Daily Archives: 01/11/2021

Burma: Myanmar Junta Places Lawyers Back Under Control of Military Regime

01/11/21

Myanmar’s military regime has amended the Bar Council Act, effectively putting the council back under the control of the junta.

Coup leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing on October 28 introduced two new amendments to the Bar Council Act, abolishing the right of lawyers to elect the council and so enabling the regime to appoint the legal body.

Under the amendment, the Attorney-General and Chief Justice of the Union will appoint members to the council.

“Lawyers have lost the right to elect members to represent them. The council has been put back under the total control of the regime like it was in the past,” said a legal expert who wished to stay anonymous.

As the Bar Council is authorized to issue and revoke advocate licenses and to regulate advocates, lawyers are likely to face tougher restrictions under the amended law, said legal experts.

“There will be restrictions and controls on lawyers applying for advocacy. And there will also be politically-motivated restrictions and instructions to existing advocates. [The amendment] will affect the freedom of advocates,” said another legal expert.

The Bar Council Act was first passed in 1929 under British colonial rule and specified that council members were to be elected democratically.

However, after the Bar Council advocated for lawyers to participate in protests against the former military regime during the 1988 pro-democracy uprising, the then junta’s State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) amended the act. The SPDC amended two articles in 1989 to say that council members could be chosen only by the Chief Justice of the Union.

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https://burma.irrawaddy.com/news/2021/10/30/247160.html (BURMESE)

https://voi.id/fr/berita/99821/kutuk-pembungkaman-pengacaranya-oleh-rezim-militer-myanmar-aung-san-suu-kyi-sebut-mereka-miliki-hak (FRANCAIS)

China’s Best Known Public Interest Litigator Awaits Trial

31/10/21

In China, Hao Jinsong (郝劲松) is very well-known as a public interest litigator who, for the better part of seven years between 2004 and 2010, sued various authorities such as the Beijing Subway Company, the Ministry of Railways, Shaanxi provincial Forestry Department, and the Shanghai traffic police, and confronted the National Development and Reform Commission, for its practices which, Hao argued, are not right. Hao Jinsong wielded “the legal axe” and was winning one case after another. 

He had a graduate law degree in criminal litigation from China University of Political Science and Law (CUPSL). For several years, he worked at a law firm in Beijing, directing its Public Interest Department. But by choice, he did not become a lawyer because, had he become a lawyer, he would have to place himself under too many constraints of government management, such as the Justice Bureaus. Instead, pursuing administrative lawsuits as a citizen or citizen proxy was his thing.

Sometime around 2009 he moved back to his hometown of Dingxiang in northern Shanxi (山西定襄县) and ran the Jinsong Legal Consultancy Co. (劲松法律咨询公司). He has been less visible in recent years, not appearing in the news or on magazine covers as before. 

On December 17, 2019, Hao Jinsong was given 15 days of administrative detention for “picking quarrels and provoking disturbances” after being repeatedly summoned by local police in Dingxiang, Shanxi. Fifteen days later on January 2, 2020, he was criminally detained on the same charges. On November 15, 2020, he was indicted on three charges: “picking quarrels and provoking disturbances” for retweets and comments on current events on social media; “defamation” for derogatory comments about Chinese leaders; and “fraud” in two cases he had represented. The third charge was not among the initial charges against Hao.

Hao Jinsong is still awaiting trial. It was first scheduled on December 10, 2020, and postponed eventually to October 12 and 13, 2021, and then postponed again. 

I will start with a brief summary of Hao Jinsong’s story and come back to his indictment.

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