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Video meeting with Judge Xue Hanqin, Vice President to the International Court of Justice

A group of Chinese law students currently study this semester at the Leiden Law Faculty with a special focus on public international law. These top talents have been selected by the Chinese ministry of foreign affairs to be China’s future diplomats, if they successfully finish their semester in Leiden and consequently graduate at their home university in China. One student, left behind in China in quarantaine because of Covid-19, participates from his student room in China.

The students enjoyed a virtual meeting with Judge Xue Hanqin, Vice President to the International Court of Justice in The Hague. Judge Xue is also a former diplomat and was the former Chinese Ambassador to The Netherlands. This made her an excellent expert to speak to the Chinese law students on the International Court of Justice and on the Court’s impact on the development of international law, as well as diplomacy and international relations.

Judge Xue spoke about the functions of the ICJ; the composition of the Court with the Judges from different regions; herself being one of the three female Judges out of 15; the history of the 5 judges representing China within the ICJ; China’s evolving view on international law and becoming more engaging.  

The students were brilliant in their questions and Judge Xue was keen to speak to each student.  The students asked about specific cases handled by the ICJ, varying from border disputes and maritime law. The meeting touched on balancing  international law and international relations in diplomacy. Judge Xue shared her view on the development of international law as seen by non-western countries in post-colonial times, the cold war and the current period. Popular debates such as the South China sea and countries threatening to “sue other countries” were also touched upon.

Last but not least, Judge Xue advised the students  how to prepare for their career in diplomacy: study your languages, deepen your knowledge of international relations and history and keep studying and publishing in international law.

The video meeting was organized by  Leiden university regional coordinator for China, Ms Annemarie Montulet with the help of the Chinese embassy in The Hague. Legal Advisor and Counsellor, Mr Sun chaired the meeting and the Chinese Ambassador, Mr Xu Hong, having a PhD in law himself, also joined the meeting at the end.

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