Yang Liu

Yang Liu is a designated Assistant Professor of Law at Renmin University in Beijing, China. He holds a SJD degree from UCLA and a LLM from Harvard. He writes on theory of international law and international courts, and has been invited to present in more than twenty international fora in eleven countries, such as Harvard, Cambridge, Leiden, Johns Hopkins, American Society of International Law, European Society of International Law, Canadian Council on International Law, Asian Society of International Law, American Society of Comparative Law Young Comparativist Committee, etc. Yang worked at the International Court of Justice as a trainee clerk.

Designation: Renmin University, School of Law
Institution: Renmin University, School of Law
Paper: International Legal Orientalism: Asian Approach to International Law and the Anxiety on Universality
Abstract: "We are witnessing the rise of anxiety about the universality of international law. The US and some Asian countries, for example, China, have different understandings on what the international law is. Those differences have a structural origin. And this structure tends to consolidate and reproduce the differences. The universality of international law supported by the supremacy of the US and Europe is now in doubt. Scholars are asking whether international law is genuinely international. I argue that this anxiety is just another Orientalism in the realm of international law. The so-called regional approach, such as the Asian Approach, has been long argued for decades. However, why do people only seriously talk about the universality now? This is just another reproduction of the consciousness of Orientalism: The existence of the Orient only makes sense when the West is willing to face it. I argue that Asian people should not be trapped by the Center’s turn. Instead, by tracing the genealogy of the attempts of Asian approach of international law, I discussed how Asian was constructed as a unit, the merit and peril of confining our political and legal imagination within the term “Asian”. I argue an Asian Approach is inherently universalist, and we should rescue international law from the current international legal Orientalism, with a focus on equality and emancipation through international law."