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Four Human Rights Lawyers Barred From Passing The Annual Assessment

Four Human Rights Lawyers Barred From Passing The Annual Assessment

 

The deadline for this year’s “Annual Assessment of Lawyers’ Practice 2011” has just passed at the end of June. Yet, according to information received by the China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group, as of 15 July 2011, at least 4 lawyers still have not received their lawyers’ license stamped for the coming year’s practice. Among them are Liu Xiaoyuan of Beijing Qijian Law Firm (who represented the recently released renowned Beijing artist Ai Weiwei), Li Baiguang of Beijing Gongxin Law Firm, Cheng Hai of Beijing Wutian Law Firm and Li Jinglin of Beijing Haosheng Law Firm. When these lawyers inquired the Beijing Justice Bureau about their licensing issue, they were told that they failed to inform the Justice Bureau for taking up the so-called “sensitive” and “mass” cases. All these lawyers passed the National Judicial Examination and obtained their legal qualifications, it is illogical for the Beijing Justice Bureau to deprive their rights to practice. China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group strongly condemns the groundless and unlawful acts of the Justice Bureau. We demand that the Chinese Government immediately resume these lawyers’ rights to practice and abolish the annual assessment system which has very ambiguous criteria. We hereby call on the international community, in particular the local and overseas legal professions, to raise concern for the issue.

The year by year “Annual Assessment” has become a nightmare for many human rights lawyers. Failing to obtain their licenses before the deadline and facing the intentional delay on licensing, lawyers were left with no choice but to perseveringly negotiate with the officials of the Lawyers’ Management Department of the Justice Bureau. To their dismay, the officials responded in a very rude manner, irritated them with all sorts of unreasonable requirements and refused to provide an explanation and resolution. These adversely affected the daily work of lawyers, many of their cases in progress were forced to be suspended, consequently affecting the rights of those rights defenders they were representing.

 

In recent years, the suppressions on human rights lawyers continue to surge. The “annual assessment and registration” had long been criticized and found problematic. As we found, the series of laws and administrative regulations on law firms and lawyers’ practicing had been amended yearly from 2008 to 2010 (refer to the table below), apparently raising the threshold for the annual assessment and registration on one hand, and restraining human rights lawyers’ activities, depriving their basic rights on the other hand.

There seems a trend that the authority is using the “annual assessment and registration” as a tactic to suppress human rights lawyers. In past few years, a number of human rights lawyers had been barring from passing their “annual assessment and registration” or with their licenses suspended, among those lawyers include Jiang Tianyong, Wen Haibo, Tong Chaoping and Yang Huiwen. We call on the international community to raise concerns about the practicing rights of human rights lawyers, to urge the Chinese government to stop suppressing human rights lawyers, and immediately repeal the annual assessment and registration on law firms and lawyers.

 

While social unrests in mainland China are getting more and more serious, these lawyers, delegated by families of human rights defenders or petitioners affected by illegal land grabs, are in fact fulfilling their professional responsibilities to represent their clients. None of them have violated the laws in China. On the contrary, the judicial authorities are violating the rule of law for depriving the practicing rights of lawyers arbitrarily. “If lawyers had no human rights, would there be rule of law?”

China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group
19 July, 2011

Table 1

 

Implementing Rules for Measures for Managing Law Firms in Beijing Municipality
Department of Promulgation: Beijing Justice Bureau
Date of Promulgation: 22 March, 2011
Date of Implementation: 1 May, 2011

 

Rules for Annual Assessment of Lawyers’ Practice
Department of Promulgation: All China Lawyers’ Association
Date of Implementation: 13 August, 2010
Date of Implementation: 1 January, 2011

 

Measures on Annual Inspection and Assessment on Law Firms
Department of Promulgation: Ministry of Justice
Date of Promulgation: 8 April, 2010
Date of Implementation: 8 April, 2010

 

Beijing Justice Bureau’s Implementing Rules for Measures for Managing Lawyers’ Practice
Department of Promulgation: Beijing Justice Bureau
Date of Promulgation: 1 December, 2009
Date of Implementation: 1 January, 2010

 

Measures for Managing Lawyers’ and Law Firms’ License
Department of Promulgation: Ministry of Justice
Date of Promulgation: 21 September, 2009
Date of Implementation: 21 September, 2009

 

Measures for Managing Lawyers’ Practice
Department of Promulgation: Ministry of Justice
Date of Promulgation:: 18 July, 2009
Date of Implementation: 18 July, 2009

 

Measures for Managing Law Firms
Department of Promulgation: Ministry of Justice
Date of Promulgation:18 July, 2009
Date of Implementation: 18 July, 2009

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