Lawyers Face Revocation of their Licenses for Defending Human Rights

Comments Off on Lawyers Face Revocation of their Licenses for Defending Human Rights

Lawyers Face Revocation of their Licenses for Defending Human Rights

(Chinese Human Rights Defenders – May 25, 2009)—CHRD learned today that law firms employing some of the most vocal human rights lawyers in China have been pressed by the local authorities to “fail” the lawyers in the annual evaluation of their performances. If this happens, as the lawyers fear it will, at least twenty lawyers will not have their licenses to practice law renewed by the judicial authorities when the evaluation concludes on May 31.

The lawyers at risk include: Jiang Tianyong (江天勇), Li Heping (李和平), Li Xiongbing (黎雄兵), Li Chunfu (李春富), Wang Yajun (王雅军), Cheng Hai (程海), Tang Jitian (唐吉田), Yang Huiwen (杨慧文), Xie Yanyi (谢燕益), Li Dunyong (李敦勇), Wen Haibo (温海波), Liu Wei (刘巍), Zhang Lihui (张立辉), Peng Jian (彭剑), Li Jinglin (李静林), Lan Zhixue (兰志学), Zhang Kai (张凯), Liu Xiaoyuan (刘晓原), Wei Liangyue (韦良玥) and Yang Zaixin (杨在新) .

The law firms for which they work are Beijing Globe Law Firm (Gaobo Longhua 高博隆华), An Hui (安汇), Gong Xin (共信), Shun He (舜和), Guo Gang (国纲), Jiu Rui (久瑞), Jia Fa (佳法), Yi Jia (亿嘉) and Qi Jian (旗鉴) in Beijing, Jiao Dian (焦点) in Heilongjiang Province, and Bai Ju Ming (百举鸣) in Guangxi Province.

The lawyers have been able to ascertain that the law firms where they are currently employed have been given directives and warned by their respective judicial and administrative departments and their lawyers associations. Some of the law firms were asked to immediately terminate their contracts with the lawyers. Some were asked to “fail” the lawyers in their annual performance evaluation of the lawyers in order to “coordinate” with the authorities’ plans to cancel or revoke their licenses. The lawyers have also reported that while their colleagues have been asked by their firms to fill in the required paperwork to process the the license renewal application, they have not been approached.

“These human rights lawyers are at risk of being punished for taking ‘sensitive’ human rights cases and for pressing for direct election of the leadership of the government-controlled Beijing Lawyers Association. Human rights lawyers are facing this retributive measure as part of efforts by the authorities to tighten control over dissent as the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre approaches,” said Wang Songlian, CHRD’s research coordinator.

In May 2008, the Beijing Bureau of Judicial Affairs threatened to suspend the renewal of the licenses of a number of Beijing lawyers to punish them for extending legal aid to arrested Tibetans following the protests in the Tibetan areas. Although the lawyers’ licenses were eventually renewed after the authorities threatened and intimidated them, some of the renewals were delayed by a month and one lawyer, Teng Biao (滕彪), had his license revoked. The Beijing Bureau of Judicial Affairs claimed that one of Teng’s employers, China University of Political Science and Law, preferred that Teng not work as a part-time lawyer.

Human rights lawyers in China appear to be facing an increasingly hostile and intimidating environment in 2009. CHRD has documented the following cases since February:

On May 13, Beijing lawyers, Zhang Kai (张凯) and Li Chunfu (李春富),went to Chongqing to meet the family of Jiang Xiqing (江锡清), a Re-education-through-Labor detainee who died in detention. A group of more than 20 officers, including some from the National Security Unit under the Jiangjin Public Security Bureau, arrived at the family’s home, demanding that Zhang and Li produce their identification cards (shenfenzheng). When the lawyers, who were carrying their lawyers’ licenses and passports, were unable to produce their personal IDs, the officers surrounded them, threw the pair to the ground, and beat and kicked them before leading them away in handcuffs. Zhang and Li were taken to a nearby police station, where Zhang was locked in an iron cage with his hands cuffed behind his back to the cage. Li was cuffed to a concrete slab in another room. The two were beaten again and interrogated. The police warned Zhang and Li against handling the case of Jiang Xiqing and released them shortly after midnight.

On April 13, Beijing lawyer, Cheng Hai (程海), was attacked and beaten while on his way to meet a client in Chengdu. Cheng represents Tao Yuan (陶渊), a former Beijing Normal University graduate student and Falun Gong practitioner imprisoned for “publicizing an evil cult” who is applying for release on bail for medical treatment. Cheng was on his way to meet Tao’s mother, Zhang Chengrong (张盛荣), who lives in Wuhou District, when four or five men who had been monitoring and following Cheng encircled him and began striking him, pushed him to the ground and kicked him. According to Cheng, those responsible for the attack were officials from the Jinyang General Management Office, Wuhou District, Chengdu.

On April 10, Yang Zaixin (杨再新), a Guangxi lawyer, was attacked and beaten in Hepu County, Guangxi, after being lured into a trap over the phone by a person posing as a potential client. When Yang arrived at the agreed-upon time and place, he was surrounded by five men and beaten for more than 10 minutes, at which point onlookers took Yang to a nearby hospital. While the identities of the attackers are unknown, Yang believes he was targeted in retaliation for his work representing farmers from Hepu County in a recent land dispute between the farmers and the Qinlian tree farm, a state-owned enterprise.

On the evening of February 28, Li Baiguang (李柏光), Beijing lawyer and constitutional law expert, was struck by a motorcyclist shortly after leaving the West Gate of Beijing University. The man, who bystanders reported as having an accent identifying him as being from Yunnan or Guizhou Province, stopped briefly as a crowd gathered and acted concerned, then slipped away in the ensuing confusion. Li, who was injured in the collision, remained on the ground for several minutes before he was able to get up and continue home. Li, who is acting as a lawyer for villagers resisting forced land appropriation by a mining company in Yunnan Province, was visited that evening by police from Beijing and Yunnan, who questioned him for more than one hour and warned him against involving himself with any “Yunnan affairs” in the future.

On February 17, 2009, Beijing’s Yitong Law Firm (北京忆通律师事务所) was notified that it would be forced to close for six months for “re-organization” by the Beijing Haidian District Bureau of Justice. Although the authorities cited the reason for the punishment as the firm’s “facilitation of the illegal work of an individual in providing legal services without having obtained a professional lawyer’s license”, lawyers at the firm believe the move is in retaliation for Yitong Law Firm lawyers advocating direct elections of the leadership of the Beijing Lawyers’ Association in 2008.

For more information, please see:

<Human Rights Lawyers in China Face Persecution on the Eve of June Fourth <“六四前夕中国维权律师遭全面打压 >” published by a group of human rights lawyers, May 24, 2009,

Media contacts for this press release:

Renee Xia, International Director (English and Mandarin): +13015479286Wang Songlian, Research Coordinator and English Editor (English, Mandarin and Cantonese): +85281911660

  • Back to Top