Since early 2002, ABA Rule of Law Initiative Asia Division has been working to promote good governance and increase public interest advocacy in China. A specific focus of the Asia Division’s early work was to enhance public participation in environmental decision-making.
To date, under its Rule of Law and Governance Program, Asia Division has trained hundreds of Chinese stakeholders in regional cities on environmental governance issues and supported Chinese partners in implementing a series of pilot programs aimed at increasing public participation and fostering cooperation among government, non-government, media, and other stakeholders. More recently, the Asia Division has been working with the All China Lawyers’ Association and other groups to increase indigenous capacity to advocate for citizens’ rights and enhance citizens’ knowledge of and access to the legal system. With funding from various sources, the Asia Division has also supported Chinese partners’ efforts in the areas of criminal defense, property rights, legal aid, legal ethics, women's rights, environmental public interest litigation, migrant workers’ rights, and children's rights. The Asia Division’s China project is implemented by two American resident legal advisors based in Beijing.