August 19, 2015
The Chinese government has lately carried out a massive campaign to arrest, summon, and threaten Chinese lawyers. The propaganda machine has followed in lock-step, operating at full strength to tarnishthese lawyers’ reputations by describing them as a “criminal gang,” “hooligans,” and “scum of the lawyer community” (here, here, and here).
Rights lawyers first emerged in the 2000s at the onset of a Chinese rights-defense movement. For more than a decade, they have fought courageously for legal justice and been on the front lines of promoting rule of law in China by taking part in innumerable cases of all sizes dealing with some of the most important problems in Chinese political and social life, such as social justice, free expression, religious freedom, food safety, property rights, economic charges, political rights, power abuses, wrongful convictions, and the rights of ethnic minorities and disabled people.
Some of them call themselves “die-hard lawyers.” Lawyer Si Weijiang explains (Chinese) that the “die-hard lawyer” are no different from ordinary criminal defense lawyers, except that they’re particularly persistent about procedures and refuse to play by any of the “hidden rules” of the Chinese legal system.