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Chinese Lawyers' Joint Declaration on the Authority’s Unlawful Denial of Defense Lawyers for “709 Crackdown” Cases

As known, as a result of the large scale crackdown of human rights lawyers and defenders which started on 9 July 2015, and handled by the police in Tianjin under as designated by the Ministry of Public Security, over 20 lawyers and defenders have been formally arrested for the crimes of “subverting state power” or “inciting subversion of state power” after being enforced into disappearance for 6 months under the guise of “residential surveillance at designated location”. Family- assigned legal representatives have been denied access to lawful meetings with their clients at the Tianjin no. 1 and no. 2 Detention Centres respectively, on the claim that the litigants had already entrusted someone as their defence counsels.
With further examination, the family members learnt that the Tianjin police have assigned the litigants specific counsels, albeit with their identities concealed to those family members. Moreover, these defense lawyers have never reported back to the family updates regarding these litigants. 
In our opinion, the practice of Tianjin police has trampled upon the principle of justice that humanity has evolved into, basic human rights of defendants, as well as the existing domestic laws. Article 11 of the Universal Human Rights Declaration states that defendants of criminal offences should enjoy the guarantees necessary for their defense. Article 14(3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights clearly states that defendants of criminal offences should be entitled to communication with legal representatives of their own choosing in preparation of their cases. “Counsel of his own choosing” must be out of litigant’s free will, free of any intimidation. The Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment clearly regulates that detainees are entitled to assistance from legal counsel, and also entitled to communicate and consult with their legal counsel. 
Article 125 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China regulates that “[t]he accused has the right to defence.” Article 14 of the Criminal Procedure Law of the People’s Republic of China (Criminal Procedure Law) regulates that “the public security organs shall safeguard the procedural rights to which participants in proceedings are entitled according to law.” Article 33 regulates that“defendant in custody, his or her guardian or close relative may retain a defender on his or her behalf.” 
The above international covenants and domestic laws recognized by the Chinese government clearly affirm the necessity of protecting the right to counsel and criminal suspects’ freedom to legal delegation. Tianjin police’s reasoning that litigants have already delegated defense counsels themselves was an outright lie. Considering that litigants have forcibly gone missing for half a year, with their rights to meet or communicate with family members and legal representatives denied, litigants had barely known their current delegated counsels. Thus, how was it possible that the litigants could have delegated these counsels? Further, having family members delegating their own legal representatives, it would not have satisfied the legal aid requirements stipulated under Article 34 of the Criminal Procedure Law. 
To put it further, no civilised country in the world will legally allow the practice of forcibly replacing the defence lawyers entrusted by the litigants and their families with someone of the authorities’ liking. This in fact has come close to nullifying the criminal defence system as the system is underpinned by the right to a counsel of one’s own choosing.
In summary, the officials’ out-of- line designation of legal representatives for defendants was without any legal grounds; neither does it fulfill any natural justice. Such selective jeopardizing of law is a destruction of the unity of laws, as well as an overturning of China’s legal infrastructure. 
Therefore, our statement of condemnation on the unlawful acts of Tianjin police is as follows:
i. Tianjin police must stop immediately their illicit acts that damage litigants’ right to counsel, and safeguard the right to counsel entitled to legal representatives designated by litigants’ relatives in compliance with law.
ii. Having delegated Tianjin police to handle the cases, Ministry of Public Security must also take onboard their supervisory responsibilities, and enjoin the Tianjin police from committing the aforementioned unlawful acts.
iii. Tianjin People’s Procuratorate and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate should execute properly their supervisory responsibilities as stipulated by law, and investigate Tianjin police’s extensive unlawful or illicit acts committed in such high profile cases. Those who have abused public power should be brought to justice.
iv. Lawyers who have been delegated or assigned to represent the defendants should stop immediately their contribution towards these unlawful acts. They should maintain their professionalism, respect litigants and their families’ free will, immediate unconditional complete withdrawal from the cases, and report to litigants’ family the work undertaken during their time as legal representatives.
v. We remind / warn Tianjin police that, no matter the nature of cases, laws and the due process must be followed. The entire Chinese legal system could be jeopardized once laws could be deviated in certain cases, as the implementation of laws would be destroyed. Since a (functioning) legal system is the basis for everyone’s basic security, those who take part in destroying it would (surely) be condemned by history.
1. Wen Donghai, Hunan Lawyer
2. Li Weida, Hebei Lawyer
3. Zhong Jinhua, Shanghai Lawyer
4. Wu Kuiming, Guangdong Lawyer
5. Qu Yuan, Sichuan Lawyer
6. Cai Ying, Hunan Lawyer
7. Li Fangping, Beijing Lawyer
8. Tong Chaoping, Beijing Lawyer
9. Chen Yixuan, Hunan Lawyer
10. Yu Quan, Sichuan Lawyer
11. Li Yongheng, Shandong Lawyer
12. Ma Lianshun, Henan Lawyer
13. Zhang Chongshi / Zhang Zhongshi, Hunan Lawyer
14. Zou Lihui, Fujian Lawyer
15. Lu Tingge, Hebei Lawyer
16. Chen Jinhua, Hunan Lawyer
17. Ren Quanniu, Henan Lawyer
18. Luo Qian / Luo Xi, Hunan Lawyer
19. Li Jinxing, Shandong Lawyer
20. Zhang Hai, Shandong Lawyer
21. Ren Zengyi/ Ren Cengyi, Yunnan Lawyer
22. Meng Meng, Hunan Lawyer
23. Xu Hongwei, Shandong Lawyer
24. Ji Zhongjiu, Zhejiang Lawyer
25. Liu Zhengqing, Guangdong Lawyer
26. Ge Wenxiu, Guangdong Lawyer
27. Qin Yongpei / Tan Yongpei, Guangxi Lawyer
28. Wang Zhenjiang, Shandong Lawyer
29. Wen Haibo, Beijing Lawyer
30. Teng Biao, Beijing Lawyer
31. Liu Wei, Beijing Lawyer
32. Jiang Yuanmin, Guangdong Lawyer
33. Wang Quanping, Guangdong Lawyer
34. Xu Guijuan, Shandong Lawyer
35. Zheng Enchong, Shanghai Lawyer
36. Jiang Tianyong, Beijing Lawyer
37. Chang Boyang, Henan Lawyer
38. Lin Qilei, Beijing Lawyer
39. Liu Shihui, Guangdong Lawyer
40. Tang Jitian, Beijing Lawyer
41. Yu Wensheng, Beijing Lawyer
42. Wang Qiushi, Heilongjiang Lawyer
43. Liang Xiaojun, Beijing Lawyer
44. Wang Qingpeng, Hebei Lawyer
45. Chen Jiangang, Beijing Lawyer
46. Liu Shuqing, Shandong Lawyer
47. Zhang Lei, Beijing Lawyer
48. Lu Fangzhi, Hunan Lawyer
49. Tan Chenshou, Guangxi Lawyer
50. Chen Jinxue, Guangdong Lawyer
51. Liu Rongsheng, Shandong Lawyer
52. Wang Zongyue, Guizhou Lawyer
53. Wang Lei, Henan Lawyer
54. Gao Chengcai, Henan Lawyer
55. Li Yuhan, Liaoning Lawyer
Contact & Enquiry:

Yu Wensheng (Beijing) +86 139 1003 3651
Lin Qilei (Beijing) +86 186 3922 8639
Chang Boyang (Henan) +86 188 3718 3338
Liu Shihui (Guangdong) +86 185 1663 8964