Author Archives: Sjaak Zhang

Sjaak Zhang

About Sjaak Zhang

Dr. Shuai Zhang (1984), known by his Dutch colleagues as Sjaak, was born in Qingdao, China. He obtained his first law degree at China University of Political Science and Law (CUPL) in 2007, acquired the Legal Professional Qualification Certificate of China in February 2009, and was registered as a bar lawyer in Shandong Province in 2010. He obtained an LL.M in Human Rights Law at CUPL, where he specialized in Civil Rights and Criminal Justice. In 2012, he graduated on a master thesis focusing on China's death penalty review procedure and the right to life. From October 2012 tup until, Shuai worked as a PhD candidate at the Willem Pompe Institute for Criminal Law and Criminology at the Utrecht University, under the bursary of China Scholarship Council. In September 2017, he obtained his PhD in law. His dissertation, "Transparency and Legitimacy in Chinese Criminal Procedure: Beyond Adversarial Dogmas", supervised by Prof. John Vervaele and Prof. Chrisje Brants, co-supervised by Prof. He Jiahong, was published by Eleven International Publishing in 2017.

“Practically unimportant”? A poor excuse or well-executed sarcasm? — On China’s constitutional amendment removing the limitation on the President’s term of office

Shuai Zhang in response to a previous blog post by Cong-rui Qiao

chinese constitutionThe National Congress of China has recently passed a highly controversial constitutional amendment removing the limitation on the President’s term of office. Consequently, it is no longer limited to two consecutive terms. While some consider this amendment as a step towards dictatorship, many are seemingly trying to interpret it in a more sympathetic way. A very popular discourse regards the change merely as a “practically unimportant” technical fine-tuning. Ironically, this argument is roughly supported by two rival groups. This blog elaborates why neither of these groups is right in labelling such a change as “practically unimportant”, and argues that the constitutional amendment is in fact very important. Continue reading

Why is a legal “case” literally called a “desk” in Chinese?


Sjaak Zhang

Trials in China largely consist of written documents collected in a dossier rather than in oral debates. This perception and administration of (criminal) justice is deeply entrenched in China’s legal culture, which can be well illustrated by China’s peculiar terminology on (criminal) trial.  Continue reading

Should the national day be considered as the birthday of the mother country? The conflict between two kinds of outlooks on the concept of “country”


national_day_decorations_-_beihai_parkSjaak Zhang

During the past week, China was celebrating its 67th national day; meanwhile, an intense controversy as to whether the national day should be considered as the birthday of the mother country arose, which has demonstrated Chinese people’s confusion about what constitute a country. This blog seeks to briefly explain where such confusion lies, and how it comes. Continue reading