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Joint Letter Regarding the Revocation of Lawyer Li Jinxing’s License

China human rights lawyer Li Jinxing received a notice from the Shandong Provincial Department of Justice on 22 July 2019 regarding the administrative penalty of revocation of his license due to his posts on social media platform Weibo. His posts were allegedly inappropriate, slandering the Justice Bureau and provoking discontentment against the Party. On 6 August 2019, Li’s hearing took place at the Shandong Lawyers Association. Later in the evening, the decision was passed down that the practice certificate be officially revoked.

 

Regarding the Chinese government’s administrative measures taken against lawyers in recent years, we request the following:

 

1.          To stop using Lawyers Law of the People's Republic of China (the Lawyers’ Law), the Administrative Measures for the Practice of Law by Lawyers and the Administrative Measures for Law Firms to assert administrative pressure on lawyers as a means of deterring lawyers from acting for clients who are being prosecuted by the Chinese Government;

2.          To revoke administrative measures taken against lawyers that have been issued and improperly interfere with lawyers’ legitimate professional functions;

3.          To guarantee that lawyers will not experience threats and obstruction from the State while carrying out their professional duties, and that their representations on behalf of clients not be used against them for prosecution or administrative penalty; and

4.          To immediately stop all forms of harassment, threats and assaults on human rights lawyers and their law firms.

 

[Who is Li Jinxing?]

 

Li Jinxing is a renowned lawyer specialising in criminal cases in China, and have always fought to overturn wrongful convictions, such as for the Nie Shubin homicide case and the case of the explosion at the Fuqing City Discipline Inspection Commission in Fujian Province. In 2013, he was expelled from the Court by the judge; after allegedly speaking out of turn while defending human rights defender Guo Feixiong in 2014, he was penalised to one year of suspension in 2016. In 2018, he took on the politically sensitive case of former chairman of Anbang Insurance Group Wu Xiaohui, but was repeatedly refused his right to meet with his client.

 

 

[The Hearing and Decision Regarding the Revocation of Li Guangxing’s License]

 

Lawyer Li’s hearing took place on 6 August 2019, and lasted four hours, during which human rights defenders including the wives of 709 lawyer Wang Quanzhang and human rights lawyer Yu Wensheng, Li Wenzu and Xu Yan, were banned from entering the Court to observe the hearing. Within the Court, there were only 20-odd observers invited by the State. Human rights activist Li Ning and Lawyer Wen Donghai were supposed to act as witnesses, but were also denied access into the Court. The lawyers defending Lawyer Li, Lawyer Zhou Ze and Tsinghua University law professor He Dongbo, presented the argument that Lawyer Li’s expression on Weibo was simply an exercise of his freedom of expression and civil right to monitor the government.

 

In the evening of 6 August, the Shandong Provincial Department of Justice delivered the judgment that Lawyer Li Jinxing’s posts on Weibo were against the Lawyers Law and the Administrative Measures for the Practice of Law by Lawyers[1]. Due to the suspension of his license for already a year by the Justice Bureau of Jinan on 28 December 2016, according to the Lawyers Law, the Department has decided to revoke Lawyer Li’s license to practise.

 

 

[Administrative Penalties Against Chinese Human Rights Lawyers]

 

Every year, lawyers and law firms in China have to go through annual reviews to renew their licenses. It is very common for lawyers and law firms which take on politically sensitive cases to have their licenses revoked or invalidated. The Lawyers Law, the Administrative Measures for the Practice of Law by Lawyers and the Administrative Measures for Law Firms are commonly used to crack down on human rights lawyers, legal professionals and law firms.

 

Since 2017, more than 31 human rights lawyers and law firms have had their licenses revoked, invalidated or suspended.

 

 

Initiators:

China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group 中國維權律師關注組

Taiwan Support China Human Rights Lawyers Network 臺灣聲援中國人權律師網絡

 

Signatories:

Arthur Moses SC, President of the Law Council of Australia 澳洲律師委員會主席

Avocats.Be, l’ordre des Barreaux Francophones et Germanophone de Belgique Avocats/ Association of Francophone and German-speaking Bars of Belgium Lawyers比利時法語及德語系律師協會

Eva Pils, Professor of Law, King’s College London

Faculty of Advocates 蘇格蘭出庭律師協會

Human Rights Committee of the Taipei Bar Association 台北律師公會人權委員會

International Association of People's Lawyers (IAPL) 國際律師聯盟

IAPL Australia Branch 國際律師聯盟澳洲支部

International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute 國際律師協會人權研究所

Joseph A. Bosco, Esq., Department of Defense (retired)

Judicial Reform Foundation 民間司法改革基金會

Law Society of England & Wales 英格蘭及威爾斯律師會

Lawyers Rights Watch Canada 加拿大律師權利觀察

Martin S. Flaherty, Visiting Professor, Princeton University

Ordre des Avocats De Genève 日内瓦律師協會

Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty 台灣廢除死刑推動聯盟

Taiwan Innocence Project 台灣冤獄平反協會

 

14th August 2019

 

Appendix: A List of Human Rights Lawyers who are Administratively Penalized by the Government from September 2017 to July 2019 (As of 12 August 2019)


[1] Lawyers Law of the People’s Republic of China Article 29 1(1) and the Administrative Measures for the Practice of Law by Lawyers Article 40

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