Tag Archives: Japan

Six Years After Crackdown, China’s Rights Lawyers ‘Struggling to Exist’

08/07/21

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Six years after Beijing police raided the offices and key members of the now-defunct Beijing Fengrui law firm, rights attorneys Wang Yu and Wang Quanzhang say their profession no longer really exists in the wake of a prolonged crackdown by the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

The July 9, 2015 raid on Fengrui and the arrests of Wang Yu, Wang Quanzhang, and dozens of other rights attorneys, law firm staff, and associated activists launched a nationwide operation targeting the profession on an unprecedented scale.

Less than a decade later, attorneys who continue to take on cases deemed politically sensitive by the CCP can expect to lose their business licenses, which are subject to annual review, or are themselves detained, harassed, or sentenced to jail.

Wang Yu, who was honored by the U.S. as an International Woman of Courage (IWOC) this year, was once again held incommunicado in March after failing to attend an online award ceremony.

The award came as she and her husband Bao Longjun were assisting in the case of Niu Tengyu, who is currently serving a 14-year jail term for allegedly posting a photo of Xi Mingze, daughter of CCP general secretary Xi Jinping, to meme site Zhina Wiki, an act that was later blamed by police on Niu’s Vulgar Wiki.

She says there are still multiple restrictions on her daily life, despite having been released in the wake of the 2015 crackdown.

[…]

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/lawyers-07082021101655.html

https://www.hrichina.org/en/press-work/hric-bulletin/tribute-women-who-resist-sixth-anniversary-709-crackdown

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20210708/p2g/00m/0na/059000c

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/709_crackdown

May be an image of 1 person and text that says "International Association o– People's Lowyers (LAPL): WE SUPPORT CHINESE HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYERS!"
May be an image of 1 person and text
May be an image of 1 person, standing and text that says "Lawyers in the Netherlands support China's human rights lawyers! LAWYERS LAWYERS #ChinaHumanRightsLawyers #709Crackdown"

G7 bar leaders call upon governments to take action on lawyers at risk, lawtech and climate change

11/06/21

Flags of G7 countries flying against blue sky

Ahead of the G7 summit in Cornwall, the presidents of the G7 bars have signed resolutions calling on their governments to tackle issues including climate change, the ethics of legal technology and undue interference with the independence of the legal profession.

Although consensus proved elusive at the G7 bars summit on 17 May, chaired by Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce, one resolution on lawyers at risk gained unanimous approval and a second resolution on guaranteeing continuity of justice in a time of crisis also gained widespread approval.

The presidents and executives of the representative bodies have committed to make efforts to urge governments to:

  • protect the rule of law and access justice
  • uphold the independence of the legal profession
  • condemn any attacks on lawyers carrying out their duties

Alongside resolutions focusing on lawyers at risk and continuity of justice, there was also progress on key areas that will impact the future of the legal profession, most prominently climate change and lawtech.

[…]

What was discussed on 17 May?

We proposed four resolutions, alongside a fifth resolution from the Conseil National des Barreux (CNB), focusing on areas that are key for both promoting the work of lawyers and assisting wider society:

  • lawyers at risk
  • lawtech and ethics
  • climate change
  • economic recovery
  • continuity of justice

These five areas reflect the concerns of the legal profession and wider agenda of the national G7 meeting, with a focus on leading the global recovery from coronavirus, tackling climate change and championing our shared values.

The strongest agreement between the bars was found on the ‘lawyers at risk’ resolution, with all of the seven bars signing the final statement and agreeing to promulgate the resolutions to their governments via the so-called national ‘Sherpas’ (civil servants and diplomats who help guide the leaders of the G7 countries in the leadup to the summit).

[…]

https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/topics/international/g7-bar-leaders-call-on-governments-to-take-action-on-lawyers-at-risk-lawtech-and-climate-change

UK: Back to basics on protecting lawyers

08/02/21

Image result for The Law Society Gazette

Not associating lawyers with their clients is a UN basic principle, but this has not stopped the demonisation – often by government – of those in the profession for merely discharging their duties

It is now three decades since a United Nations conference adopted a global set of safeguards for an independent legal profession. The so-called basic principles were adopted at a 1990 conference in Havana (where president Fidel Castro assured delegates that Cuba was ‘virtually free from many forms of contemporary crime’). One of the most treasured of those principles is the statement: ‘Lawyers shall not be identified with their clients or their clients’ causes as a result of discharging their functions.’

This noble sentiment has not prevented the persecution of lawyers across the world for discharging their functions. To take one example, the Turkey campaign group Arrested Lawyers states that, since 2016, 450 lawyers have been sentenced to a total of 2,786 years in prison for alleged involvement in terrorism: in several cases their ‘crime’ was to act on behalf of lawyers already jailed.

The UK should not be too smug: the government continues to reject calls for an inquiry into what it has admitted is strong evidence of security forces collusion in the 1989 murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane.  

More recent identifications of lawyers with their clients have involved words rather than violence, but are disturbing nonetheless. Last month the profession was unanimous in its support when distinguished barrister Dinah Rose QC came under attack for accepting a brief to appear in a Privy Council case concerning the legality of gay marriage in the Cayman Islands. Rose pointed out that the Bar Standards Board code expressly forbids a barrister from withdrawing from a case because of external pressure.

[…]

All this, of course, is taking place against the background of last year’s party conference jibes by the prime minister and home secretary about ‘lefty lawyers’ acting in asylum claims. The remarks prompted outrage in all branches of the profession, with the bar chair accusing the home secretary of seeking ‘to demonise the very people helping constituents every day, without agenda, simply because they provide a vital public service’.

In a grim reminder of the risks lawyers can face, a man was subsequently charged with an attempted knife attack on a prominent legal aid firm. The case is currently sub judice.  

[…]

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news-focus/news-focus-back-to-basics-on-protecting-lawyers/5107319.article

https://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/RoleOfLawyers.aspx

https://www.nichibenren.or.jp/en/events/210313.html

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Endangered Lawyers need International Protection

October 2019

Click to access Bulletin%20Article%20-%20Prof%20Higashizawa%20-%20Oct%202019.pdf

https://www.lawasia.asn.au/home/lawasia-news?fbclid=IwAR2oxw82RVEwfL480UlqvRqvx3YNGZ_w0MfIlffDH662WpK0O59BJSuQQog

https://www.lawasia.asn.au/

Pakistan/Day of the Endangered Lawyer: DAY OF THE ENDANGERED LAWYER – 24 January 2020 – PAKISTAN

Preparations are now well underway for the Day of the Endangered Lawyer (DOTEL) on Pakistan for January 24, 2020. At a preparatory meeting about 16 to 20 participants representing the Foundation of the Endangered Lawyers Day, AED, International Association of Peoples Lawyers, ELDH, CCBE, CBE, Institut des Droit de l’Homme, several Bar Associations, Avocats sans frontiers, Law Society, CNB have decided to dedicate the Day of the Endangered Lawyer to the solidarity with endangered lawyers in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, since our Brussels meeting our Pakistani colleagues continue to face chronic danger and a risk of serious harm.  They continue to be subjected to acts of violence, and very recently a lawyer was seriously assaulted by a judge during a trial, which led to a local strike („Black Day“) of lawyers lasting at least a week: https://defendlawyers.wordpress.com/2019/07/10/pakistan-day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-lawyers-strike-continues-for-sixth-consecutive-day/   At the national level there have been a number of strikes by lawyers, especially in solidarity with two judges who have been under attack by Pakistan President Arif Alvi.  The latest national strike organized by the Pakistan Bar Council was held on July 13th:   https://defendlawyers.wordpress.com/2019/07/10/pakistan-day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-pbc-gives-call-for-countrywide-strike-on-july-13/  Invidual lawyers, like high-profile lawyer Saif-ul-Malook who represented Asia Bibi (the famous woman who was on death row for blasphemy), continue to face a high risk of death or physical harm: https://defendlawyers.wordpress.com/2019/06/23/pakistan-day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-the-pakistani-lawyer-putting-his-life-on-the-line/.

Lawyers‘ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC) reports that they will  invite the Canadian Human Rights Museum in Winnipeg to host and finance an event on January 24th and to bring one or two lawyers from Pakistan. LRWC has started a paper on Pakistan focused on two needs: to effectively prevent and punish the murder of lawyers through protective measure and proper investigations, prosecutions and trials and second to develop pan Pakistan education to promote religious diversity and tolerance. They will also invite the Law Society of Ontario to hold an event.  As well, at the beginning of July the G7 Bars Meeting was held in France, with representatives of the Bars of France, Canada, Germany, USA, Japan, England & Wales and Italy, representing 1.8 million lawyers.  They adopted 20 proposals to G7 governments, including one: „Commit to support actions marking the Day of the Endangered Lawyer and to encourage other countries to do likewise.“  The New Zealand Law Society has the honour of publishing the first article about DOTEL 2020, which they did in mid-July: https://defendlawyers.wordpress.com/2019/07/18/pakistan-new-zealand-pakistan-the-focus-of-2020-day-of-endangered-lawyer/

DAY OF THE ENDANGERED LAWYER – 24 January 2020 – PAKISTAN

https://defendlawyers.wordpress.com/2019/06/22/pakistan-day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-january-24-2020-pakistan/

Homepage

Groups Urge Human Rights Focus During Pakistan PM Visit

https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/photography/pakistan-hazara-ethnic-minority-community-quetta-a8995466.html

#DayoftheEndangeredLawyer

Day of the Endangered Lawyer

China/Japan: Japan academics make appeal for Tsinghua professor

May 21, 2019

Image result for Xu Zhangrun

Japanese intellectuals are demanding that a Chinese university end the suspension of a professor who criticized the policy of the Chinese leadership.

Xu Zhangrun, a law professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing, was suspended in March.

It is believed Xu was suspended because he published an article in July last year that criticized the Chinese leadership for eliminating term limits for the state presidency.

In the article, the professor also said the Chinese Communist Party media’s deification of President Xi Jinping has reached a limit.

On Tuesday, academics and other Japanese intellectuals held a news conference in Tokyo to issue a statement demanding the lifting of Xu’s suspension.

The statement says the suspension amounts to a suppression of academic freedom and the freedom of speech.

It also says there will be a bright future in China if intellectuals can pluck up courage, like Professor Xu, to speak up for the truth.

The statement has been signed by 70 Japanese scholars and journalists. They are increasingly concerned about freedom of speech being further curtailed under Xi’s leadership.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190522_01/

30 years after the Tiananmen Massacre: An interview with survivor Zhou Fengsuo

Minds Unfettered and the Rival Spirits of May Fourth

Xu Zhangrun 許章潤 Archive

https://thediplomat.com/2019/04/may-4-1919-the-making-of-modern-china/

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

https://es.globalvoices.org/2019/05/20/30-anos-despues-de-la-masacre-de-tiananmen-entrevista-con-el-sobreviviente-zhou-fengsuo/ (ESPANOL)

Day of the Endangered Lawyer/China: Translation into Japanese of Petition to Chinese Embassy

January 24, 2017

Many thanks to Changho Kim of Human Rights Now in Tokyo for this translation.  Changho is a lawyer working for Human Rights Now, a Japan based international human rights NGO.  Although Human Rights Now is a human rights NGO, most of their members and staff, including himself, are attorneys or law professionals, including their representatives Shin Haebong and secretary general Kazuko Ito. They have been concerned about the situation of human rights situations of lawyers in China, and have issued statements on this issue which are on their websites.

Click to access 9a2717223a0a859b9cb3eeb0407f6bff.pdf

WEB(Japanese)http://hrn.or.jp
WEB(English) http://hrn.or.jp/eng/