Teaching Taxation in China
Professor Tracy Kaye is a guest at esteemed Renmin University
Professor Tracy Kaye spent two weeks in China as a guest at Renmin University, which houses one of China’s leading law schools. She was invited to teach a course on the “Principles of U.S. International Taxation,” and also to give a faculty presentation entitled, “Innovations in the War on Tax Evasion.”
In introducing Professor Kaye’s course, the description, written in Chinese, referenced the wry American proverb: “Only two things in life are certain - death and taxes." Professor Kaye’s course examined the role that tax law plays in national politics, commerce and culture, and detailed how tax law affects international economic theory and practices, including U.S.-China relations.
During her final lecture on the issues of corporate tax avoidance, Professor Kaye showed excerpts of the 2011 documentary, “We Are Not Broke," which highlights the “Uncut” Movement – citizens protesting against large corporations that enjoy substantial U.S. federal tax relief.
Professor Kaye explained that Professor Margaret Lewis's ties to the Renmin faculty, including esteemed Professor Ding Xiangshun, led to this unique opportunity. Professor Lewis had been a guest lecturer at Renmin on one of her many trips to China, where she works on projects concerning reforms to the criminal justice system.
Professor Kaye recalled, “Professor Ding contacted Professor Lewis and asked if he could arrange a meeting for his students to visit an American law school. We hosted a luncheon for them in 2010, which gave his students an opportunity to learn more about an American education and tour the Law School. I met Professor Ding again in January at a conference and he invited me to teach a class in taxation at Renmin. Within a few months, the course was scheduled.” Pictured, from left, are Professor Lewis, Professor Kaye, Professor Ding and visiting students from Renmin University, taken at the welcome luncheon at Seton Hall Law in 2010.
Professor Ding is currently at Harvard Law School on a Fulbright Scholarship so Assistant Professor Hu Tianlong, who earned an S.J.D. at the University of Michigan, served as Professor Kaye’s host. The class, comprising undergraduates as well as LL.M. candidates, hailed from all parts of China and engaged in a lively discussion. She said, “I understand that Renmin excels in teaching comparative law, and that was clear from the questions the students asked. The discussion reflected their interest in grasping the concepts of taxation and their larger implications.” Pictured are Professor Hu seated next to Professor Kaye, along with students who attended Professor Kaye's class at Renmin University.
Professor Kaye taught a similar course in principles of international taxation in 2001 when she was a Fulbright Senior Scholar at Albert-Ludwigs-Universitat, Freiburg, Germany. She also taught U.S. individual and corporate taxation at University of International Business and Economics, School of Law in Beijing in 2000.
During her visit in May, Professor Hu asked students to give Professor Kaye tours of Beijing including the Summer Palace and the Olympic Village, which illuminated for her just how much Beijing has changed since she visited just over a decade ago. She said, “Beijing is at the same time both ancient and extremely modern. The visit allowed me to see how much of an international city it has become in the past 13 years, and that was reflected in the students’ perspectives. In talking with them, it’s clear they are much more interested today in pursuing careers on the global stage.”