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James Yuan on Compliance for Doing Business in China - International Legal Lecture Series Session 1

In order to enhance students' practical knowledge, the China-EU School of Law at the China University of Political Science and Law organized a series of lectures in the master of European and International Law elective module, inviting distinguished international law professionals to share their experiences in legal practice.

On April 23, 2021, students participated in the first lecture of this series through a video conference, with the topic: "Compliance for Doing Business in China."

The lecture was given by Mr. Ke James Yuan, a Legal Director of Global Investigations at the Office of General Counsel of MSD (Merck Sharp & Dohme). Mr. Yuan is a New York licensed attorney highly experienced in White Collar Crime, Internal Investigations, and Corporate Compliance. Mr. Yuan also serves as an editor of the China Guiding Cases Project at Stanford Law School that provides knowledge and understanding of Chinese law to the international legal community through ongoing dialogue on cases released by China's Supreme People's Court.

Mr. Yuan engaged in in-depth discussions with students and other attendees about corporate compliance in China. Professor Silley, European Executive Co-Dean of CESL, presided over the lecture. The lecture was held in Classroom 210 of the Mingfa Building, and over 100 students also attended the lecture online.

At the beginning of the lecture, Mr. Yuan introduced a set of core values and ethical standards of modern multinational corporations, which play a vital role in setting up the companies’ long-term commitment to corporate responsibilities and prosperity, and making reasonable and sound business decisions.

In addition, by asking questions to students, Mr. Yuan raised two key issues in this lecture. First, why should we care a great deal about corporate compliance? Second, what can we do when there are some compliance concerns? In discussion with students and Professor Silley, Mr. Yuan shared some of his insights and practice experience.

Afterward, Mr. Yuan focused on modern anti-corruption laws, the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), and the UK Bribery Act. Mr. Yuan firstly introduced the two main parts of the FCPA: The Anti-Bribery provision and the Books & Records provision. Then he introduced the basic offenses of bribery under the UK Bribery Act. By comparing the two laws, Mr. Yuan shared his belief that ethics and legal compliance should guide and direct every good multinational corporation's business conduct. Also, he discussed the current anti-corruption legal enforcement trends regarding the importance of cross-jurisdictional practice and judicial cooperation.

In addition, Mr. Yuan also introduced anti-corruption laws and regulations in China. He provided some typical case studies from his practice experience and analyzed and explained the specific theoretical problems to students.

Over this highly interactive session, Mr. Yuan discussed the questions raised by students one by one and gave detailed answers. Mr. Yuan also introduced two hypothetical cases and had a full discussion with students and Professor Silley, which made the students appreciate the intricacies and complexity of this field of legal work. All participants gained a lot from this brilliant lecture.

Original text written by LI Jiarui (2020 MEIL).