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Annual license review silences lawyers, further hampering of religious practitioners’ rights to legal defense.

As of 14th June, there are a couple of Beijing lawyers who still haven’t passed the annual registration, including Lin Qilei (蔺其磊), Chen Jihua (陈继华), Wang Quanzhang (王全章) and Dong Qianyong (董前勇). Their law firms have not passed the annual registration either.

According to lawyers who have just passed their annual registration, Ministry of Justice had asked the lawyers to promise the following before reviewing their license:

  1. Stop promoting sensitive cases on online social media;
  2. Be careful when publishing commentaries on cases and legal system; and
  3. Must file record of all the religious cases they handle on the online lawyers management platform

Lawyers having difficulty to pass annual license review this year have also expressed that the lengthy review process is a measure to control and suppress lawyers who defend religious practitioners.

Lawyers have also expressed that under the new regime, it is harder to defend for their clients. Although with the implementation of the new Criminal Procedure Law, lawyers can meet with their clients in the detention centre more easily, the Ministry of justice often forces lawyers to drop the cases. Lawyers also say that that courts often stop the lawyers to deal with their cases before they can go through all required legal procedures, especially Falun Gong practitioners.

According to Article 35 of the Constitution of People’s Republic of China, citizens enjoy freedom of speech. The Lawyers Annual Registration Regulation also states clearly that lawyers are assessed annually based on their integrity and professionalism, rather than the types of cases they handle and their comments on online social media.

 

Chinese Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group condemns the fact that the Ministry of Justice and Lawyers Associations take an administrative measure as a political weapon to suppress human rights lawyers in China. The Concern Group also demands that courts in China at all levels should strictly comply with the Criminal Procedure Law, regardless of any political pressure.

 

China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group

14th June 2013

 

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