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An Interview with Rong Xiang, Foreign Law Intern at the Law Library of Congress

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This is an interview with Rong Xiang, currently an intern in the Global Legal Research Center of the Law Library of Congress.  I hope you enjoy her interview as much as I did.

Describe your background.

I was born and raised by a loving family in Shenyang, the largest city in northeast China and famous for its thriving heavy industry.  While I am the only child in my family I am not the only “kid” — my parents have raised two lovely twin cats, Yuan and Lu, whom they spoiled instead of me.  Lu has a 24/7 appetite for anything edible except greens, while for Yuan nothing in the world deserves a second taste.

What is your academic/professional history?

Rong Xiang standing in front of a wood paneled wall with gold letters spelling, "The Law Library of Congress" in a circle in the background.

After earning my LL.B (Bachelor of Laws) from Nanjing University, I worked for the China Legal Aid Foundation, a  nonprofit organization approved by the State Council, for two years, mainly providing free legal assistance to people who could not afford legal counsel in both criminal and civil litigation.  It was my first taste of a nonprofit organization and criminal defense work constituted the most exciting part of it.  I then joined a domestic law firm specializing in general business practice and litigation.  After working there for about a year and half, I took a position as Senior Legal Specialist in Neusoft Corporation, a leading Chinese software company where I worked mainly on issues dealing with international business divisions.  I left there to come to the United States to continue my education in December 2010.

I attended the American University Washington College of Law and graduated recently from the International Business Law LL.M program, my second LL.M.  I earned my first LL.M from the City University of Hong Kong, and as part of that degree program I spent five months in the United States in 2008 as an exchange student.

How would you describe your job to other people?

I am responsible for doing legal research and responding to legal inquiries from various patrons including the United States Congress, the Judiciary, and executive agencies relating to mainland China, as well as Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore.  I also help in collection development by making recommendations for the acquisition of various primary and secondary legal sources.  To be honest, I am still learning the ropes here at the Law Library of Congress!

Why did you want to work at the Law Library of Congress?

Working at the Law Library of Congress matches perfectly with my focus on legislative reform and legal education.  It gives me a precious opportunity to do legal research from a comparative perspective, which will deepen my understanding of the panoramic view of China’s legal system.  In addition, it will broaden my perspective on how legislation could be shaped to improve execution of the law, enhance public welfare, and promote social justice.  These are crucial elements in working towards legislative reform and improving legal education in China.  I also enjoy the dynamic work atmosphere in the Law Library of Congress, which incorporates both a diverse culture and teamwork.

What is the most interesting fact you have learned about the Law Library of Congress?

While searching for a source to use for one of my assignments, I recently went to the stacks for the first time, an amazing place filled with historical collections that I had heard a lot about but never seen before.  For a while, I got lost listening to the “sound of history” as I carefully turned over those fragile pages from old material.  It must be among the most reverent moments that I have ever experienced, not only because communicating with the old intelligent generations through books is always fascinating, but also because, through these sources, I learned more about the development of contemporary Chinese legal notions and culture, as well as how many miles of exploration we have to cover before making one inch of progress.

What’s something most of your co-workers do not know about you?

My hometown, Shenyang, fosters countless skillful skaters and skating fans with its fancy icy winter.  Unfortunately, I cannot skate to save my life.  My favorite sport is cycling and on the 2005 Chinese New Year I rode 181 km in 9 hours in Guangxi as a new year gift to myself.  That ride remains my personal record. Movies, books, traveling, concerts and karaoke are all my keys to relaxation.  My personal motto is Everything Grows in Love.

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