Chinese lawyers ordered to ‘support’ the Chinese Communist Party
The Chinese government’s tough stance on its own legal community just got a little bit tougher.
The Chinese Ministry of Justice has handed down two new directives which require all lawyers in the country to ‘support the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party’ and to abstain from expressing opinions that ‘reject the fundamental political system’ of China or that undermine ‘national security’. Further, the new rules require all law firms in China to install a Party branch within their firm. Additional restrictions include an order the lawyers not ‘incite’ or ‘organise’ their clients, participating in public demonstrations which ‘disturb public order’, or openly criticise the Chinese judiciary. Lawyers that violate the new rules could face disbarment or prosecution.
The latest directives come amid an ongoing clampdown on China’s legal community, which has seen an unprecedented number of human rights lawyers arrested and handed disproportionately heavy prison sentences for minor offences. The crackdown is widely believed to be a suppressive response to the growing zeal of human rights lawyers who openly challenge corruption within the Chinese government and judicial system. Human Rights Watch China director Sophie Richardson commented: ‘The new Justice Ministry rules basically tell lawyers that their successful legal tactics are now prohibited. People’s rights can’t be robustly defended when their lawyers can’t draw attention to, or even publicly discuss, their cases.’ The new rules come into effect on 1 November.
Source: Global Lega Post