China: Communist Party’s Suppression of Lawyers Is a Preemptive Attack Against an Imaginary Threat

May 16, 2018

Beginning last year as the 709 crackdown gradually petered out, the government’s hands were freed up, and they decided to do something about the ‘unconventional lawyers’ (非常规律师) they kept seeing. They have since been targeting these lawyers using a combination of methods that aim at terminating their professional lives. These include straightforward revocation or annulment of legal licences; forcing lawyers to transfer law offices but then gumming up the process so they end up with no place of employment; delaying lawyer annual assessments and more. The community has felt the blow and the sting.

The reason I place these targeted lawyers under the term ‘unconventional’ is because the scope of targets in this round of assault is fairly broad: there are the human rights lawyers like Sui Muqing (隋穆青)Zhu Shengwu (祝圣武)Wen Donghai (文东海)Xie Yanyi (谢燕益), Li Chunfu (李春富), Huang Simin (黄思敏) and so on — the standard group on the receiving end of punishment from the government — and then there are those like Yang Jinzhu (杨金柱), who has experimented with his own performative lawyering, and been called an unorthodox lawyer in the ‘diehard’ school (死磕派)[1]; and finally the orthodox diehard lawyers like Zhou Ze (周泽) and Wang Xing (王兴).

Of course, this taxonomy may itself be problematic. Many diehard lawyers have taken on human rights cases, and human rights lawyers are diehards when fighting in court for procedural justice. Moreover, rights defense lawyers and diehard lawyers have been constantly adaptive. Nevertheless, there is a difference in inclination between the two groups, and most importantly, in the political spectrum of lawyers as imagined by officialdom, the difference between these lawyers does exist.

Communist Party’s Suppression of Lawyers Is a Preemptive Attack Against an Imaginary Threat (URGENT ACTION!)

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【“709 Crackdown”】

Latest Data and Development of Cases as of 1800 17 May 2018
As of 18:00 17 May 2018, at least 322 lawyers, law firm staff, human right activists and family members have been questioned, summoned, forbidden to leave the country, held under house arrest, residential surveillance, criminally detained or arrested.

Statistics by category*:
Awaiting Trial: 1 person
1 lawyer: ①Wang Quanzhang

Sentenced and Case Closed: 14 persons
6 persons are serving sentence
①Wu Gan ②Lawyer Zhou Shifeng ③Hu Shigen ④Lawyer Jiang Tianyong ⑤Yin Xu’an ⑥Wang Fang
3 persons are serving suspended sentence
①Lawyer Li Heping ②Gou Hongguo ③Zhai Yanmin
4 persons completed sentence
①Liu Xing ②Zhang Wanhe ③Yao Jianqing ④Li Yanjun
1 person exempted from criminal punishment
①Lawyer Xie Yang

Residential Surveillance: 1 person
1 lawyer: ①Zhang Kai

Bail Condition Lifted: 25 persons
11 lawyer: ①Wang Qiushi ②Huang Liqun ③Siu Muqing ④Xie Yuandong ⑤Li Zhuyan ⑥Wang Yu ⑦Bao Longjun ⑧Ren Quanniu ⑨Liu Sixin ⑩Li Chunfu ⑪Ren Quanniu
4 lawyers’ assistants: ①Liu Peng ②Fang Xiangui ③Gao Yue ④Zhao Wei (Kaola)
1 law firm staff: ①Wang Fang
4 human rights activists ①Liu Yongping (aka Lao Mu) ②Lin Bin (aka Wang Yun Monk) ③Tang Zhishun ④Xing Qingxian
5 religious activists: ①Yan Xiaojie ②Huang Yizi ③Zhang Chongzhu ④Zhang Zhi ⑤Cheng Congping

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