October 7, 2015
(Rights lawyers like Pu Zhiqiang (front right, in May 3, 2014 photo) are an endangered species in China.Photo courtesy of China Human Rights Defenders (CHRD))
Dozens of Chinese lawyers have written to the country’s parliament calling for an end to legal requirements that they join their professional association, amid an ongoing crackdown on the embattled legal profession.
The letter calls for the repeal of Clause 15 of China’s Lawyers’ Law, in a gesture of protest at the government-backed lawyers’ association that they say has been instrumental in putting heavy political pressure on its members.
“This clause seriously contravenes Clause 35 of the Constitution [of the People’s Republic of China], and the right to freedom of association,” the lawyers wrote, amid an ongoing crackdown on rights lawyers and their associates by the ruling Chinese Communist Party.
“The registration of the so-called All China Lawyers’ Association (ACLA) [also] contravenes the law on social organizations, Clause 2, which states that they should be formed from the free association of Chinese citizens, and therefore was made in error and should be regarded as void,” the letter said.