Winston Churchill — 'The farther back you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.'
The history of human beings was perhaps of more than 2 million years on the 4 to 5 billion years planet Earth. The written record of Human civilization was probably of only a few thousand years. From living in a cave to a world of computers and mobile phones, the achievements of human civilization could not be regarded as less splendid or glorious during this rather short period of time in the long river of human history. For some, the skyscrapers that change the landscape and skylines of metropolitan cities, the manned space station, the artificial intelligence and the cloud computing are probably more prominent among these achievements; for others, the invisible social structures and institutional frameworks that underpin the human activities leading to these material achievements are even more fundamental to human beings. Nobody can deny that human beings, after all, are social animals. Obviously, all the current civilizations have been achieved through social, organizational co-ordinations and collaborations.
Therefore, the rules reflecting common values and beliefs of human beings that underpin these institutional frameworks and social structures facilitating the co-ordinations and collaborations are highly important and treasurable for all of us. These rules are known as domestic law at national level and international law in the international regime. In a nutshell, the "rule of law" is the concept lying behind all these rules and practices in both national and international domains. It has become an ideal as well as a key common value underpin the operation of modern society of mankind.
However, after a remarkable implementation and practice in many fields of the international affairs, international law seems to have come to a critical juncture. Whither the next step? Are we moving towards a jungle world or continue our effort to go along with a world of rule of law? Will the multilateral framework and rules stick to or be sidelined by the rising unilateral actions in international trade and investment? Shall the world continue to be open to, and interactive with, each other through further collaboration, or are we turning to an era of deglobalization? All these are questions, ringing not only in people's minds but also on top of the headlines of daily newspapers.
Perhaps this is the very reason that for the first time in all the summits of Munich Security Conferences for more than half a century, that organizers sponsor this International Law Forum. It is a great honor for me to be invited and present at this Forum. It would also be my pleasure if I could be of some help alleviating the doubts and rebuilding the confidences among the audiences on the rule of law in the international affairs. That is the reason I fly from Geneva to Munich. By the way, Munich is the city impressed me deeply for its beauty and serenity. I had visited it several times while I worked with the Joint Sino-German Legal program sponsored by GTZ (Die Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit) and MOFCOM as the coordinator and co-trainer from the Chinese side. The Chinese legal society appreciated that program very much, they are deeply grateful for the help and assistance provided by GTZ on behalf of Germany. Let me take this opportunity to thank the organizer for inviting me and for all their efforts to make this Forum possible today. I wish it a great success.
The topic of my lecture is "International law at a crossroad", subtitled as "International rule of law: an ideal and the reality"
I intend to address three issues. First, the origin and evolution of the rule of law; Second, does international rule of law exist? Third, why should we uphold international rule of law? Lastly, if time permits, as the only remaining Member as well as the Chairperson of the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization, I will say a few words on the dispute settlement mechanism of the WTO.
在起源于40-50亿年前的地球行星上，人类的历史可能超过200万年。有书面记录的人类文明可能只有几千年。从穴居山洞到计算机和手机的世界，在人类历史的长河里，人类文明所取得的成就不可不谓辉煌璀璨。对有些人而言，改变大都市景观和天际线的摩天大楼、载人空间站、人工智能和云计算是其中最卓越的成就；而另一些人则认为支撑人类社会运转并取得这些物质成就的无形社会结构和制度框架对人类更为根本。不可否认人类终究是社会动物。显然，当前所有文明都是通过社会化、组织化的协调和协作实现。 因此，能够体现制度框架和社会结构背后的人类共同价值观和信念，并促进协调与合作的“规则”，对我们所有人都非常重要和珍贵。这些规则在国家层面被称为国内法，在国际体制中被称为国际法。简而言之，“法治”是蕴含在国家和国际层面所有规则和实践里的概念。它已成为支撑人类现代社会运作的理想和最重要共同价值。 国际法在国际事务的许多领域取得了出色的履行和实践成果，但是，现在它似乎已进入关键时刻。下一步呢？我们是在走向丛林世界还是继续努力追求法治世界？多边框架和规则能在国际贸易和投资领域日益增多的单边行动中延续还是被搁置？是继续深化合作让世界继续保持开放和互动，还是我们将走向去全球化的时代？所有这些不仅是人们脑海中疑问，更经常占据新闻头条。 也许正因为如此，半个多世纪以来，慕尼黑安全会议的组织方首次赞助国际法论坛。我非常荣幸被邀请出席本论坛。如果我能够帮助减轻疑虑，并重建听众对国际事务中法治的信心，我将非常高兴。这正是我从日内瓦飞至慕尼黑的原因。慕尼黑的美丽和宁静给我留下了深刻的印象。我曾担任德国技术合作公司（GTZ）和商务部共同赞助的中德联合法律项目的中方协调员和培训主讲人，在那段期间我曾多次到访慕尼黑。中国法律届高度评价该项目，并对德国技术合作公司代表德国提供的帮助和支持深表感激。我借此机会感谢组织者邀请我做主旨演讲，感谢组织者为举办本次论坛付出的努力。祝论坛取得圆满成功。 我演讲的主题是“处在十字路口的国际法：国际法治理想与现实”。 我演讲的主要内容包括：一、法治的起源与演变；二、国际法治是否存在？三、为什么我们要维护国际法治？最后，如果时间允许，我将就世界贸易组织的争端解决机制说几句。