Go Beyond: Center for Chinese Legal Studies and U.S.-Sino Relations Timeline
Read the full story: Turning the Tide
Browse a timeline of milestone events for Columbia Law School's Center for Chinese Legal Studies, as well as select moments in diplomatic relations between the U.S. and China.
First Law School Course on Chinese Law
Victor Li ’64 teaches Columbia Law School’s first course on Chinese law.
The Columbia campus in the late 1960s.
Nixon Visits China
In February, President Richard Nixon visits China.
Chairman Mao Zedong shakes hands with President Richard Nixon. February, 1972. U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.
R. Randle Edwards Joins Law School Faculty
R. Randle Edwards, the Walter Gellhorn Professor Emeritus of Law, joins the Columbia Law School faculty.
Ford Meets with Mao
In December, President Gerald Ford meets with Chinese Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong.
President Gerald Ford at the White House in 1975. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.
Lubman Leads Delegation to China
Stanley Lubman ’58 leads the first American Bar Association delegation to China.
Professor Edwards Visits China
In May, Professor R. Randle Edwards first visits China with a group from the U.S.-China People’s Friendship Association. He returned in November as the vice chairman of the second American Bar Association delegation to China.
U.S.-China Diplomacy Restored
The U.S. and China restore diplomatic relations in January. President Jimmy Carter meets with Chinese Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping.
Deng Xiaoping and Jimmy Carter at the White House. January 1979. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.
Professor Edwards Returns to China
Professor R. Randle Edwards makes several visits to China, including a faculty visit led by Columbia Law School Dean Albert J. Rosenthal in June.
Chinese Exchange Students Arrive at the Law School
Five Chinese exchange students arrive at Columbia Law School as part of the Program in American Law Scholars developed by Professor R. Randle Edwards.
Study Abroad Program in China Begins
In cooperation with the East China Institute of Politics and Law, Professor R. Randle Edwards organizes Columbia Law School’s first study abroad program in China. The program is open to Columbia students, students from other American universities, and practicing attorneys.
Law School’s First Chinese LL.M. Student Enrolls
Columbia Law School’s first LL.M. student from China, Guiguo Wang, begins his studies. He is now the dean and chair professor of Chinese and contemporary law at the City University of Hong Kong.
Center for Chinese Legal Studies Established
Columbia Law School establishes the Center for Chinese Legal Studies. Also, Professor R. Randle Edwards starts his term as chair of the Committee for Legal Education Exchange with China (CLEEC). CLEEC is generally recognized as the most important post-1979 legal education exchange between the United States and China. Edwards remained chair until 1991.
Chinese Premier Visits U.S.
In January, Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang visits the U.S. for the first time.
President Ronald Reagan walking with Premier Zhao Ziyang of the People’s Republic of China at the White House. January 1984. Courtesy Ronald Reagan Library.
Reagan Visits China
In April, President Ronald Reagan visits China.
President Reagan participates in an arrival ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. April 1984. Courtesy Ronald Reagan Library.
Oldham Fellowship Established
The John Rochester Oldham Fellowship is established to fund Columbia Law School students doing public interest work and/or research in China.
The Journal of Chinese Law Established
The Journal of Chinese Law (known since 1996 as The Columbia Journal of Asian Law) publishes its first issue. Professor R. Randle Edwards serves as the editor in chief of the journal for the next nine years.
Hong Kong Returned to China
In July, the United Kingdom returns Hong Kong to Chinese control.
A badge commemorating the event.
Chinese President Visits U.S.
In October, Jiang Zemin is the first Chinese president to visit the U.S. in 12 years.
Trade Relations Normalized
In September, the U.S. Congress grants China permanent normal trade relations status.
Law School Professors Start Legal Clinics in China
Professors Carol Liebman and Margaret Shaw are two of the first experts to establish legal clinics in China. They visit Tsinghua Law School, which was one of seven law schools funded by the Ford Foundation with the aim of establishing legal clinics in China.
President Bush Meets with Chinese President Jiang Zemin
In October, President George W. Bush meets with Chinese President Jiang Zemin.
Chinese President Jiang Zemin and his wife Wang Yeping visited George and Laura Bush's home in Crawford, Texas, in 2002.
Professor Benjamin Liebman Becomes CCLS Director
R. Randle Edwards retires and Professor Benjamin L. Liebman takes over as director of the Center for Chinese Legal Studies. The Law School also founds the R. Randle Edwards Fellowship, which supports outstanding Chinese legal scholars and teachers who wish to spend a period in residence at Columbia Law School and conduct research under the direction of the Center for Chinese Legal Studies.
Professor Benjamin Liebman
CCCL Partners With Public Interest Law Institute
The Center for Chinese Legal Studies partners with the Public Interest Law Institute (now known as PILnet: The Global Network for Public Interest Law) to host public interest law fellows from China.
Law School Establishes Haas Fellowship
Columbia Law School establishes the Marc Haas Public Interest Fellowship. The fellowship supports graduates from greater China who remain in the U.S. to pursue public interest law work immediately after graduation.
CCCL Conference Honors Lubman
The Center for Chinese Legal Studies hosts a conference in honor of Stanley Lubman ’58 that draws more than 50 leading Chinese law scholars from around the world.
Fubon Fellowship Fund Created
The Fubon Fellowship Fund is created through the generosity of Fubon Financial Holding Co. Ltd., Taiwan’s third-largest bank, under the direction of Daniel M. Tsai, chairman, and Richard M. Tsai, vice chairman and chief executive officer. The fund provides fellowships to Columbia Law School LL.M. students, with award preference given to those from greater China.
Law School Launches Exchange Programs
Columbia Law School becomes the first American law school to launch student exchange programs with Fudan University in Shanghai and Peking University in Beijing. Student exchanges began in the 2006–2007 academic year.
The law school building at Fudan University.
Hsu Scholarship Fund Established
The Allen Hsu Scholarship Fund is created through gracious support from Allen Hsu, the deputy managing director of the Yulon Group, a major automotive assembly and textiles industrial group in Taipei, Taiwan.
Huang Scholarship Fund Established
The Jack J.T. Huang Scholarship Fund is created at Columbia Law School through the kindness of Jack J.T. Huang, partner-in-charge in the Taipei office of Jones Day, who oversees the firm’s greater China practice.
Judge Xue Hanqin Visits
Xue Hanqin ’83 LL.M. ’95 J.S.D., who currently serves as a judge on the International Court of Justice, visits the Law School.
Xue Hanqin with Professor Louis Henkin. October 2007.
CCCL Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary
The Center for Chinese Legal Studies celebrates its 25th anniversary with events in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Beijing. These events kick off Columbia Law School’s year long, global sesquicentennial celebration.
Professor Benjamin Liebman with experts in Chinese law in the Hunan Room at the Great Hall of the People. Beijing. January 2008.
Senior Law School Faculty Travel to China
Several senior Columbia Law School faculty travel to China to participate in conferences, formulate international policy, and advise on developing tort law.
Law School Establishes Chinese Judges Program
The Center for Chinese Legal Studies partners with the City University of Hong Kong and the National Judges College of China to train Chinese judges in a month-long program at Columbia Law School. The program focuses on U.S. constitutional law, civil procedure, and torts.
This past July, 30 judges and 15 LL.M. students from the program visited the chambers of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ’59. July 2011.
Obama Visits China
In November, President Barack Obama visits China during a tour of the region.
Chinese President Hu Jintao and President Barack Obama at the Great Hall of People in Beijing. November 2009.
Professors Carol Liebman and Barbara Schatz Return to China
Professors Carol B. Liebman and Barbara A. Schatz return to China to celebrate 10 years of Chinese clinical legal education.