Chinese ban forces ABA to cancel event

A conference in Beijing and Shanghai organised by the American Bar Association and the All China Lawyers' Association has been cancelled after an edict from the Chinese Government banned international conferences in banking, finance and law.

The conference entitled 'The role of lawyers in the creation of a market economy in China' was due to have taken place from 9 to 18 June. But Rita Gould, of organisers China Source, says: “China is having a power struggle. Our seminar and quite a few others were cancelled.”

Some American lawyers believe that the cancellation was due to the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre and reacted angrily.

However, Gould, who has 20 years' experience of working in China, says: ” I have found that if you are persistent and have patience, things work out.”

She says she was describing this cancellation as “a postponement” and expects it to be rescheduled to take place next summer.

Gould says the conference was organised last October in conjunction with the All China Lawyers' Association and with the permission of the Ministry of Justice.

However, the State Council, which can override Ministry of Justice decisions, recently said that it did not want “foreigners in the country who have anything to do with law, banking or finance,” Gould adds.

The All China Lawyers' Association and the Ministry of Justice is reportedly upset at the ban, she says.

Chicago firm Mayer Brown & Platt is set to leave Tokyo later this year. The firm, which has maintained a presence in the city for over 10 years, cites high costs and a decreasing workload as the main reasons behind its departure. A number of other firms are also reviewing the position of their Tokyo offices and more departures are expected before the end of the year.