Chinese Lawyers Echo NYT Report
Overseas media recently reported on the difficulties
to work as a criminal lawyer in China.
NTD reporters took a few phone interviews
with Chinese criminal lawyers who might be
at a risk of becoming the next Li Zhuang.
How are such Chinese lawyers being treated?
New York Times reported on May 6 the 3 difficulties
a Chinese criminal lawyer has, i.e., meeting litigants,
collecting evidences and checking existing evidences.
Now there is a fourth: being a criminal lawyer.
New issues were raised after the Li Zhuang’s case,
such as lawyers’ immunity in evidence collection.
Former Beijing criminal lawyer Li Zhuang
was convicted by Chongqing authorities
to 18 months imprisonment for
“inducing witnesses to perjure by eye blinking.”
According to China’s Criminal Code, article 306,
in criminal lawsuits, defenders/legal representatives
shall be sentenced up to 3-year in prison
if they are found to destroy, forge evidence
or help a litigant do so, or intimidate
or induce the litigant to change testimony.
Guangxi rights lawyer Yang Zaixin was attacked
for defending rights activists, Falun Gong
practitioners and victims of forced demolition.
He was a defense counsel of a criminal case last year.
He said that he videotaped the whole process
in his research with the witnesses. In the court later,
in front of the prosecutor, the victim and the judge,
the witness said exactly the same as
what he found in the research.
A few months ago the witness was arrested by police,
and his family was questioned. A short while ago,
Guangxi police said that Yang Zaixin was wanted
for providing false evidence.
Yang Zaixin: “It is now happening to me.
I have now prepared the clothes, tooth brushes, etc.
In case I am jailed. I carry them with me. I have
to face such persecution, endure the hardship.”
Yang Zaixin has soon handed in all of his evidences
or videos to his law firm and asked fellow lawyers
to try rescue him in case he got arrested.
Yang Zaixin: “It’s terrifying, it is hard for the court
to carry out an unbiased trial because to be unbiased
both prosecutors and defenders need to present
evidences to the table and the judge can then rule
accordingly. But now lawyers are often arrested,
especially rights lawyers, for gathering evidences.”
Yang Zaixin noted that if lawyers themselves were
afraid of collecting evidences to benefit the litigant,
the interests of all Chinese people would suffer.
Yang: “We believe what the authorities did was
in the interests of some individuals or a small group,
but it has destroyed Chinese lawyers’
sense of justice and responsibility.
Ruining China’s lawyer system equates to
ruining its legal system,
and so are the overall interests of Chinese people.”
Hundreds of lawyers have been imprisoned
in China for the so-called “perjury" since 1997.
Criminal lawyer Tian Wenchang said that currently
being a lawyer in China is the hardest thing to do,
harder than at any time in Chinese history,
or in any country in the world.
NTD reporters Zhao Xinzhi and Xiao Yu