March 22, 2017
A prominent Chinese lawyer has made a complaint to Beijing’s mayoral hotline about a nationwide police operation targeting the country’s human rights lawyers beginning on July 9, 2015, likening it to the political violence of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976).
Liu Xiaoyuan, a partner at the now-shuttered Fengrui law firm that was the first target of police raids and detentions, made the complaint on Wednesday, saying that he and other lawyers had lost their business licenses as a result.
Liu said the crackdown, which was to target more than 300 lawyers, law firm staff and associated rights activists in the months to come for detention, professional sanctions, house arrest and travel bans, including for family members, had had a devastating impact on China’s legal profession.
“These were tactics that were very similar to the campaigns of the Cultural Revolution,” Liu told RFA. “But we are not in the Cultural Revolution any more, so they shouldn’t be using such methods.”
“[It’s because] everyone just does what their bosses tell them, so we have the rule of personalities instead of the rule of law,” he said.
Liu warned that allowing a legal professional to do his job is a crucial part of the rule of law, and of human rights protection.