On 30 June 2000 the People’s Republic of China and the Federal Republic of Germany signed the ‘Sino-German Agreement on Exchange and Cooperation in the Legal Field’. This agreement provided the basis in international law for the expansion and intensification of bilateral relations in the field of law and paved the way for the of the wide-ranging Sino-German Rule of Law Dialogue. On the basis of reciprocity and equality, the Rule of Law Dialogue is intended to bolster exchange and cooperation in the area of law and to deepen the longstanding friendship between both peoples. The last two years have seen it develop into one of the most significant dialogue mechanisms between the two countries. In Germany, the federal government has entrusted the Federal Ministry for Justice and Consumer Protection with the coordination of the Rule of Law Dialogue; in China, the responsibility lies with the Ministry of Justice.
The annual highlight of the Rule of Law Dialogue is a symposium hosted by the Ministry of Justice of the People’s Republic of China and the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV) in collaboration with the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The event has been held alternately in China and Germany every year since 2000. Apart from the German Federal Minister of Justice and the Chinese Minister of Justice, the two-to-three-day symposium is attended by a large number of practitioners and academics from ministries, courts, professional associations, law firms, business enterprises, research institutions and universities. They put forward recommendations on issues that are particularly relevant to the rule of law in both Germany and China. The topics addressed in symposiums to date have included: Administration under the rule of law and the protection of individual rights (2000);“Administrative Constraints and Citizens’ Rights” (2006), “Civil Rights and State Legislation in the Digital Age” (2012) and “Development of a State System of legal Services” (2018). The Sino-German Legal Cooperation Programme provides technical and organizational support for the symposium.
Alongside the ministerial-level symposiums, various other Sino-German projects and individual measures help to consolidate the Sino-German Rule of Law Dialogue, of which the activities of the Sino-German Legal Cooperation Programme form the largest part. In addition, the Sino-German Rule of Law Dialogue also includes numerous projects conducted by ministries, political and private foundations, universities and professional associations of legal practitioners.