Republic of China’s Deputy Minister of Justice Mr Zhao Dacheng accompanied by a delegation from his ministry visited UKZN’s School of Law to discuss legal education in South Africa and collaboration opportunities.

Discussions focused on the general situation of Higher Education in the field of Law in South Africa, job opportunities for Law graduates and ways to publicise legal knowledge to make the general public more aware in that sphere.

The benchmarking visit, initiated by South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development Mr John Jeffery, was part of a national tour during which the Chinese delegation met representatives from Legal Aid South Africa, the Law Society of South Africa and Westville Correctional Services.

‘We are very honoured to be here at UKZN because legal education is important to our (China’s) development as a country hence we are very interested in legal education and how to train talented and ethical legal practitioners. Our discussion today has been meaningful as the different views of academics have enriched our thinking on how we can better promote our democracy and rule of law,’ said Dacheng.

The visit was also a learning curve for law academics as the delegation shared insights on China’s five-year legal publicity plan aimed at educating the public about the law, training government leaders on how to obey the law and possible personnel exchange opportunities.

UKZN’s Law School Acting Dean and Head Professor Warren Freedman said the School was keen on exploring staff and student exchange and collaboration opportunities with China.

‘We have learned a lot about how the Chinese legal system works and are very interested in steps China has taken to promote the rule of law and the respect there is in that country for the Constitution, especially among young people,’ said Freedman. ‘We have been looking to the west for ideas for too long – it’s now time to look at China,’ he said.

Words and photograph: Thandiwe Jumo