Professor Tang Houtzi 1925–2020

It is with great sadness that the SCC has been reached by the news that Prof. Tang Houtzi passed away on 2 March 2020 at the age of 95.

Professor Tang Houtzi was one of the most prominent persons in the global development of international arbitration. He also contributed greatly to the development of international arbitration in China.

At the SCC, he was a key figure in forging the strong ties between Sweden and China for the development of international dispute resolution. 

Professor Tang’s important work in international arbitration began in the 1970’s as China embarked on its Open Door Policy, a policy which came to also include rules and laws for international arbitration.

Professor Tang played a crucial role in modernizing and developing international arbitration in China as well as in establishing ties to the international arbitration community; a role for which he was perfectly suited. He was fluent in English, but perhaps even more importantly his personality opened doors and formed life-long friendships. Simply put; everybody liked Professor Tang. He held a genuine interest for anyone standing in front of him, always offering a smile and engaged comments, along with his own expertise.  

Professor Tang travelled to Stockholm as a member of the very first Chinese delegation to Sweden in 1975. Stockholm was a natural choice as Sweden at that time was emerging as an important place for East – West arbitration. 

The first visit to Sweden was followed by many visits the following years and decades. In parallel, Swedish delegations travelled to China.

Professor Tang also took a very active part in the development of international arbitration at global level and was a frequent and active delegate at UNCITRAL and ICCA sessions.

In 2003, professor Tang was appointed Commander of The Royal Order of the Polar Star by the Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf in recognition of his important contribution to international arbitration at a ceremony at the Royal Palace in Stockholm, together with Sergei Lebedev (Russian Federation) and Judge Howard M. Holzman (USA).

More recently professor Tang played a lead role in the documentary The Quiet Triumph – How Arbitration Changed the World, produced by the SCC on the occasion of its 100th Anniversary Celebrations.

Professor Tang concludes the film looking straight at the camera with the following words:

We will be pleased if we can do something more. Keep going. Be on our way. And learn more. From each other.”

Indeed. It is a moment that truly captures professor Tang’s passion for a better world. We should all aspire to continue working in his spirit.

Professor Tang will be greatly missed.  


Ulf Franke
Honorary Chairman SCC 
Former SCC Chairperson
Former SCC Secretary General

Johan Gernandt
Former SCC Chairperson

Kaj Hobér
Former SCC Chairperson

Charlotta Falkman
SCC Chairperson

Annette Magnusson
SCC Secretary General  


In Chinese


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