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【Forward】Chinese Citizens’ Proposition to Monitor -- Demanding the dismissal of Zhang Jun, Minister of Justice

Chinese Citizens’ Proposition to Monitor
-----Demanding the dismissal of Zhang Jun, Minister of Justice

8 March 2018

To all representatives of the 13th National People’s Congress,

As the Congress convenes for the first time under the current office term, and upon our aspirations for the building of a civilized nation with rule of law, with our apprehension towards the damages made for many years on our lawyering system and our foundation of rule of law by the Ministry of Justice, we solemnly submit to you, members of the Congress, the following request, made also upon our anxiety that as Chinese citizens, we might one day become parties in need of lawyers but could no longer find anyone genuinely responsible:

-- Remove Zhang Jun from his duties as the Minister of Justice

Our reasons are as follows:

I. He follows the draconian laws and has stayed impenitent about the encroachment on the Constitution and the law
Ever since Wu Aiying took charge of the Ministry of Justice, she forced through the making of 5 departmental regulations that seriously infringe the Constitution and the laws and has persistently and extensively jeopardised the proper implementation of the law. The respective regulations are:

(1) Measures on the Administration of Law Firms (revised 2016, Order of the Ministry of Justice No.133);

(2) Measures on the Administration of the Lawyers Practice (revised 2016, Order of the Ministry of Justice No.134);

(3) Measures for the Annual Inspection and Evaluation of Law Firms (2010, Order of the Ministry of Justice No.121)

(4) Measures for the Administration of the Practise Licence of Lawyers and Law Firms, article 12 (2009, Order of the Ministry of Justice No.119);

(5) Articles 19 & 31, Measures for Punishing the Illegal Acts of Lawyers and Law Firms (2010; Order of the Ministry of Justice No. 122)

The above regulations and articles contravene with the Constitution and the law. They strictly restrain lawyers’ freedom of speech and their rights to comment on, and make recommendations for, state organs and their workers. They arbitrarily added for the lawyers and law firms obligations that are beyond the law. The All China Lawyers Association and the administrative departments of the judiciary at the provincial level across the country have gone further to issue normative documents that dictate the approval and reporting mechanism for lawyers who take up “mass cases” and “grave and sensitive” cases.

They have also made the payment of the membership fees to lawyers associations and the handling of sensitive and mass cases part of the indictors for annual inspection and evaluation. There has been no attempt to hide how power can be abused for self-interest. The payment of membership fees for the lawyers association is hooked up with the annual inspection system for recognition and “legitimacy. All these have become the authority’s ultimate weapons to control and repress the “unaccommodating” lawyers and law firms.

The regulatory rules above-noted have seriously violated not only the national laws. They also seriously contravene the norms set forth in the human rights doctrines such as the UN Basic Principles on the Roles of Lawyers. (See “Chinese Citizens’ Submission to dismiss Wu Aiying, Minister of Justice – Wu is suspicious of committing the crime of malfeasances, 罢免吴爱英司法部长职务公民监督建议书Chinese only)

Since he took up the position as the Minister of Justice in 2017, Zhang Jun has not been able to get rid of or repeal the unconstitutional and unlawful regulations, normative doctrines as well as those that breach the State Council’s administrative regulations, all issued within the 12 years when Wu was in charge of the Ministry of Justice. Instead of weeding the harms that Wu left on the lawyering system, Zhang has remained impenitent with no regard for public opinion. He daringly contravenes the Constitution and the laws in the pursuance of those regulations.

II. He abuses his position and power to intensify the repression on rights lawyers

As the Minister of Justice, Zhang Jun has no reverence for the Constitution and the laws nor has he any compassion for lawyers. Conceited and arrogant, he constantly instigated suppression that goes beyond the legal boundary.

(1) When the Li Zhuang case of fabricated evidence was exposed in early 2009, amidst the Anti-Triad Campaigns in Chongqing, any legal professional who paid attention was able to see the flaws in the case. However, instead of examining the legal black holes therein, Zhang Jun embellished the campaign in his role as then deputy president of the Supreme Court. In a seminar on Criminal Trials convened in Chongqing on 10 May 2011 for judges across the country, Zhang extended his fulsome praises for Bo Xilai’s campaign of “Sing Red, Attack Black/ Triad”.

(2) The “Little River case” is well-known in the legal community. The attack on lawyers’ “disruption of court order” has also its origin from Zhang Jun. Clashes in court trial have existed for long. The Housemaid case in Hangzhou became a classic example when its lawyer Dang Linshan decided to withdraw from the court trail as a protest. When Zhang Jun was in charge of drafting the Supreme Court’s Judicial Explanations, he attempted to have the rules set for lawyers “disrupting court order” to be penalised by one-year suspension of practice. He did not succeed as a result of the strong objection to his self-assumed power to penalise.

(3) Since the second half of 2017 in particular, Zhang has adopted campaign-style tactics to persecute the lawyers disregarding the Constitution and the laws. Under the concerted manoeuvres of Zhang, the judicial administrative organs and the lawyers associations at various levels have been waving their big stick. They enforce meetings with lawyers, issue intimidation, secret inquiry, file cases against them and exert penalties. Within the span of about 6 months, more than a dozen of lawyers who had been out-spoken and well-respected in the profession were investigated, punished and pestered on completely unsubstantiated grounds and to the extent that they could no longer practise. Several law firms and some other lawyers have also encountered different kinds of harassments, retaliation, enforced rectification and licence cancellation.

Including but not limiting to the following lawyers and those who wish to apply for a practice certificate are:

(1) Lawyers Zhu Shengwu and Wu Youshui, respectively from Shandong and Zhejiang have had their lawyer licences revoked or suspended simply because they had exercised their freedom of speech, by posting on weibo criticisms that were meant to monitor state organs and their staff members.

(2) Similarly, when lawyers Li Jinxing from Shandong, Sui Muqing and Dang Linshan from Guangdong, Wen Donghai and Yang Jinzhu from Hunan strived to resist the court’s aggression while handling the so-called “sensitive cases”, they all were smeared or penalised by having their licences revoked or investigations filed against them on the pretext that they had disrupted court order.

(3) Lawyers Wang Liqian and Wang Longde from Yunan as well as Peng Yonghe from Shanghai had previously announced their withdrawal from all level of lawyers associations. Both Wang Liqian and Wang Longde have had their licences revoked as a result. As for Peng Yonghe, he was firstly dismissed by his law firm and subsequently encountered a lot of hassles in his various attempts to find a new firm. He still cannot practise up to this date.

(4) As a result of their involvement in the case of Wang Quanzhang, and their submissions to the authorities calling on good governance, Beijing lawyers Yu Wensheng and Cheng Hai were both taken revenged of, either with the lawyer’s or the law firm’s licence forcefully cancelled.

(5) In Guangzhou, Shi Ping fails to obtain a licence for trainee lawyer because the investigation which the public security departments have launched against him but on a groundless accusation is said to be unfinished.

In all fairness, the lawyers named here above might look radical in a country where genuine rule of law reigns. But in where human rights cases are frequent and access to justice is rare, what they did and said have neatly demonstrated that they are truly responsible lawyers. In the current times, these lawyers can never be too many. They are rare.

That the judicial administrative departments have been blatant in revenging and framing the lawyers with law-breaking tactics throughout the whole campaign-style repression, covering the stages of case filing, investigation, public hearing and the decision-making for a penalty, is particularly excruciating.

Shi Ping, Wang Liqian, Peng Yonghe, Chen Jiahong and Zhu Shengwu took reference of their own experiences and on 1 March 2018, they sent to the attention of Zhang Jun an open letter entitled “Stop the Campaign-Style Repression on Lawyers”. Therein elucidated were the dangers and violations involved in such manoeuvres for persecution. 《请终止对律师的运动式打压》 (Chinese only)

III. It is necessary to subscribe to the rule of law and remove the potential threat for justice

Article 41 of our Constitution stipulates that “Citizens have the right to criticize and make suggestions regarding any State organ or functionary. Citizens have the right to make to relevant State organs complaints or charges against, or exposures of, any State organ or functionary for violation of law or dereliction of duty” and in article 5, that “All acts in violation of the Constitution or other laws must be investigated. No organization or individual is privileged to be beyond the Constitution or other laws.”

We believe that in where rule in accordance to the law is promoted by the State, Zhang Jun should have known well the need for him to be a role model to abide by the Constitution and the law. He however has obstinately continued to implement those unconstitutional and unlawful rules and regulations which target the lawyers and were issued by Wu Aiying. He has also instigated the campaign-style persecution against the lawyers, and has thereby, seriously undermined the authority of the Constitution and the law. While made on the pretext of protecting the “rule of law”, the strikes on lawyers are in fact functioning to unscrupulously ruin it. The results will be detrimental not only to the development of the lawyers’ profession but also to the rights of the citizens. Zhang’s maneouvres have instigated the expansion of reckless power, evoked the evil ethos of the Cultural Revolution and paved the path for the turbulent times to loom.

Basing on the above and pursuant to articles 63, 67 of the Constitution and article 80 of the Law on Legislation, we hereby submit to all members of the Congress our proposition for the dismissal aforesaid.

For co-signatures, please write to: [email protected]

Co-signatories as of 8 March 2018 (1st batch)

1. Wang Liqian, Kunming ,Yunan 138 0872 1160 (王理乾 云南 昆明)
2. Shi Ping, Guangzhou, Guangdong 135 9807 0847 (施平 广东广州)
3. Ji Yuan, Hengyang, Hunan 137 8938 8964 (姬原 湖南衡阳)
4. Bao Longjun Inner Mongolia 186 9807 1701 (包龙军 内蒙古)
5. Sui Muqing Guangzhou 137 1112 4956 (隋牧青 广州)
6. Cui Fangzhen, Shenyang Liaoning 133 7282 3681 (崔方振 辽宁沈阳)
7. Zeng Rongkang, Chengdu 139 8091 6982 (曾荣康 成都)
8. Chi Shengyan, Enshi, Wubei 134 7726 3397 (池盛言 湖北恩施)
9. Guo Dasheng, Zhuzhou Hunan 189 7332 9558 (郭大圣 湖南株洲)
10. Li Songyang, Henan 132 9096 2668 (李松阳 河南)

11. Xu Peiling, Shanghai 181 2143 9381 (徐佩玲 上海)
12. Zheng Peipei, Shanghai 021 5396 3826 (郑培培 上海)
13. Tan Lanying, Shanghai citizen 189 6433 3123 (谈兰英 上海公民)
14. Wang Baomei , Shanghai citizen 131 6257 0786 (王宝妹 上海公民)
15. Qiu Bei, Shanghai 186 1634 9160 (邱蓓 上海)
16. Chen Chongjin, Fuzhou, Fujian 132 0591 1080 (陈崇金 福建福州)
17. Luo Kaiwen, Sichuan 152 2883 3438 (罗开文 四川)
18. Li Tinghui, Sichuan 139 8042 8916 (李廷惠 四川)
19. Zhang Zuocheng, Sichuan 137 3038 1951 (张作成 四川)
20. Xiong Kejin, Sichuan 158 2826 7056 (熊克金 四川)

21. Deng Pinfang, Sichuan 158 8455 4531 (邓品芳 四川)
22. Wei Xiaobing, Sichuan 138 2894 2488 (卫小兵 四川)
23. Zhang Jian, Shanghai 135 8553 4913 (张建 上海)
24. Xiao Fuping, Hunan 155 7430 1202 (萧伏平 湖南)
25. Wu Suyun, Sichuan 130 9446 4989 (武素云 四川)
26. Peng Tianhui, Sichuan 136 4802 7163 (彭天惠 四川)
27. Yuan Xiangrong, Sichuan 159 8283 0513 (袁香蓉 四川)
28. Wu Guohua , Sichuan 136 0805 9264 (吴国华 四川)
29. Li Li, Sichuan 187 8359 6672 (李 励 四川)
30. Sun Jiang, Hunan 133 1951 9025 (孙 强 湖南)
31. He Dezhong, Sichuan (贺德忠 四川)
32. Chen Guang, Fujian 136 9686 6639 (陈光 福建)
33. Wu Zhigang, Shanxi 139 9486 8964 (武志刚 山西)
34. Huang Wenzhong, Fujian 138 0857 7770 (黄文忠 福建)
35. Cao Huping, Jiangsu 138 0908 6548 (曹胡萍 江苏)
36. Xu Qinghua, Jiangsu 139 0512 8288 (徐庆华 江苏)
37. Wang Zhigang, Hebei 131 7197 8996 (王志刚 河北)
38. Zhuang Lei, Fuzhou Fujian 131 0768 6333 (庄磊 福建福州)
39. Liang Baiduan, Fuzhou Fujian 134 8991 8432 (粱白端 福建福州)
40. Zhang Lifang, Ningde Fujian 188 0500 2636 (张丽芳 福建宁德)

41. He Zongwan, Fuqing Fujian 189 6080 9453 (何宗旺 福建福清)
42. Xie Xiaozhen, Fuzhou Fujian 137 9991 7031 (谢小珍 福建福州)
43. Lin Yingjiang, Fuzhou Fujian 187 5918 4806 (林应强 福建福州)
44. Liu Xinglian, Chinese citizen, Hainan 131 7898 5270 (中国公民 刘兴联 海南)
45. Tong Wenjie, citizen Changde Hunan 135 7590 4952 (童文杰 湖南公民 常德)
46. Ma Yongtao, Chinese citizen, Hebei 316 8617 9556 (中国公民 马永涛 河北)
47. Chen Jianfang, citizen Shanghai 150 2651 6445 (中国上海公民 陈建芳)
48. Xie Wenkai, Tongchuan Shannxi 139 9294 2382 (谢文凯 陕西铜川)
49. Zhang Yongning, Chinese citizen 138 9518 6790 (中国公民 张永宁)
50. Zhang Jiarui, Chinese citizen in San Francisco USA
+1 62 6541 5832 (中国公民 张家瑞,美国旧金山)

51. Guo Run Zhai , Henan 137 8254 4225 (郭润斋 河南)
52. Cheng Hai, lawyer, Beijing 189 1053 5236 (程海 北京律师)
53. Zou Lihui, lawyer, Fujian 133 3828 3186 (邹丽惠 福建律师)
54. Peng Yonghe, lawyer, Shanghai 138 1635 3773 (彭永和 上海律师)
55. Chang Boyang, lawyer, Henan 188 3718 3338 (常伯阳 河南律师)
56. Yang Qiuhong, citizen, Guangxi (杨秋红 广西公民)
57. Lu Caixin, citizen, Guangxi (陆彩新 广西公民)
58. Lu Caihua, citizen, Guangxi (陆彩华 广西公民)
59. Qing Meilan, citizen, Guangxi (覃梅兰 广西公民)
60. Huang cuihua, citizen,Guangxi (黄翠花 广西公民)

61. Huang Qinghong, citizen, Guangxi (黄庆洪 广西公民)
62. Wei Limin, citizen, Guangxi (韦丽民 广西公民)
63. Wei Jinde, citizen, Guangxi (韦锦德 广西公民)
64. Huang Shiqi, citizen, Guangxi (黄十七 广西公民)
65. Meng Jinde, Guangxi (蒙金德 广西公民)
66. Yue San, Henan 158 0382 4158 (岳三 河南)
67. Hou Shuai, Henan 156 1761 3690 (侯帅 河南)
68. Xu Yan, wife of Yu Wensheng, Beijing (许艳 北京, 余文生律师夫人)
69. Zhong Jinhua, lawyer, Shanghai (钟锦化 上海律师)
70. Cheng Weishan, Xuzhou Jiangsu (程为善 江苏徐州)
71. Tang Jitian, Beijing (唐吉田 北京)