Lu Yi

We are living in a risk society where people devised the Precautionary Principle in order to minimize the harm caused by risk ex ante. Compared to the previous Food Hygiene Law (FHL) and the 2009 Food Safety Law, the 2015 revised Chinese Food Safety Law (FSL) made a real breakthrough in the sense that it legitimates an important principle in food safety governance. Apart from laying down the fundamental importance of this principle in food safety regulations, the FSL 2015 also invented arrangements from different aspects in order to implement this principle. In other words, the FSL 2015’s incorporation of the Precautionary Principle in a very real sense marked a transition from a demonstrative preventive food safety management regime to a more effective precautionary regime. However, the Precautionary Principle needs to be adopted in a “precautionary” way since this principle has its own limitations and defects. Incautious application of the principle may create new risks. This article compares the European approach in implementing the Precautionary Principle, and examines China’s legal arrangements against negative impacts brought by the Precautionary Principle. Three perspectives are discussed: independence of scientific institutes; proportionality in risk management measures, and the shift of burden of proof for market authorization.

Empiricism and Idealism

Do We Need a Mode Shift of General Education in China?

Jinghuan Shi and Yi Lu

In recent years general education in Chinese universities has gone through rapid growth, which has led scholars to reflect on the motivations which underpin its current and future development. This paper establishes a framework based on the size of the universities together with whether the motivation is idealism or empiricism. This framework forms three typologies of general education in China, particularly from the perspective of curriculum design and student involvement. Three cases that each represent one of the three typologies are analyzed to depict the detailed characteristics. The main conclusion of the paper is that general education in its essence is an idealistic pursuit of a permanent goal, while in reality it is resource-dependent and rooted in historical conditions. China’s case studies provide a vivid example that general education reform starts with practical approaches of offering selective courses or building pilot zones and then by moderately increasing its scale and coverage, moving towards idealism across the spectrum. The key principals during the long journey are to avoid conformism, encourage innovations and maintain diversity.


Yan Du and Yi Lu


The astonishing surge in China’s international trade is the result of comprehensive economic reforms in the 1980s and 1990s. Trade was further bolstered by China’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001. We examine several aspects of China’s international trade that might help to explain its surprisingly fast growth and its ever-growing role in the global economy. A large number of studies have analyzed how trade liberalization, the WTO accession in particular, has profoundly changed the Chinese economy. We survey notable contributions to this literature that analyze the effects of trade liberalization on Chinese firms, individuals and households. Meanwhile, China’s exports have had various effects on importing countries and the enormous growth of China’s exports is seen by some observers as posing a threat to China’s trading partners. Therefore, we discuss the emerging literature on the effects of China’s spectacular export growth on consumers, labor markets, innovation, media and politics in foreign countries. Given the new domestic and external circumstances, the Chinese Government is determined to push for the formation of a new trade structure characterized by broad opening up to transform China into a strong trading powerhouse.

Yi-Xin Bao, Wei-Guo Du, Lin Shu and Yi-Wei Lu


Variation in the physiological performance and behaviour of ectotherms as a result of changes in body temperature can affect important life-history traits. Studies investigating the effects of temperature on physiological performance and behaviour have thus clear ecological significance. We captured juvenile blue-tailed skinks, Eumeces elegans, from a population in Zhejiang, eastern China, and determined the effects of temperature on their food assimilation and locomotor performance. Food intake of the juveniles generally increased with increase in temperatures within the range of 24-30°C and decreased at higher temperatures. The temperature significantly affected the apparent digestive coefficient (ADC) and the assimilation efficiency (AE) of juveniles; the ADC and AE of the skinks at 32°C were higher than those of skinks at other temperatures. The sprint speed increased with increase in temperature within the range of 12-32°C and decreased at higher temperatures. These results suggest the patterns of thermal sensitivity may differ in various functional performances, and hence support the 'multiple optima hypothesis', which suggests that no specific temperature maximises all functional performance. In addition, this study indicates significant between-age difference in thermal physiology by comparing our data with those on adult skinks, including different thermal sensitivity of AE, and different ranges of thermal-performance breadth for food intake and locomotor performance between juvenile and adult E. elegans.