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ABA President Karen J. Mathis and All China Lawyers Association (ACLA) President Yu Ning sign the new ABA-ACLA Memorandum
ABA President Karen Mathis, Asia Division Chair Laura Stein, and Asia Division Council Member Yabo Lin, traveled to Beijing in December 2006 on behalf of the Rule of Law Initiative. While in Beijing, President Mathis and her counterpart at the All China Lawyers Association (ACLA), Yu Ning, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outlining ways that the two bar organizations can work together, exchange information, jointly host events, and facilitate international visits. The MOU was signed by the associations' presidents on December 6 in a formal ceremony in Beijing. It was hailed by both sides as a milestone in a working relationship between the two bars that has been developing since the 1990s.
President Mathis, Ms. Stein, and staff of the ABA's Center for Children and the Law also spoke at a major conference on the topic of youth at risk, organized jointly by the ABA and the ACLA. The conference, held in Beijing, explored prevention and intervention approaches to problems that put youth at risk of ending up in the criminal justice system. Topics included mobilizing lawyers to help address family violence, prevent youth misbehavior, protect abused and neglected children, and defend juvenile suspects.
China is one of the largest programs implemented by the Rule of Law Initiative's Asia Division. Based in Beijing and overseen by Country Director Allison Moore, the Rule of Law Initiative's China program works with local partners to strengthen the legal profession, particularly its ability to engage in advocacy activities on behalf of the public interest. Among other things, the program also supports Chinese efforts to increase the transparency of, and citizen input into, governmental decision-making related to the environment.