The U.S. State Department’s annual human rights report released on Wednesday highlighted China’s discriminating treatment against Chinese lawyers and law firms that handle cases that are considered politically sensitive.
The human rights report indicated that incidence of repression and coercion against civil and political rights advocates has noticeably increased in China in 2015. Lawyers and law firms were subjected to interrogation and investigation. Many of them were also arbitrarily detained in unknown locations for months without access to counsel or family members and on no justifiable ground.
“The crackdown on the legal community was particularly severe, as individual lawyers and law firms that handled cases the government deemed ‘sensitive’ were targeted for harassment and detention,” the dossier said, as quoted by Reuters.
Chinese legal authorities on Thursday struck off a prominent rights lawyer who was handed a suspended sentence last year for writing internet posts the government said incited ethnic hatred, ending his career.
Activists have said the three-year suspended sentence for Pu Zhiqiang would serve as a strong reminder to other rights lawyers that the Communist Party, currently engaged in a severe clampdown on dissent, would brook no challenge to its rule.
Pu has represented many well-known dissidents, including artist Ai Weiwei and activists of the New Citizens’ Movement, a group that has called on Chinese leaders to publicly disclose their wealth, and his case has attracted wide concern in the West.
Pu said he had received the formal notification from the Beijing City Judicial Bureau that his lawyer’s licence had been revoked. He declined further comment, saying he was not supposed to accept interviews.
Lawyers for Lawyers is an independent and non-political Dutch foundation that seeks to promote the proper functioning of the rule of law by pursuing freedom and independence of the legal profession. Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada is a committee of lawyers and others promoting international human rights through advocacy, legal research and education.
Lawyers for Lawyers and Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada are concerned about the maltreatment of Alldo Fellix Januardy by members of the Civil Service Police Unit during a forced eviction in Bukit Duri, Tebet, South Jakarta on 12 January 2016. Alldo Fellix Januardy is an independent public interest lawyer at the Legal Aid Institute (LBH) in Jakarta. He has represented numerous people in a great variety of public interest cases.
Alldo Fellix Januardy was maltreated following his effort to negotiate a suspension of the plan to forcefully evict his clients. The Adminstrative District Court was still to issue a ruling on the legality of the eviction. Furthermore, the people of Bukit Duri were still awaiting the outcome of an audience with the Municipal Council. Alldo Fellix Januardy requested the members of the Civil Service Police Unit and the Sub-District Head of Tebet to await the outcome of the legal process before taking any actions. Instead of accepting this legitimate request, members of the Civil Service Police Unit and the Sub-District Head of Tebet attacked Alldo Fellix Januardy, resulting in wounds on his eyebrow and chin.