Crackdown on rights lawyers

18 Jan

Here’s a link to another bleak article about the mainland’s legal system, this one focusing on human rights lawyers, of whom 7 are languishing in jails. The situation is certainly not good especially with a rough 2014 and a president who feels powerful enough to crack down on everything and everyone. While in general, the harsh treatment of lawyers is not surprising in China given its stance towards human rights, the disturbing situation is that this is a major part of how the party maintains such control over Chinese society. Maintaining a self-serving legal system, enforcing the law arbitrarily and jailing any form of dissent whether it be lawyers, journalists or activists, the party guarantees that no form of organized opposition can develop. Indeed, one of the jailed lawyers Xu Zhiyong was jailed in January for criticizing the government and advocating for political reform as a founder of group New Citizens Movement. This piece has more about Xu.

Some choice quotes from the article:

China’s leaders are far from governing the country under a system based on the rule of law. Instead, they are paying lip service to the idea in order to give legitimacy to the Communist Party’s rule while building a legal system that serves their political interests.

“China’s embattled rights lawyers, however, have refused to be coerced into submission. On the contrary, they are increasingly challenging authorities for failing to practice the respect for the law that they preach. More young lawyers are joining the movement.”


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