Professor Bing Ling

Chinese law expert Professor Bing Ling is investigating the reform of civil and contract law in China – a field of study with significant and long-lasting impact on the lives of all Chinese citizens.

The reform of civil, commercial and contract law literally affects everyone in society, with immediate impact on the daily work of judges, lawyers and legislators. The codification of civil law is an important part of the modernisation of the legal system in China. Some of the current developments in the area, such as the regulation of financial transactions, present significant aspects of the ongoing economic reform in China.

I was attracted to work at the University of Sydney by the high standard of research and scholarship existing at the Faculty of Law and the China Studies Centre. The wealth of expertise at the centre, and opportunities for collaborative work with colleagues from other disciplines, provide good synergy and impetus for my own research.

At present I am working on a monograph of the latest contract law developments in China. I have been working with legal officers and researchers of the Supreme People's Court, the Legislative Affairs Commission of the National People’s Congress and leading law schools in China. The China Studies Centre’s contacts facilitate my understanding of the current debates in the legal reform and the direction of future developments.

I think it is important that the centre’s work contributes to a better and more sophisticated understanding of the development of China, which is a major economic partner of Australia and is likely to play a bigger role in world affairs in future.

Educating future scholars

A cross-disciplinary approach is particularly beneficial for students of China studies. In the area of law, for instance, mere study of the legal system is usually inadequate without a broader understanding of the historical and socio-political context in which the law works. That’s why the cross-disciplinary approach of the master’s courses offered by the China Studies Centre is so appropriate. A higher command of knowledge and skills on China not only broadens the intellectual outlook of students, but could provide long-term career benefits at a time of growing relevance of China and knowledge about it.

As for the centre’s PhD in the area of China Studies, I believe this will provide more diversity in research methods and lead to broader and deeper investigation of almost all subjects of China studies. It is the future of China research.

Professor Bing Ling is a member of the China Studies Centre’s Board of Management and its Education Committee and Professor of Chinese Law at the University of Sydney Faculty of Law.