Establish Yourself at Thirty: My Decision to Study China's Legal System in 1960

This is the first chapter that I have written for my memoirs. It has just been published in the Chinese (Taiwan) Yearbook of International Law and Affairs (vol. 33). It tries to answer the question I am most often asked: why and how did you decide to take up what was in 1960 an extremely arcane, indeed an unknown, subject. It also necessarily seeks to provide a picture of the state of Sino-American relations at that time and of American attitudes toward and understanding of what was still called “Red China”. I will eventually give an account of my roots and development prior to 1960 but it seemed most appropriate to start with the decision to study China.

How I started studying Chinese law at Berkeley from 1960 to 1963

As some of you know, I’ve begun writing my memoirs. Here is the second chapter - on how I started studying Chinese law at Berkeley from 1960 to 1963, my first three years of being a student of China. The Center for Chinese Studies of the University of California, Berkeley, which gave me my start, has published it on the website here.

Let me put a plug in for the beginning chapter as well -- the story of how I made the difficult but exciting decision to study China when it seemed to offer an unpromising career 57 years ago! This first chapter will be out in English in the Chinese (Taiwan) Yearbook of International Law and Affairs, Volume 33 (shortly). Its Chinese translation has alreasdy been published by the Financial Times Chinese, “三十而立:1960年的我是如何投身中国研究的.”

Video memoirs: Life, Law and Asia

At the suggestion of Ken Wasserman, instead of serving in my usual role as Grand Inquisitor of our weekly NYU U.S.-Asia Law Institute lunch guests, I submitted to an interview on Monday, fielding questions from my colleagues (video link here). I had a great time but was slightly distressed that we covered so little, even concerning the questions that we did get to discuss. I would gladly have gone on for several hours more but probably exhausted the audience, if not the subjects!

For those who may enjoy more stories, I've done 16 video memoirs, which can be watched on my website here. They encompass many interesting, fond memories of my experiences in the United States, China, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and North Korea over the last five decades (and counting)!