Chinese feminists and legal scholars pay tribute to ‘inspirational’ US Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

22-Sep-2020 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Chinese legal scholars and feminists joined the tributes pouring in for the US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Saturday.

Ginsburg died the previous night from cancer aged 87, prompting widespread mourning in the United States and abroad.

Chinese social media users paid their respects to her by sharing stories from her life and highlighting her fight for gender equality and a fairer society.

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Some shared images of candles and described how she had inspired them to study law or become more aware of gender issues.

He Weifang, a prominent law professor at Peking University, said Chinese people were paying tribute not only because her passing was a loss for the legal profession but because of the implications for the direction of the US.

“Such an erudite justice. She had a charming personality and paid due respect to everyone. During my previous exchange with her, she expressed her appreciation for ancient Chinese culture, but she also hoped that one day China could become a country under the real rule of law through the joint efforts of lawyers, judges and the general public,” said He.

In 2005, Ginsburg visited China at the invitation of the Supreme People’s Court to “understand the construction of Chinese legal system and the reform of Chinese courts”, as the official news agency Xinhua described it. She visited various cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Dalian.

He Fan, head of the planning department of the judicial reform office of the Supreme People’s Court, described in a blog how she had observed a trial in a Chinese court and been presented with a Chinese judge’s robe on a visit to Shanghai after saying she was “very envious” of the courtroom garb.

Ginsburg, the second female Supreme Court justice, died aged 87 of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer on Friday.

The gender equality advocate was appointed by Bill Clinton in 1993.

The timing of her death, six weeks before the US presidential election, may have significant political implications if Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled senate try to rush through a replacement and shift the already conservative court further to the right.

Just days before her passing, Ginsburg told her granddaughter that her most fervent wish was not to be replaced “until a new president is installed”, according to NPR.

Zhang Qianfan, a law professor at Peking University, said US watchers in China would be watching closely.

“Ginsburg is a liberal justice, a human rights defender especially on gender issues. President Trump has already nominated two conservative justices during his first term and now it is a crucial moment for the structure of justices, as her replacement might impact the future direction of US policies,” said Zhang. “It is very difficult to amend the US constitution, that’s why the nine justices’ roles are vital.”


Category: China

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