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Public opinion space is shrinking, and Chinese rights lawyers are struggling to move forward

Posted by on 2023/07/02. Filed under Breaking News,China,Headline News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

In the eight years since, the Communist Party has spread a wide net not only against rights lawyers but also against the entire community of lawyers, trying to trap them in the “Chinese characteristics” legal system it has woven behind closed doors.

Since the “709 incident”, the situation of Chinese human rights lawyers in mainland China has continued to deteriorate. The authorities’ crackdown on human rights lawyers continues to escalate, with methods such as disqualification, illegal imprisonment, strict surveillance, restriction of personal freedom, discrediting public opinion, and harassment with despicable acts. For example, Chinese human rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong, who has been released from prison since 2019, has long since expired his sentence of deprivation of political rights, but is still under close monitoring by the authorities. Authorities also recently denied him a passport and a Hong Kong and Macau pass, making it difficult for him to reunite with his wife in the United States. Some citizens even visited him and were detained. Human rights lawyer Yu Wensheng and his wife, Xu Yan, disappeared after being forcibly summoned in plainclothes in Beijing in April and were formally arrested and charged with “incitement”. Their future remains uncertain.

Yu Wensheng and Xu Yan “disappeared” at the same time as French President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission President von Dreyan visited China. Including Li Heping and Wang Qiaoling couple, Wang Quanzhang and Li Wenzu couple, Yu Wensheng and Xu Yan couple, Wang Yu and so on have suffered deeply.

Now the eighth anniversary of the “709 incident” is approaching, and the authorities are even more strict. In recent months, the authorities have escalated their repression and harassment of dissidents. The entire family of human rights lawyers Li Heping and Wang Quanzhang have been harassed. Their landlords have torn up their contracts, cut off their electricity and water, and threatened to evict them violently. Recently, Wang Quanzhang said that in two months, it has been forced to move 13 times, just moved in the latest house, the next night the police came to the door and asked to move out.

“These ugly and devious acts have seriously undermined the rule of law in China,” the China Human Rights Lawyers Group wrote last week in response to the situation. “To achieve the illegal purpose of expelling human rights lawyers, human rights defenders, dissidents and other groups, some openly use public power to intervene in the daily life of citizens and intervene in the civil sphere. In fact, it is deliberately undermining and tampering with the basic civil system built by the previous Politburo.”

In addition to cracking down on the persecution of human rights lawyers, the CCP authorities are trying to control the entire Chinese legal profession. For the first time, the group of lawyers was included in the scope of the socialist rule of law work team, and it was clearly required to strengthen ideological and political construction. In 2018, China’s Ministry of Justice issued a decision on amending the Law Firm Management Measures, requiring the establishment of party branches in law firms to “improve the working mechanism for Party organizations to participate in the decision-making and management of law firms.”

Recently, some Chinese lawyers have reflected that China’s recent intensification of political brainwashing education has also affected the legal community, and in recent years, especially after the “709 incident”, almost all Chinese lawyers have to accept political “re-education”. Some provinces require lawyers to study on the “learning power” software during the annual assessment, and less than a certain number of points can not pass the assessment.

Wu Shaoping, a Chinese rights lawyer, said the Communist Party’s push for so-called party-building among lawyers was intended to influence lawyers by propagating its threatening and intimidating content. The CCP has strengthened its control over the whole legal profession, which is very harmful, especially after the new management method of lawyers came out, the independence of the whole lawyer has been destroyed, and you will find that a lot of things cannot be independent.

The CCP’s tightening control over China’s legal profession is a great irony to its political advocacy of “rule by law” and a political need to control the cost of “maintaining stability.”

Whenever foreign political figures visit China and major time nodes, it has become normal for the CPC to intensify persecution and monitoring of rights protection lawyers. During the trips of Macron and Blinken to China, the CCP strictly blocked the normal expression rights of the rights protection lawyers with high pressure, and avoided exposing the CCP’s scandals in open diplomatic channels at a relatively small cost. Every time Western dignitaries visit the season eventually became a group of human rights lawyers on a good day.

The CCP’s so-called “rule of law” is in essence nothing more than upholding the rule of law under the leadership of the CPC. In the Decision of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Several Major Issues concerning Comprehensively Advancing the Rule of Law, it is clearly stated that the scientific connotation of the path of socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics is “upholding the leadership of the Communist Party of China, upholding the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, upholding the theory of socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics, and upholding and improving the system of socialist lawyers with Chinese characteristics.” This runs counter to the Western system of rule of law and separation of powers.

Normally, Chinese lawyers, especially human rights lawyers, should have a rich reserve of legal knowledge, strict logical training, and be familiar with the concepts of rule of law, freedom, and fairness. And when these lawyers use these knowledge weapons to challenge the “Chinese characteristics” rule of law system contrary to the concept of legal fairness, they will inevitably become subversive. In the CCP’s governance logic of “stability is Paramount”, this is bound to violate the prohibition.

In recent years, as the CCP’s desire for control continues to expand, it has gradually affected the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, which is known for its judicial independence. From the Ministry of Justice banning mainland lawyers from representing 12 Hong Kong people in 2020, to the recent National People’s Congress interpretation of the Lai Chi-ying case, which will approve the hiring of overseas lawyers to participate in national security cases, and the Chief Executive, the CCP has seriously damaged Hong Kong’s legal system, but also revealed the two concepts of the rule of law between water and fire.

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