive involvement of the executive in the judicial system, the elimination of regional protectionism in the judicial sphere, perfection of judicial procedures, and the establishment of an effective supervision mechanism.

Finally, China’s forth-coming judicial reform, especially the construction of legal professionalism, will constitute a major historical project in China’s social development. This requires us to study and to learn from the “Rule-by-Law” concepts and experiences in Western countries. It also requires the rational guidance, strong advocacy and brave trailblazing on the part of judicial professionals represented by jurists, lawyers and judges. It further requires the active support and involvement of the press and the media, as well as the general public. It can thus be concluded that judicial reform is the key of the keys to the construction of China as a “Rule-by-Law” country.

Part B

As a legal professional who has received 7-year academic education and specialized trainings in the field of jurisprudence at Fudan University (one of China’s few most prestigious universities in jurisprudence), as one of the first volunteers in China’s earliest non-governmental human rights research institute and legal support organization, and as an accomplished diplomat with 7-year rich experience in negotiating the issues involved in the handovers of Hong Kong and Macao with my British and Portuguese counterparts, I have always been proud of the noble cause of safeguarding social equality and justice that I have been engaged in. With a successful academic and career background behind me, I am now determined to seek a LL.M. program in jurisprudence at the most internationally prestigious law school which is Harvard Law School. My purpose is two-fold, to acquire further professional improvement in my chosen field and to accomplish important achievements in the area of China’s judicial reform which I have been seriously concerned with over the past few years.

It was at Fudan University that I completed both my undergraduate and graduate education. In both of those programs, I specialized in International Law. My choice of law as my specialty was originally made under the belief that law is an instrument that can facilitate social equality and justice. In my perspective, social equality and justice are the primary values that transcend any social system. The systematic legal trainings I received at Fudan University enabled me to develop a comprehensive understanding of my specialty. Those trainings also helped me establish a solid professional foundation. Above all, they reinforced my convictions concerning the spirit of law. For 10 years, I have been conscientiously following the example of Sir Edward Coke, the English jurist during the 16th and 17th century, who represents to me wisdom, integrity and courage of a legal professional. It is this spiritual model that has inspired me in my pursuit.

For three years, I worked as volunteer at the Center for the Protection of Rights of Disadvantaged Citizens established by the Law Department of Fudan University and my responsibility was that of an administrative lawsuit coordinator. I dealt with dozens of cases, which created considerable sensations in the local legal profession and in local community. Among them, two cases have become classical cases of administrative lawsuits (please refer to the enclosed materials). My involvement in those social practices allowed me not only to accumulate abundant first-hand experience in undertaking legal matters but also to come close to the dispossessed and the discriminated, those members of the working class who occupy the lowest rung of the social ladder. My exposure to those groups of people enabled me to witness and experience the dire realities of China’s judicial practice and human rights conditions.

The most direct motive in my present application for admission into Harvard Law School is to study the legal systems represented by the American and British common laws. My studies will provide me with a framework in which to probe into the possible ways of reforming, on the level of decision-making, China’s legal system, especially its judicial system. The reforms might lead to the establishment of an independent and just judicial system and ultimately to the establishment of the principle of legal supremacy. The United States is a typical country ruled by law and my studies in the United States will allow me to develop an immediate and direct understanding of this country’s legal system and political system, as well as its judicial framework and the mode of operation. My wish is to grasp the essence of the American judicial system and apply my acquired knowledge to the judicial reform in China.

My professional background and my personal qualities, they all contribute to my implicit confidence in the successful completion of my prospective degree program and in an equally successful career. Apart from my relevant educational and work experience, I am strong in my research potential. During my Master’s program, I published a number of research papers (please refer to my Resume), which may serve as an indication of my research ability. In my work, I have been involved in important legal matters involved in the handovers of Hong Kong and Macao. I would also like to call your attention to my readiness to undertake challenging responsibilities through diligent work, and diversified interests and special skills.

Following the completion of my graduate law studies, I will return to my Alma Mater to seek a teaching and research position. Fudan University Law School is one of the most prestigious law schools in China, with a democratic and liberal academic atmosphere. There is a galaxy of experts in jurisprudence who have a strong sense of social justice and responsibility. Together with them, I will endeavor to disseminate advanced legal ideas, train my prospective students into legal professionals equipped with the spirit of social equality and justice, and democracy. Meanwhile, I will continue to play an active role in the Center for the Protection of Rights of Disadvantaged Citizens, Fudan University. Apart from that, I plan to cooperate with law departments in other universities and with a number of law firms by establishing a nationwide non-governmental legal support network. As one of the first legal volunteers with three-year experience working at this center, I am confident about its future development.

My long-term career plan is to provide professional legal consultations to the Central Government’s decision-making organizations and legislative organs. Based on my acute social observations, my research and problem-solving abilities, and my 7-year work experience in legal affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, I am sure I can become an important think-tanker to the Government.

As Aristotle points out, law is the crystallization of all human wisdom and intelligence, encompassing all social concepts and morality. I believe that during my studies at Harvard Law School I will be endowed with true legal wisdom and subjected to the most rigorous legal trainings to make myself into an accomplished legal professional in the future. It is sincerely expected that serious considerations will be given to my application.



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