Nice to meet you, Professor Maria. First of all, thank you for accepting our interview. Thank you for your outstanding academic achievements and contributions to minority rights. Time passes quickly, and you have more than 20 years of experience in research in China. In particular, the cooperation with Yunnan University has just been 20 years and it is very memorable. Can you briefly conclude the cooperation with Yunnan University in the aspects of academic exchange, talent cultivation or international friendship? For example, what is your deepest impression on Yunnan University?
The deepest impression I think is the openness of all the students and teachers to receive. People here are very polite to foreign people. It is not only about being treated well in the academic corporation, also has a constructive exchange. For example, Yunnan university is so open to different points of view, and I think this is why YNU so good at opening for academic and student exchange.Besides, Yunnan province is so diverse province.
For a foreign teacher to come here, all the teachers and student are easier to talk with, though they have different opinion and they feel proud about being different you know. Even if it is not very easy to be different all the time. In addition, the ethnic law of Yunnan University started earlier and developed more comprehensively, and there are many outstanding scholars in this field, which is also a reason why I came to Yunnan University. Because I know that the academic development of national law is outstanding compared with other departmental laws in this field, which is of irreplaceable significance for academic research and exchange. These 20 years of communication and exchange have also proved my choice is right.
You just mentioned that the inclusiveness of teachers and students in Yunnan University is the most impressive thing for you. I think we should keep such advantages. In the 20 years of your cooperation with Yunnan University, Yunnan and Yunnan University have also undergone great changes. Just in this year, Yunnan has also established three free trade zones to promote economic to open to the outside world. What do you think are the progresses of Yunnan in the protection of ethnic minorities, because openness may cause some harm, and what other places can we learn from the national protection system in Norway and Europe?
In China, you should read Chinese Constitution and laws, particularly article 4 of the Constitution. What does equality among nationalities? Why do the minority nationalities have the right to actually develop their language or their culture? The world should have to sustain the development and the area where we need to balance medical research, economic, we need to have an environmental concern and social where the rights come in，except that, to notice the way how to find out what is sustainable development taking into account from their rights.
On the one hand, we need to have a sense of insight into the whole environment, to be aware of the situation of ethnic minorities, and at the same time, we need to consider the realization of their rights by asking about ethnic minorities. So, I think effective participation is one of them. You have to let the minorities themselves define what their future development goals are and what they want to achieve in their hearts. Because we want everyone and every ethnic minority to join in the decision-making process.
Because we want everybody amd minorities to be there. Not only economic development or minorities, but you need to have a discussion to let them agree on what to do and involved with them in what to do. For example, a special economic zone which has a very particular legal framework, people could develop economic in their own way. To make national protection system better, we need to negotiate, and we need to understand what ethnic minorities really care about is not what we think they want.Do not take it for granted with an arrogant attitude. You should include an attitude of concern to achieve sharing development.
On the other hand, we need to preserve the traditional culture of ethnic minorities, which is their characteristic that make them unique in the world culture. In October next year, there will be a major conference on the Convention on diversity, and the culture and knowledge of peoples or indigenous peoples in different countries will be very important in finding new ways of sustainable development. Sometimes, it's good to learn from China, but it's also good for China to learn from the world. Having such a consensus and inclusiveness can make us achieve each other.
Professor just mentioned that it is very important to learn from the different people, and I think it might be our duty for our law school students to participate in this. To work in Yunnan, legal construction is very necessary that we have to be confident about what we are going to do and we have to stay positive. However, students maybe a little passive when they have no idea to fulfill one’s ambition.Your honor,professor,what we should do to solve such predicament?
In china. that tradition is a young people need to listen to the old people all the time, so perhaps you should be modest and patient. Perhaps we should be a little bit more patient and ask for something respectfully, let's see what we can do. We take their advice of those having a lot of experience, just like our professors.
However, sometimes it's also good to make your own mistakes. Quite frankly, nobody wants their child or friend to make a mistake,like sometimes we fall in love with the wrong guy. At that time, constructive criticism is very good and sometimes for your age. Through our past mistake, we finally get what is the problem, Even if you may not be able to provide a solution for the time being, try it, just as you can constantly overturn the topic of your master's thesis. You should actively explore what is the problem we need to solve. You are a legal person. You can not only solve political problems, but also find some reasonable and effective ways to achieve it.
In this way, we have to consider how the problem arises. I want to ask you a question about learning. Last semester, I had the honor to participate in international courses and benefited a lot. I found that the legal education in European universities is very different from that in China, and such differences also exist in the way of learning and academic concepts. Some students who came back from Oslo became more confident. So, what do you think of this phenomenon? What do you think should be improved in the study of law by students of Yunnan University?
I have talked to professor Chen YunDong，we both think it's very significant that you also study political science at the same time except law knowledge.
First of all, you can understand the implementation of various national laws and policies only if you fully learn the historical background and the current society. Why is it that few laws in the past paid attention to the rights of ethnic minorities? Because this was the product of the environment at that time, few people in feudal society would notice this. Before the Second World War in Europe, the development of law was relatively low. Because of all kinds of persecution in the war, some ethnic minorities left the land where they lived for hundreds of years. No minority authorities why? And historically it is because at that, there were certain legal developments and political developments that made it very difficult to have minority rights at that time. Later on, it came, but after certain era development.
Secondly, when we look at the quality of a case, we should fully realize that this is for ethnic minorities. We should compare different cases, based on the situation of ethnic minorities, and then give practical answers. We should have critical thinking, but also empathy. Because we know that if we are not indiscriminately criticizing the whole country when we are criticizing, we tend to focus on specific issues.
When it comes to why students are more confident, I think students' confidence comes from individuals. At the University of Oslo, I am surprised that Chinese children can get very good grades in the course examination, which is much better than the students in our country. On the other hand, I think it's the difference of teaching methods. We give students more opportunities to express themselves. The teacher will give some legal cases to listen to students' opinions and encourage students to have active ideal and to give different answers. I think such a model enables students to have confidence for their own abilities.
According to the professor's answer, I understand that we often lack the awareness of problems. We might know what it is, but we lack the ways and methods to solve problems, which we should pay attention to in the later study. Let us make a conclusion and ask you the last question. We have some news that the exchange project between us to university at Yunnan university come to an end for a for one time. What is your expectation or prospects for the follow up exchanges between two schools and deepening our friendship communication?
I hope that we can continued the exchange, but sometimes everything that is fun has to have an end. In the years of communication between Yunnan University and Oslo University, I have not only enriched my academic knowledge, but also forged profound friendship with some excellent teachers, such as Wang Xin, Shen Shouwen, Bai Lun, etc. However, because these exchange projects are related to the allocation of teaching resources and the financial support we have received, we have to temporarily put an end to the project.
We have to see how we can do this; in past projects, the University of Oslo has set up scholarships for students, so that not only students with good family conditions can communicate, but also poor students can go. Today, China is the second largest economy in the world, and most students have become rich, so development funds will flow to people and countries who need more funds than Chinese students. If we can make students in Yunnan pay for themselves, then we may be able to arrange some learning space to support exchange learning, which is the next step.
I sincerely hope you can go out and have a look, whether it's Norway or other countries. It's very important for law learners to broaden their horizons. We should put our own development into the world. Even if the time for communication is very short, you should do it.
I am very grateful for the exchange with Yunnan University over the years. Time flies. I have witnessed the changes of the old and new campuses. Many things have changed, but the friendship and trust between people remain unchanged. I hope that Oslo University and Yunnan University will continue to maintain close academic exchanges and sincerely hope that Yunnan University can develop better.
Professor Maria, thank you again for being so kind and accepting our interview. Your answer has given us a lot of thinking. We also hope to make some contributions to sustainable development and minority rights through our efforts. Norway is a beautiful country, and Oslo University is an outstanding university. May the friendship between the two universities last forever. Welcome to Yunnan University law school, always!
问题整理 ： 孙含笑