UCL Faculty of Laws


Online | China’s Challenge to International Law

03 February 2022, 6:00 pm–7:00 pm

Image of China

This lecture is part of the Current Legal Problems Lecture Series 2021-22

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Speaker: Prof. Eva Pils (King's College London)
Chair: Dr Matthieu Burnay (Queen Mary University of London)

About the Lecture

The role that China – or the Chinese Communist Party – has come to play in international relations and the institutions of international law has given rise to much anxiety about its adverse impact on the liberal international order. Yet this order is also challenged from within liberal democracies. This talk will discuss instances of problematic synergy between the actions and justificatory narratives deployed by some democracies in their engagement – or confrontation – with autocracies such as China. Drawing on Forst’s account of the power of justifications, I argue that both can work to corrode international law by using power in ways that conflict with the rule of law, understood as a principle requiring democratic and human rights constraints on power.

About the Speaker

Eva Pils is Professor of Law at King's College London, an affiliated scholar at the US-Asia Law Institute of New York University Law School, and an external member of the Centre for Human Rights Erlangen-Nürnberg. She studied law, philosophy and sinology in Heidelberg, London and Beijing and holds a PhD in law from University College London. Her current research addresses autocratic conceptions and practices of governance, legal and political resistance, and forms of complicity with autocratic wrongs. Before joining King’s in 2014, Eva was an associate professor at The Chinese University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law.


This event will be delivered via Zoom Webinar. Attendee cameras and microphones will be turned off but they will be able to put questions to the panel via the Q&A box. You will receive your zoom joining link 48-hours before the start of the event. Contact the Laws Events team (laws-events@ucl.ac.uk) if you have not receive the link.

About Current Legal Problems

The Current Legal Problems (CLP) lecture series and annual volume was established over fifty five years ago at the Faculty of Laws, University College London and is recognised as a major reference point for legal scholarship.

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