PBLJ is the second oldest law journal at UCLA and focuses on a diverse range of legal and policy issues in the Pacific Rim, looking to both the Asia-Pacific and the Americas. In the past, PBLJ has featured articles on topics as varied as intellectual property regimes, climate change and migration in the Pacific, corporate governance, and affordable housing policy in China.
Volume 27, Issue 1, 2009
The importance of encouraging corporations to act in socially responsible ways is increasingly apparent in a world where the effects of economic, environmental and social misbehavior are not felt only by local communities. Australian corporations, like those elsewhere in the world, have occasionally acted irresponsibly, as three recent examples amply attest. Fortunately, these actions have met with public criticism and community pressure for the corporations to rectify their actions, with some degree of success. Recent developments in Australia attempt to assure that those Australian corporations listed on the Australian share market will in the future more fully consider the social consequences of their actions and will implement strategies to avoid the risks which such actions would present. Required disclosure of corporate practices and the resultant reaction to them should mean that Australian corporations will meet evolving community expectations that they act in socially responsible ways.
Starting on January 1, 2007, the Supreme People's Court has been charged with reviewing every death sentence pronounced by lower courts in the People's Republic of China. This reform, together with provisions instituted in January 2007 that address death penalty review, are dramatic moves to strengthen procedural justice in death penalty cases. There are indications that these reforms have significantly decreased the execution rate in China. The reforms are not a move toward the Chinese government's abolition of capital punishment, however. Nor are they a response to international abolitionist pressure. Rather, they reflect the current "legalization" agenda of the central government, maintaining the instrumentalist link between overarching state policy and death penalty application. This "legalization" agenda will not necessarily prompt further limitations to death penalty practice. Instead, if overall policy settings change, it is possible that the government may again privilege "campaign justice" over "procedural justice" and wind back the reforms.
The Presidential Veil of Administrative Authority over Foreign-Financed Public Contracts in the Philippines
Over the past decade, incumbent Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has been besieged by accusations of corruption, bribery, and influence-peddling in the approval and allocation of foreign-financed public contracts. The latest scandal directly implicating the President involved a proposed National Broadband Network (NBN) to be undertaken by a Chinese contractor, ZTE Corporation, under a foreign loan financing agreement with the Chinese government. During Senate investigations of the NBN contracts, then-Secretary of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Romulo L. Neri disclosed that he was offered a 200 million Philippine peso (Php) bribe to favorably endorse the contract. A subsequent NEDA whistleblower was later abducted by government authorities, apparently to prevent him from testifying on multimillion dollar kickbacks demanded for the NBN project, and how NEDA had been reduced to a rubber-stamp in the evaluation and approval process. On the heels of public riots, impeachment threats, and the near-toppling of the Arroyo government, the President declared the cancellation of the NBN contract in October 2007.