International Law

International Law

Canary in a Coal Mine: Germany’s Democratic Warning Mechanism

March 5, 2021 Shreya Joshi 0

Over the past five years, a resurgence of far-right rhetoric in the United States and Europe has altered the political landscape in the self-proclaimed Western world. Internet activity, especially on platforms such as Facebook, has encouraged echo chambers, leading many further right, extremizing views and encouraging political action. One such party, the Alternative for Deutschland (AfD) was formed in 2013 by Alexander Gauland as a Eurosceptic movement rejecting liberalism. For its first round of election, the party failed to find enough support to unseat any existing members of the German parliament. The AfD found it’s gold mind of support after the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel,’s 2015 decision to allow over one million undocumented refugees from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to enter into Germany. It quickly transitioned into an anti-Islamic party, one that trivialized the Holocaust and found a base in reviling immigrants. Capitalizing on the influx […]

International Law

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy Found Guilty Of Corruption

March 5, 2021 Hyonjun Yun 0

On March 1st, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was sentenced to three years on charges of corruption and influence peddling. Sarkozy was president of France from 2007 to 2012.  Uncovered during a campaign finance investigation against him, Sarkozy was accused of attempting to illegally peddle information from a magistrate Gilbert Azibert by offering the magistrate a prestigious position in Monaco over a phone call. Though Azibert never received the position, the nature of the conversations being a “clearly stated promise” places it under France’s strict corruption laws, which are suggested to be the blueprint for EU-wide corruption policies.. Magistrate Gilbert Azibert was also found guilty and sentenced to two years in prison. At the time of the accusation, Sarkozy was already being investigated over claims that he received illegal payments from the cosmetics company L’Oréal’s heiress Liliane Bettencourt during his 2007 presidential campaign. The prosecution states that Sarkozy attempted to […]

International Law

Venezeula’s Political Crisis: How Their Consitution Became a Farce

February 23, 2021 Shreya Joshi 0

For the past two decades, the socialist party PSVU has run the Venezuelan government. Initially controlling only the executive branch, the PSUV consolidated control of the judiciary, electoral council, and now the legislative body. Since the transition from the Chávez regime to Nicolás Maduro’s government, the Venezuelan economy has collapsed and prompted an exodus, largely into Colombia. A prime example of a decaying petrostate, Venezuela has fallen prey to “Dutch disease”, when a government is heavily dependent on natural resource exports, oil and fossil fuels in this case and there is little funding to other sectors. Additionally, power is concentrated in the hands of a few, and corruption is rampant in every level of the political and economic structure. The economic collapse under Maduro is due to the decrease in the outflow of oil, leaving the country with little income. With hyperinflation skyrocketing and many Venezuelans worried about putting food […]

International Law

From an Iron Curtain to Steel Bars: Alexei Navalny and Russian Democracy

February 22, 2021 Jonathan Tao 0

Russia’s premier dissident, Alexei Navalny, was sentenced to serve three years in prison earlier this February. As Vladimir Putin’s most prominent political opponent, Mr. Navalny has spent the past 20 years exposing corruption and organizing anti-establishment protests. The latest ruling against Mr. Nalvany hails from a long string of attempts from Moscow to silence anti-establishment forces, ranging from a potentially state-sanctioned poisoning attempt to allegations of embezzlement and fraud. It also sparked the largest day of protest in Russia since 2017 and subsequently one of the country’s most severe crackdowns on civil liberties in recent memory. The Kremlin has moved swiftly to crack down on the freedom of assembly, dissident fundraising, and civil protections from law enforcement. Human rights watchdogs noted that an estimated 10,000 were arrested nationwide over the two weekend rallies alone, marking the most aggressive wave of detentions since Vladimir Putin’s election in 2000. Moreover, Russian activists […]

International Law

Google Threatens To Leave Australia over Proposed News Legislation

February 21, 2021 Hyonjun Yun 0

Google is threatening to cancel their Google Search services in Australia in response to Canberra’s new law proposal. The proposed Treasury Laws Amendment (News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code) Bill 2020 is intended to help local news publishers by having media giants like Google and Facebook compensate news outlets through paying license fees for using their journalistic content on their platforms. The proposed laws are specifically in response to Google and Facebook displaying news articles without paying the news publishers. The consequences of this proposed law will be immense for all parties involved as Google has a 94.45% search engine market share in Australia. Their next competitor is Bing with only 3.63% as of January 2021. Meanwhile, 39% of Australians use Facebook as their general news source, according to the University of Canberra’s Digital News Report 2020. If passed, the law would have news outlets privately or collectively come […]

International Law

China is Full Steam Ahead on Data Privacy

February 19, 2021 Tianjiu Zuo 0

On January 8th, just a week after China’s Civil Code went into effect, the Hangzhou Internet Court heard and ruled on its first data privacy case. In this case, Sun, the defendant, sold more than 40,000 personal information records to Liu, who used this data for advertising. The records contained people’s full names, email addresses, and social media IDs. The procurator (like a U.S. federal prosecutor) determined that this action constituted an offense against the new privacy protections codified in the Civil Code. The Civil Code is a decades-long culmination of legal developments in China. It covers the full scope of civil law, such as property rights, contracts, and family law. But among these traditional pillars, the considerably large section reserved for the protection of personal information stands out. In Chapter Six of Part Four, the Civil Code defines privacy as “a natural person’s peace of life and the private […]

International Law

A Devastating Coup d’État and the Assault on the Civil Rights of Myanmar’s People

February 17, 2021 Jacob Rosenzweig 0

In a stunning setback for Myanmar’s young democratic government and to the chagrin of international democracies, the country’s military performed a successful coup d’état on February 1, 2021. The de facto leader of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi and several members of her National League for Democracy Party were detained by the military, as the military’s top general Min Hlaing Aung then took over Kyi’s post. In response to the overthrow of a government with strong approval from the people, enraged protestors have flooded the streets of Yangon—Myanmar’s largest city—and various other major cities throughout the country. Suu Kyi’s NLD Party won 83% of the vote in a landslide election; however, the military claims that the election was tainted by voter fraud. Military officials took the dramatic step of a coup, therefore, out of a supposed concern for the integrity of the election. Although the country is racked with fury […]

International Law

The Farm Bills Come Due: India’s Ongoing Protests

February 6, 2021 Jonathan Tao 0

From America’s ‘Summer of Racial Reckoning’ to Hong Kong’s tenacious struggle against legislation sponsored by pro-Beijing officials, protests have been a permanent hallmark of a changing political landscape. In India, the world’s most populous democracy, protestors are clashing against the central government to repeal a set of market-oriented, deregulatory farm laws. The conflict, now in its sixth month, has received international support from celebrities and activists ranging from pop-icon Rihanna to climate change activist Greta Thunberg. The Modi government is under increasing scrutiny for its ongoing crackdown on civil liberties, from free speech to internet access. Prime Minister Modi has not been shy of implementing harsh measures to quell dissent, most notably in supporting the Hindu Nationalist conflict in Kashmir and Jammu. Understanding how the protests arrived at this moment, and how the conflict will resolve, are critical to assessing the health of India’s liberal democracy today. The Farmers’ Produce […]

International Law

Hong Kong’s National Security Law: Yet Another Attack on the City’s Crumbling Democratic Foundation

January 29, 2021 Jacob Rosenzweig 0

Since China first hoisted its flag on the soil of Hong Kong in 1997, the former British colony has suffered a downward spiral away from autonomy; its citizens have been stripped of democratic rights and found themselves increasingly subject to the whims of the authoritarian mainland government. Prominent among a recent string of Beijing’s power displays was the mass arrest of 53 people by the Hong Kong police on January 6, 2021, an action taken under the authority of a relatively new national security law—officially named the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region—that the Chinese government enacted last June. Police notably cited this controversial law last December when they charged the Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai with “colluding with foreign forces and endangering national security.” The foreign ministers of the United States, Canada, the UK, and Australia, […]

International Law

Jack Ma, Alibaba, and the Anti-Monopoly Probe: Taming China’s Burgeoning Tech Industry

January 28, 2021 Cameron Page 0

Introduction As a billionaire, philanthropist, and business magnate, Jack Ma is perhaps China’s most renowned post-Reform success story. In 2014, Ma’s Alibaba IPO set records as the world’s largest public stock offering, raising $25 billion in its New York release. Moreover, October 2020 saw the flamboyant billionaire come surprisingly close to pulling off a mind-boggling $35 billion dual-listed IPO in Shanghai and Hong Kong for his fintech juggernaut, Ant Group. Yet, Ma’s colossal Ant Group IPO was halted indefinitely by Chinese authorities in a move that is “clearly an escalation of coordinated efforts to reign in Jack Ma’s empire.” At the same time, Alibaba Group (NYSE:BABA) stocks continue to face fierce volatility amid momentous antitrust allegations. When more stringent antitrust regulations were imposed on Facebook, Twitter, and Google in recent months and years, they evoked a mere shrug-of-the-shoulder from investors. Yet, the announcement of a probe into Ma’s Alibaba empire […]