I am deeply saddened to share that Sun Yat-sen University Law Professor Cai Yanmin passed away on Monday in Guangzhou, China. Professor Cai was truly a trail-blazer in her efforts to establish clinical legal education in Chinese law schools as well as her contributions as part of the legal clinic at SYSU to help migrant workers fight for their rights. She served as Deputy Vice Dean of SYSU Law School in the early 2000s, as a member of the Guangdong Provincial People’s Congress, and as a member of the World Fellows Program at Yale University. But in my mind, one of her most important contributions was to build bridges between American and Chinese legal academics, lawyers, and anybody else interested in promoting the rule of law.
I knew her as a warm and kind person with a keen intellect and generous spirit. When I first met her, while I was still a member of the Vermont Law School faculty, she was Deputy Vice Dean of Sun Yat-sen University and interested in advancing the environmental law program at SYSU. It was through her instrumental role and support that Vermont Law School was able to partner with SYSU Law School, later creating a long-running program (the US-China Partnership for Environmental Law), funded by USAID and the State Department, to provide environmental law training and capacity-building in China. Jinjing Liu, a friend and former colleague who worked with me on the VLS-SYSU Partnership, was a student of Professor Cai. .
Here is a link to the SYSU Announcment. Below is a pictures of me with her and her husband when I visited Sun Yat-sen University in 2003. I will dearly miss her.