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New US Embassy Resident Legal Advisor makes debut at Beijing American Center

Ye-Ting Woo, the new US Embassy Resident Legal Advisor, makes debut at Beijing American Center Tuesday. Photo: Chunmei/

Ye-Ting Woo, the new US Embassy Resident Legal Advisor, had her first stage in China at the Beijing American Center (BAC) Tuesday.

First time to China, the Chinese-American federal prosecutor said she would stay in China for at least 14 months, and was looking forward to more exchange opportunities with Chinese people to share knowledge of both the Chinese and American legal system.

Assigned by the Department of Justice (DOJ), a US Embassy Resident Legal Advisor often works with the embassy in the host country to share knowledge about the American legal system with the local people, and also his or her own life and work experience, according to Woo.

"I want to learn how Chinese people in China practice law, your legal system, as you would love to learn about mine. And then we can grow from each other. So that’s the purpose of my job," she said during the Tuesday lecture at the BAC.

Woo is a federal prosecutor who works in the Terrorism and Violent Crimes Unit of the Department of Justice.  Her prior experience includes working in a large corporate law firm, where she specializes in franchise and banking litigation.

As part of the exchange plan to increase mutual understanding of the two countries' legal systems, a Talking Law Series program will be held periodically in different parts of China for the rest of the year, according to Woo. The topics would be deemed "very contentious right now in the US," such as the use of digital device evidence, police misconduct, racial bias, advertising for sex online, immigration policy, as well as international criminal cases and so on.

The former DOJ Resident Legal Advisor at the US Embassy, Steve Kwok, has hosted a popular series of programs about American legal system in China in the past two years, and Woo wants to continue the tradition.  

Informative, educational, fun, interesting, interactive – are going to be the key features of the series, she said.

"I want you to talk, to engage, not just me, but with each other," Woo said.

Meanwhile, Woo told the audience during the lecture that China-US legal cooperation would be one of the biggest topics for the upcoming Talking Law Series.

In 2000, China and the US signed an agreement on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters, which helped to provide a legal basis for cooperation between the two countries in cracking down on crimes.

"There is definitely an improvement in the past 15 years in the cooperation between the US and China.…. Of course there are going to be challenges along the way. Both China and the US still have to keep in mind their priorities and their goals about other countries, but I think that relationship is improving," Woo remarked when addressing how this agreement is working now and what are some of the challenges facing the China-US law enforcement cooperation.

Under this agreement, China and the US can obtain legal assistance from each side, which involves accessing documents, taking evidence, conducting investigation, as well as assistance in freezing, seizure and forfeiture proceedings.

The two countries held two rounds of talks on the agreement in September 1998 and March 1999, and the two sides initiated an agreement during the second round, according to

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