In our very first post, back in January 2006, we set forth our mission for this blog. Today, May 27, 2010, we move to a new platform, but our mission remains the same:

We will be discussing the practical aspects of Chinese law and how it impacts business there. We will be telling you what works and what does not and what you as a businessperson can do to use the law to your advantage. Our aim is to assist businesses already in China or planning to go into China, not to break new ground in legal theory or policy.

We want to start a conversation with, for and about the person who wants practical information on starting and growing a business in or involved with China.

We will be challenging various misconceptions the West has about law in China, including that the law in China does not really matter or that guanxi can supplant it. We will help you figure out how you can use the law as both a shield and a sword. We will give insights to achieve practical solutions, while doing our best to entertain. We know lawyers are not popular, and though we are ourselves really quite likable, we recognize the need to avoid those things that incite lawyer hatred. We will strive to avoid legal jargon and namby-pamby language that attempts to camouflage our views or to avoid controversy.

We want our blog to be a place for both conversation and controversy. We expect many of you will disagree with us much of the time and we are fine with that. We will always strive to avoid boring you or being unwilling to take a stand. We are not going to be afraid of being wrong—in fact, we want you to tell us when and how we are wrong. If you want “legalese” or long strings of caveats, you are going to have to pay exorbitant legal fees to get that elsewhere.

We will tell you more than just that the law is this and this is what needs to be done to comply. We will discuss how the laws as written may say one thing, but our experience dictates something else. We will tell you when you need to do more than just follow the law to succeed, and we will set out exactly what that something else is. We will regale you with stories about the Chinese lawyers with whom we work, the foreign and Chinese businesspeople with whom we deal, and even the places we go. There will be times where our lawyer ethical rules will make us unable to name names, but we will always work to tell the full story.

It has become a blog cliché to implore readers for their input, but it is so important we must join the crowd on this. We do not purport to know everything about Chinese law. That is impossible. Our strengths are forming companies in China, drafting international contracts with Chinese companies (in English and in Chinese), intellectual property protection and international litigation and arbitration. We welcome your comments, suggestions and ideas on any area of law relating to conducting business in China. China is anything but monolithic and we will be relying in large part on you, our readers, to round out this site with your own stories.

In plain language, we ask that you write us early and often. We will review your comments before we post them, but that does NOT mean you should not criticize us or disagree with us. Our review will be to filter out comments that are without substance and/or personally abusive. We want to encourage a high level of discussion, but we will not ban or delete your comments just because you come after us.



About Dan Harris

danDan received his B.A. from Grinnell College and his J.D. (magna cum laude) from Indiana University.

Dan focuses his legal practice on representing companies doing business in emerging market countries. His work has been as varied as securing the release of two helicopters in Papua New Guinea, setting up a legal framework to move slag from Canada to Poland’s interior, overseeing hundreds of litigation and arbitration matters in Korea, seizing fish product in China to collect a long overdue debt by a Russian company, and assisting in the criminal defense of an anti-whaling activist in Japan.

Dan was named (along with Steve) as one of only three Washington State “Amazing Lawyers” in International Law, he is AV rated (top 5%) by Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory (its highest rating), and he is rated 10.0 by, its highest rating. He is also a “Super Lawyer,” a designation reserved for less than 5% of all lawyers nationwide.

Dan is a frequent writer and public speaker on doing business in China. Forbes Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Investors Business Daily, Business Week, The National Law Journal, The Washington Post, The ABA Journal, The Economist, Newsweek, Inside Counsel, and the Christian Science Monitor, have all quoted him on various aspects of his international law practice.

Dan spends most of his free time watching movies, the Seattle Mariners and basketball, and reading about international politics, often while furiously pedaling an elliptical trainer.

About Steve Dickinson

steveSteve received his B.A. in Chinese Language and Literature from the University of Washington (summa cum laude) and his J.D. (with honors) from the University of Washington School of Law.

Steve lives and works in Qingdao, China, where he focuses almost exclusively on assisting foreign companies setting up and operating in China. Steve is completely fluent in both spoken and written Chinese and does his work in Chinese to increase accuracy and to reduce client costs. Steve prides himself on providing practical solutions to complex problems.

Steve was named (along with Dan) as one of only three Washington State “Amazing Lawyers” in International Law and he is rated 10.0 by, its highest rating.

Steve is a frequent writer and public speaker on doing business in China. He is a regular contributor to the China Economic Review, and Forbes Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, National Public Radio, and The Guardian have all quoted him on various aspects of doing business in China.

Steve spends his free time practicing Chinese martial arts, playing the guitar, and reading classical Chinese and modern Western philosophy.



Awards and Recognition


“Clear and compelling”
“…the widely respected China Law Blog”