He Jiahong at Externado University

Last Monday, October 29, Mr. He Jiahong, a law professor at Renmin University in Beijing, visited Externado University and shared a morning with professors from different faculties where topics such as the legal system of China, the struggle against corruption and the humanitarian problem of Colombian prisoners in that country.

The conversation was moderated by Yesmina Morales, professor of the Business Law Department of the Faculty of Law and had also with Blanca Henríquez, professor of law at the Autonoma University. This event also had the participation of Pío García and David Castrillón of the Faculty of Finance, Government and International Relations and with Luis Cantillo of the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences.

He Jiahong is the director of the Civil Law Center of the Renmin University, with extensive experience in criminal justice and corruption studies. In addition to his prolific academic work he has written five crime novels that have been translated into more than five languages. Professor He is a member of the FIFA Ethics Committee and his visit to our country coincided with a meeting of this committee that took place in the city of Cali.

During the discussion, Professor He shared his knowledge about the anti-corruption programs that have been implemented in China since the 1990s until the recent anti-corruption campaign led by President Xi Jinping “on the hunt for” tigers’ and ‘flies’ “, that is, officers of high and low ranks of the government. Professor He says that the Chinese Communist Party has implemented measures so that its members have to give a report of the assets they own, but these are not available to the public and it is estimated that only 10% of cases of corruption come to light.

Professor He in his publications has called for greater transparency and has even formulated controversial ideas such as giving amnesty to the corrupt. Taking into account that professor He clarified that there is no amnesty as such in China and what he proposes is a kind of “special forgiveness”. He gives the following two reasons: on the one hand he says that the amount of time necessary to process all cases of corruption in his country would take approximately 40 years and that would not solve the problem of corruption in society, it would further more accumulate new cases to process afterwards. Instead he proposes to concentrate on taking legislative measures to create a more transparent system and prevent corruption. Professor He mentioned the example of the Hong Kong police in the 1970s, where it was estimated that the vast majority of their staff took bribes from businessmen. The leaders of that time in Hong Kong decided to give an amnesty to the policemen with the condition that they would not repeat their offenses and exercise their work well and honestly. With time the measure was very effective and today, according to Transparency International, the government of Hong Kong is ranked 13 out of 180 countries, (China ranks 77 and Colombia ranked 96).

We use this opportunity of professor He Jiahong’s visit to invite Blanca Henríquez, a law professor from the Autonoma University with a specialization in International Law from the Externado University, who since 2015 decided ad honorem to help some of the families of the Colombian prisoners in China. This was the first meeting of lawyer Henríquez with a Chinese lawyer. She said that there are about 140 Colombian prisoners in Hong Kong and a similar number in China, the vast majority for drug trafficking, a crime that can be punished with the death penalty. Professor Henríquez explained that some of the “mules” were forced to travel by mafias that threatened the lives of their relatives and these “mules” out of fear had no choice but to take the plane. Professor He clarified that he was not an expert on this topic, but recommended that they should prepare well each case in order to proof their innocence in order to appeal for a case and sentence revision. Henríquez added that the government of Colombia has repatriation agreements with Hong Kong but not with China and in those cases where the repatriation permit has been granted due to problems of over quota in our Colombian prisons, the government chooses not to receive them, extending the drama for those people.

After this discussion, Professor He went to the Jorge Tadeo Lozano University to give two lectures, one in the morning about “Literature and Law” and in the afternoon about “Strategies against corruption in China”.

We thank Professor He Jiahong for his visit and all participants specially professor David Castrillón for the translation work and Andrés Romero for the event preparation. This event was supported by the Faculty of Law, Faculty of Finance, Government and International Relations and the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences in addition we thank the generous support of China Intercontinental Press.