Tag Archives: China

Chinese lawyers banned from discussing cases in public in latest move to tighten control over legal sector

23/10/21

The Chinese legal sector has faced ever-tighter controls. Photo: Shutterstock
  • New guidelines from the official professional association say some lawyers have been ‘hyping up cases’ and trying to influence public opinion
  • Practising and former lawyers warn that the measures will prevent them from representing their clients properly and curb their freedom of speech

China’s official lawyers’ association has introduced new guidelines that ban lawyers from “hyping up cases” online or in the media in the latest move to tighten control over the legal profession.

The ethical guidelines issued by the All-China Lawyers Association this week came into force with immediate effect, initially on a provisional basis.

The Communist Party has been extending its reach into the legal system with tighter regulations and a string of disbarments since 2015’s “709 crackdown”, which saw about 300 rights lawyers, legal assistants and activists rounded up around the country.

A briefing issued by the association said a “small number of lawyers” had “commented inappropriately and disclosed details to hype up their cases”, adding that the guidelines were designed to strengthen professional ethics and enforce discipline by stopping lawyers from releasing details of their cases through the internet, the media or clients’ families.

“Some publicise their cases on the internet to enable ‘trial by public opinion’ while some breach clients’ privacy, insult and defame case handlers, vilify their opponents and mislead public opinion in an attempt to influence the case proceedings,” it continued.

Lawyers are also not allowed to organise petitions and press conferences, publish open letters or engage in public advocacy works with the purpose of fanning public opinion to influence court decisions.

The guidelines say they cannot release documents, video or photographs without court approval.

They will also apply to cases in the post-trial stage, including appeals and retrials.

[…]

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/politics/article/3153392/chinese-lawyers-banned-discussing-cases-public-latest-move

May be an image of text that says ""Just like everyone else, lawyers are entitled to freedom of opinion, expression, association and peaceful assembly." Diego García García-Sayán UN expert on the ndependence of judges and magistrates UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS மροα Offico /UNHumanRightsAsia /ohchrasia www.bangkok.ohchr.org /onchrasiapacific"

Chinese Rights Lawyer Stands Trial After Four Years’ Pretrial Detention

20/10/21

Chinese Rights Lawyer Stands Trial After Four Years' Pretrial Detention

The charges against Li Yuhan are a form of political retaliation for her rights work, a fellow lawyer says.

After four years in detention, human rights lawyer Li Yuhan stood trial in the northeastern Chinese province of Liaoning on Wednesday for “fraud,” and “picking quarrels and stirring up trouble,” a charge often used to target peaceful critics of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Li, 60, who had previously defended high-profile rights attorney Wang Yu amid a nationwide crackdown on rights lawyers, stood trial at the Heping District People’s Court in Shenyang, where an ambulance was parked, amid concerns over Li’s poor health.

Wang, who showed up to support Li with fellow rights lawyer Xie Yang, said police had denied access to diplomats from six countries, who asked to observe the proceedings.

“There were diplomats from six countries including the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the United States, the Netherlands, and Switzerland,” Wang told RFA from the scene. “Some were diplomats from consulates in Shenyang, and some were diplomats from Beijing.”

“They asked to observe, but the court said there were no available seats, so there weren’t allowed in.”

She added: “They are very concerned about this case. I also think that … the abuse of lawyer Li Yuhan has been inhumane.”

Wang said guards had thrown a security cordon some 50 meters from the front gates, and didn’t allow her or Xie Yang to pass.

“We saw a lot of lawyers and litigants from other cases trying to get through to submit materials or meet with a judge, but they weren’t allowed in either,” she said. “Court business was totally suspended.”

“We took a few photos from outside the security cordon, then we got driven away by the security guards, state security police and court police,” she said.

Retaliation

Earlier this year, the European Bar Association wrote to CCP general secretary Xi Jinping, expressing concerns over Li Yuhan’s poor health and situation in detention.

Wang said the charges against Li are retaliatory.

[…]

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/lawyer-trial-10202021132238.html

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/profile/li-yuhan

https://www.wionews.com/world/eu-urges-china-to-free-li-yuhan-and-other-human-rights-activists-351435

Hong Kong: Arrests under security law are serious concern, UN experts call for review 

12/10/21

Hong Kong, Chine. Le 05septembre 2021. Les vice-présidentes de l'Alliance  de Hong Kong pour le soutien des mouvements démocratiques patriotiques de  Chine Chow Hang-Tung ont publiquement rejeté la demande d'information de la

UN human rights experts* expressed deep concern about the arrest of Hong Kong pro-democracy activist and woman human rights defender Chow Hang-Tung on charges of “incitement to subversion” and being a foreign agent, and urged authorities to refrain from the use of the National Security Law and reconsider its application.

Ms. Chow, a human rights lawyer, was arrested on 8 September 2021. She was a member of the Hong Kong Alliance, an advocacy group which organised the annual candlelight vigil marking the 1989 protests in Tiananmen Square. Several other activists have been similarly arrested and charged under the National Security Law.

“Terrorism and sedition charges are being improperly used to stifle the exercise of fundamental rights, which are protected under international law, including freedom of expression and opinion, freedom of peaceful assembly and the right to participate in public affairs,” the experts said.

The experts have communicated in detailed written analysis their concerns to the Government of the People’s Republic of China about the National Security Law in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region highlighting the law’s fundamental incompatibility with international law and with China’s human rights obligations.

The experts also raised their concerns over the qualification of “foreign agent” under the National Security Law, in which reference is made to funding received from foreign governments and activities benefitting them. The experts called on the Government to ensure that associations can seek, receive and use funding from foreign or international sources, without undue impediments.

[…]

https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/10/1102882

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/profile/chow-hang-tung

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chow_Hang-tung

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/artist-10132021122322.html

https://www.rfi.fr/cn/%E4%B8%AD%E5%9B%BD/20211012-%E8%81%94%E5%90%88%E5%9B%BD%E4%BA%BA%E6%9D%83%E4%B8%93%E5%AE%B6%E5%AF%B9%E9%A6%99%E6%B8%AF%E6%A0%B9%E6%8D%AE%E5%9B%BD%E5%AE%89%E6%B3%95%E5%AE%9E%E6%96%BD%E9%80%AE%E6%8D%95%E8%A1%A8%E8%BE%BE%E5%85%B3%E5%88%87 (CHINESE)

https://www.notimerica.com/politica/noticia-china-onu-pide-hong-kong-reconsidere-ley-seguridad-nacional-20211013075949.html (ESPANOL)

Canada: LSO should speak out on behalf of Hong Kong lawyers: Bencher Chi-Kun Shi

06/10/21

LSO should speak out on behalf of Hong Kong lawyers: Bencher Chi-Kun Shi

The profession should be inspired by the heroism of these lawyers and honour them, Shi says

With the Law Society of Ontario’s commitment to monitor human rights violations that targeting members of the legal profession, bencher and trial lawyer Chi-Kun Shi wants the LSO to act on behalf of Hong Kong lawyers who uphold and defend the rule of law but face human rights violations in China.

 The LSO often writes letters to foreign governments opining on the rule of law and human rights, and Shi says that intervening for Hong Kong lawyers and paralegals in China honours their courage and sends a signal that they are supported and remembered.

 The LSO wrote a letter to President Xi Jinping and Chief Executive Carrie Lam in May 2021 condemning the human rights violations of legal professionals and unjust sentencing of lawyers Dr. Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee, Martin Lee Chu-ming and Albert Ho Chun-yan for participating in “unauthorized protests” in April 2020.

The letter urged the president to comply with China’s international human rights laws, including the United Nation’s universal declaration of human rights.

 “The recent convictions and unjust sentencing of lawyers and pro-democracy advocates lawyers Dr. Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee, Martin Lee Chu-ming and Albert Ho Chun-yan underscore the continuing assault on freedom of expression and right to assembly in Hong Kong. Arresting and charging lawyers and other human rights defenders who have engaged in peaceful assembly and advocacy creates a dangerous standard for all those who work to promote and defend human rights and the rule of law in Hong Kong.”

 The LSO asked for the immediate and unconditional release of Ngoi-yee, Chu-ming and Chun-yan, the dismissal of their convictions and assurance that all lawyers, paralegals and human rights defenders can carry out their professional duties without fear of reprisals and physical violence.

Shi says she hopes the LSO will act within its power, “walk the talk,” and grant honorary LSO membership to Ngoi-yee, Chu-ming and Chun-yan. She intended to bring forward the motion for honorary membership on October 1 convocation but says she withdrew the motion to rework it. 

“Instead of singling out three people who has illuminated the legal profession, I would like to include all the unsung heroes, lawyers and paralegals in Hong Kong who have stepped up in face of tyranny to defend our shared value of rule of law,” she says.

For example, “the young lawyers who jumped into taxis to follow paddy wagons to police station to represent the demonstrators arrested. They would want to be remembered.”

[…]

https://www.lawtimesnews.com/resources/professional-regulation/lso-should-speak-out-on-behalf-of-hong-kong-lawyers-bencher-chi-kun-shi/360507

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/group-09212021150247.html

Missing citizen journalist/former lawyer in China finally reappears 601 days later

01/10/21

He said he can’t reveal much about what happened to him.

Chen Qiushi is a citizen journalist and former human rights lawyer who went to Wuhan, China, two years ago to document the situation soon after an outbreak of Covid-19 cases was reported there.

He did so despite knowing that he had already attracted the attention of authorities, who had shut down his WeChat account and banned him from leaving the country, after he reported on the Hong Kong protests in 2019.

Resurfaced after around 601 days

But after saying on Twitter that he would go check out the situation at some makeshift “square cabin” hospitals, in response to a claim that the hospitals lacked medical facilities and other basic supplies, Chen disappeared from public view.

His Twitter reply on Feb. 5, 2020, was his last online activity before he dropped off the radar.

A day after, his mother took over his Twitter account, and asked social media users to look for him.

She also started to post daily pleas for Chen to return to his family, which went on for 601 days before Chen finally reappeared on a YouTube livestream on Friday night, Sep. 30.

The livestream was hosted by his friend, controversial MMA fighter Xu Xiaodong, who claimed after Chen went missing, that he was “forcibly quarantined” at an unknown location, and that he was uncontactable.

[…]

https://mothership.sg/2021/10/chen-qiushi-reappears/

https://www.wsj.com/articles/chinese-citizen-journalist-who-documented-covid-19-in-wuhan-resurfaces-after-600-days-11633077956

UN Human Rights Council Report Cites Intimidation, Reprisals against Chinese Activists Who Cooperate with the UN

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/politics/article/3150927/chinese-prosecutors-deny-request-formally-arrest-trio-including

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chen_Qiushi

(FRANCAIS)

https://www.latercera.com/la-tercera-sabado/noticia/el-periodista-ciudadano-chino-que-documento-el-covid-19-en-wuhan-resurge-despues-de-600-dias/BIDSWUPCCZD5HMT66I24I66EQM/ (ESPANOL)

Police in China’s Guangdong Move to Arrest Rights Lawyer Zhou Xiaoyun

28/09/21

Police in China's Guangdong Move to Arrest Rights Lawyer Zhou Xiaoyun

Zhou Xiaoyun reaches the end of a six-month stint in incommunicado detention, but looks set to remain behind bars.

Authorities in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong have applied to arrest a human rights lawyer after holding him under residential surveillance for six months, his friend told RFA.

Rights lawyer Zhou Xiaoyun, who formerly worked as a senior editor at the cutting-edge Southern Metropolis Daily newspaper in Guangzhou, was initially detained by police in the northeastern province of Liaoning around six months ago on suspicion of “picking quarrels and stirring up trouble,” a charge frequently used to target peaceful critics of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

He was held incommunicado under RSDL, residential surveillance at a designated location, but now that the six-month limit has been reached, police have applied to the state prosecutor’s office for approval of his arrest, a friend of Zhou’s who gave only the surname Lu said.

Police in Guangdong’s Panshan county submitted the arrest application to the local procuratorate on Sept. 26, Lu said.

He said Zhou was being victimized by the Liaoning police.

[…]

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/arrest-09282021134539.html

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/held-09012021095314.html

http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Xu-Zhiyong-faces-fresh-charges-of-planning-%27colour-revolution%27-against-state-54142.html

https://www.ntd.com/human-rights-lawyer-suffers-in-living-hell_681599.html

Hong Kong group supporting mainland China lawyers to disband after police demand information citing national security law

21/09/21

Members of the China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group hold a protest in 2017 over the treatment of the profession on the mainland. Photo: Dickson Lee
  • China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group says it will dissolve this month and has already started voluntary liquidation procedure
  • But the group does not say what information police were seeking or whether it complied with the request

A Hong Kong group founded to support human rights lawyers in mainland China has announced it will disband, a decision coinciding with a deadline for the organisation to provide police with information requested on national security grounds.

The China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group will be the latest in a run of Hong Kong civic bodies to dissolve following Beijing’s imposition of a national security law on the city last year.

Two prominent opposition-leaning bodies – the Professional Teachers’ Union and the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions – have ceased operations in the past month amid warnings from authorities and attacks from pro-Beijing mouthpieces over alleged national security violations.

The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, which organises the city’s annual candlelight vigil commemorating the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, is also set to vote on its disbandment on Saturday.

Hong Kong’s national security police last month wrote to the China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group demanding its leaders submit relevant information as requested.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, also the deadline for submission, the group said it had decided to disband and had already replied to the force’s letter of inquiry dated August 25.

[…]

https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/politics/article/3149601/hong-kong-group-supporting-mainland-china-lawyers-announces

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/group-09212021150247.html

https://www.thestandard.com.hk/breaking-news/section/4/180573/China-Human-Rights-Lawyers-Concern-Group-announces-disbandment

https://news.rthk.hk/rthk/en/component/k2/1610339-20210913.htm

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/lawyer-torture-09212021083912.html

China: Acts of torture against detained rights lawyer Chang Weiping

17/09/21

China Change » An Open Letter to the People's Republic of China Ministry of  Public Security and Minister Zhao Kezhi

[…]

The Observatory has been informed by the Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) about the acts of torture and ill-treatment perpetrated against Chang Weiping, a prominent human rights lawyer known for taking on sensitive human rights cases and filling lawsuits against companies for discrimination in the workplace against women, LGBTQ+ persons, and individuals affected by HIV/AIDs.

On September 14, 2021, Chang Weiping was allowed to meet his lawyer for the first time since his arbitrary arrest on October 22, 2020. During the meeting, which took place at the Feng County Detention Centre, in the area of Baoji City, Shaanxi Province, Chang Weiping reported having been subjected to numerous forms of physical and psychological torture in the six-month period he spent under “residential surveillance in a designated location” (RSDL), a form of enforced disappearance [1] , from October 2020 to April 2021. Chang Weiping was subjected to the “tiger chair” [2] for six consecutive days, subjected to sleep deprivation, placed under 24 hours video surveillance, denied food and allowed to shower only five times during the six-month period. At the time of publication of this Urgent Appeal, Chang Weiping remained detained at the Feng County Detention Centre, at high risk of renewed acts of torture.

The Observatory recalls that Chang Weiping was arrested on October 22, 2020 at his home in Fengxiang County, Shaanxi Province, by police officers from Baoji City. Later the same day, Chang Weiping’s wife received a phone call from a police officer who informed her that her husband had been placed under RSDL. Following his detention, the Baoji City Public Security Bureau denied two separate requests presented by Chang Weiping’s lawyers to meet with their client. Furthermore, one of the lawyers was informed that Chang Weiping was suspected of “subversion of State power” and that the case involved “State secrets”.

Six days before his arrest, on October 16, 2020, Chang Weiping had published a video statement on social media denouncing the physical and psychological torture he had been subjected to while in detention under RSDL from January 12 to 21, 2020, including being tied to a “tiger chair”. Arrested on charges of “subversion of State power” (Article 105(1) of China’s Criminal Law), Chang Weiping was released on bail pending trial on January 21, 2020. Nonetheless, he was requested to leave his city of residence and was confined to his family home in Baoji, where he remained under strict police scrutiny, including daily phone calls and weekly meetings with the police. Furthermore, he was prevented from being reunited with his family.

[…]

https://www.fidh.org/en/issues/human-rights-defenders/china-acts-of-torture-against-detained-hrd-chang-weiping

https://www.indcatholicnews.com/news/43060

https://www.facebook.com/Free-Chang-Weiping-%E5%B8%B8%E7%8E%AE%E5%B9%B3-107416584492421/

https://www.thestandard.com.hk/section-news/section/11/234188/Albert-Ho-lets-go-of-alliances

https://news.rthk.hk/rthk/en/component/k2/1610339-20210913.htm

Image

Hong Kong national security law: leaders of Tiananmen vigil group remanded in custody after being charged with inciting subversion

10/09/21

Chow Hang-tung, vice-chairwoman of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China. Photo: Handout
  • Barrister Chow Hang-tung fails with bail application, while jailed pair Lee Cheuk-yan and lawyer Albert Ho opt against applying for temporary release
  • Trio are all members of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China

Three leaders of the group behind Hong Kong’s annual Tiananmen Square vigil have been remanded in custody, after being charged with inciting subversion against state power under the national security law on Friday.

Chow Hang-tung, a barrister and vice-chairwoman of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, failed to secure bail in West Kowloon Court, while chairman Lee Cheuk-yan and vice-chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan, who are both already in jail in separate cases, did not apply for temporary release.

The alliance and its three leaders have been accused of inciting others to “organise, plan, commit or participate in acts by unlawful means with a view to subverting the state power”.

A charge sheet said the defendants had advocated “overthrowing or undermining the basic system of the People’s Republic of China” established by the constitution, or “overthrowing the body of central power of the People’s Republic of China”.

Prosecutor Anthony Chau Tin-hang applied for an eight-week adjournment to allow time for police to investigate, including examining computers and electronic devices seized on Thursday from the group’s June 4 museum.

When asked by the court clerk whether she understood the charge, Chow said: “I understand that it is a very ridiculous allegation.”

[…]

https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/politics/article/3148236/hong-kong-national-security-law-leaders-tiananmen-vigil

https://www.thestandard.com.hk/breaking-news/section/4/180115/Tiananmen-vigil-group-leaders-remanded-over-subversion-case

https://www.thestandard.com.hk/breaking-news/section/4/180096/June-4-vigil-never-threatened-public-safety:-Albert-Ho

https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/law-and-crime/article/3148114/national-security-law-hong-kong-police-search-june-4

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-58483848

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/woman-human-rights-defender-chow-hang-tung-arrested-after-refusing-comply-police-data-request

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/sep/08/hong-kong-police-arrest-leader-of-democracy-group-alliance

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chow_Hang-tung

https://www.lepoint.fr/monde/hong-kong-la-police-a-perquisitionne-le-musee-dedie-a-tiananmen-09-09-2021-2442411_24.php (FRANCAIS)

https://www.lematin.ch/story/trois-militants-pro-democratie-hongkongais-poursuivis-285304951339

(ITALIANO)

https://www.diepresse.com/6031543/polizei-in-hongkong-durchsucht-tiananmen-museum-und-entfernt-exponate (DEUTSCH)

May be an illustration of 1 person and text that says "S FORE HANG TUNG CHO"
May be an image of 4 people and text that says "CHOW Hang Tung LEE Cheuk Yan Albert Ho"

Hong Kong leader tells legal body to stay out of politics

17/08/21

Chief executive Carrie Lam's comments towards the Law Society come as China remoulds Hong Kong in its own image

Hong Kong’s leader on Tuesday warned one of the city’s top legal bodies against getting involved in politics, in the latest sign of the government telling professional bodies to toe Beijing’s line.

Chief executive Carrie Lam’s comments towards the Law Society come as China remoulds Hong Kong in its own image and pursues civil society groups deemed to be politically disloyal or supportive of the city’s democracy movement.

“If the Law Society allows politics to hijack their legal profession, the government will… consider severing its relationship with it,” Lam told reporters, without spelling out what measures the government might take.

With over 12,000 members, the Law Society is the city’s largest association of solicitors and the only regulatory body of its type with statutory powers.

It can issue practising certificates, investigate professional malpractice and establish rules of conduct for the industry.

Next week it will elect five of its 20 council members and pro-establishment figures are concerned more liberal, pro-democracy minded lawyers might win.

On Sunday the People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of China’s ruling Communist Party, published a commentary warning the Law Society not to elect any “anti-China elements” and choose “professionalism rather than politics”.

The same commentary also described Hong Kong’s Bar Association — which represents barristers — as a “street rat”.

The Bar Association has been more outspoken than the Law Society about concerns that Hong Kong’s vaunted judicial independence is being undermined by China’s crackdown on dissent, including the imposition of a national security law that reshaped the city’s legal landscape.

In a statement responding to Lam’s comments, Law Society president Melissa Pang said her group had “remained politically neutral”.

Some legal figures expressed concerns about Lam’s comments.

“‘Politicized’ appears to be new govt code word for ‘non-pro-govt candidates winning a majority on the Law Society council’,” Antony Dapiran, a Hong Kong lawyer and author, wrote on Twitter.

China has cracked down on dissent and overseen a campaign to purge the city of people and groups deemed unpatriotic since huge and disruptive democracy protests convulsed Hong Kong two years ago.

Over 30 professional and political groups have disbanded in the past year, often after being singled out by Chinese state media and then investigated by authorities.

[…]

https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20210817-hong-kong-leader-tells-legal-body-to-stay-out-of-politics

https://hongkongfp.com/2021/08/16/hong-kongs-justice-sec-warns-law-societies-to-steer-clear-of-politics-after-chinese-state-media-blasts-barristers/

https://www.dw.com/en/hong-kong-leader-warns-law-society-to-stay-out-of-politics/a-58883794

https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/hong-kong-leader-says-no-explicit-timetable-anti-foreign-sanctions-law-2021-08-17/

https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/law-and-crime/article/3144275/hong-kong-law-society-elections-likely-be-quieter-year

https://www.hklawsoc.org.hk/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_Society_of_Hong_Kong

https://www.lapresse.ca/international/asie-et-oceanie/2021-08-17/hong-kong/la-cheffe-de-l-executif-demande-a-un-organe-juridique-de-rester-a-l-ecart-de-la-politique.php (FRANCAIS)