NPC Observer Seeks Research Assistant

The National People’s Congress Observer is seeking an undergraduate student or a recent college graduate to join our team as a Research Assistant (RA) starting in fall 2019. The RA will work closely with the Blog’s Manager and will participate in all aspects of the Blog’s coverage of China’s national legislature: the National People’s Congress (NPC) and its Standing Committee (NPCSC).

Responsibilities

The RA’s principal responsibilities include:

  • Conducting research on a wide range of legal issues (mostly in mainland Chinese law, though occasionally also in Hong Kong law, Taiwanese law, or international law);
  • Assisting with the Blog’s coverage of NPC and NPCSC sessions;
  • Assisting with the maintenance of the Blog’s public and internal resources;
  • Drafting the monthly NPC Calendar posts; and
  • Assisting with the translation of Chinese legal and political documents.

Qualifications

The following qualifications are required:

  • Research-level proficiency in Mandarin Chinese (i.e., the ability to read, with minimal difficulty, sources written in Chinese, including legal and political documents, news reports, and academic articles);
  • Strong English writing skills;
  • A demonstrated belief in the rule of law;
  • Strong interest in learning about the NPC and its workings;
  • Strong interest in Chinese law and Chinese legal reform in general; and
  • Strong time-management skills and attention to detail.

The following qualifications are strongly preferred:

  • General familiarity with China’s political and legal systems;
  • Completion of at least two years of undergraduate studies; and
  • Completion of undergraduate coursework related to law (of whatever jurisdiction).

Applicants studying in mainland China preferably should have access to a reliable VPN service.

Female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.

Benefits

This position is unpaid (as are all other Blog positions).

In lieu of monetary benefits, the RA will gain exposure to diverse areas of law. Past RAs have been asked to conduct research on Chinese constitutional law (e.g., division of legislative authorities between the NPC and the NPCSC), Chinese tax law, China’s death penalty law and policy, China’s civil service system, Chinese and international law on endangered species protection, and rights of the accused under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights—among myriad other issues.

The RA will also have access to the Blog’s internal resources and the opportunity to draft blog posts on NPC-related topics of the RA’s choosing (as approved by the Manager).

Time Commitment

This position will start in early September 2019. A commitment of at least one year is required.

The RA should expect to spend considerable time on Blog work around the time when the NPC meets (i.e., early to mid-March), when the NPCSC meets (i.e., mid to late February, April, etc.), and when other less predictable NPC-related events happen (e.g., release of the NPCSC’s annual legislative plans). The RA should also expect a small but steady amount of work when the legislature is not in session.

Although the RA is not expected to sacrifice academic performance for Blog work, the RA is expected, however, to use their best efforts to make time for Blog work, such as by completing academic assignments in advance. The RA’s persistently unsatisfactory performance will result in termination.

Prospective first-year J.D. students need not apply.

Application Materials and Process

To apply, please send the following materials to npcobserver.recruiting@gmail.com by 11:59 p.m. on July 31, 2019, China Standard Time (UTC+8:00) with the subject line “RA Application – Last Name”:

  • A cover letter describing any relevant interest or experience;
  • A resume listing any relevant experience or coursework (including any intensive writing course);
  • A transcript (official or unofficial); and
  • An academic writing sample (in English) of no more than ten double-spaced pages, with minimal editing by others.

Applicants who are not native Chinese readers should also submit an English translation of the sentences listed in this document.

Please indicate in your application where you learned of this position and your preferred start date (no later than September 9, 2019).

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Select applicants will be invited for a short, informal video interview. Interviewees should be prepared to talk about anything in their applications, but will not be tested on their knowledge about the NPC, Chinese law, or Chinese politics.

Online Training and Exam

Before the position officially starts, the RA will be required to undergo training and pass a written exam. Both will be adminsitered online.

The purpose of the training is to help the RA gain a basic familiarity with the NPC and with the tools and resources the RA would often use. Training materials will consist of assigned readings on the NPC and legal research exercises. The RA will be given ample time to study the materials and to ask questions.

The written exam will be open-book and will principally test the RA’s ability to find information and to apply statutory provisions to simple hypothetical situations. If you are offered the RA position, you will pass the exam.


Please contact us at npcobserver.recruiting@gmail.com if you have any questions about the RA position or the application process.

About Us

The National People’s Congress Observer is a blog dedicated to covering the NPC and the NPCSC. We regularly publish high-quality reporting, analysis, and original research on the legislature. Our monthly pageviews average in the thousands and we have close to 3,000 followers and subscribers across all platforms.

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