China Lawyers Association Proposes New Rules, Lawyers Request Director´s Resignation
The All China Lawyers Association (ACLA) has echoed
the Chinese Communist Party´s (CCP) suppression of lawyers
by introducing new bar regulations and disciplinary measures
within the association, provoking strong protest from lawyers.
Some lawyers jointly launched an online signatory campaign
calling on Wang Junfeng, director of ACLA, to step down.
On June 17, Chinese media reported that the ACLA
issued draft rules.
The draft indicates that before a case closes,
any lawyer who leaks relevant case information
is likely to receive heavy punishment –
the revocation of their attorney license for one year.
The drafts call for the restriction of lawyers´ freedom
of speech on the Internet.
Article 39 of the draft also details scenarios of lawyers
“improper use” of social networks.
Lawyers believe that the draft rules severely violate
On June 17, lawyers in each city launched
an online signatory petition.
They protested the ACLA´s assisting of the regime´s
suppression of lawyers in the draft regulations.
Thus, they called for the removal of ACLA´s
director Wang Junfeng.
The petition states that the ACLA ignores lawyers´
fundamental role and goes against constitutional law.
Contents have been added to the draft rules regarding the
abuse of lawyers´ rights, citizen rights and political rights.
The ACLA has downgraded itself from lawyers´ protector
to accomplice in the suppression of lawyers´ rights.
Wang Junfeng should be held directly responsible.
Thus members will exercise their rights by writing
to the upper-level to call for the resignation of Wang Junfeng.
Lawyers are also soliciting more support.
Many lawyers responded to the petition letter by saying
that this issue involves the rights of every lawyer.
Lawyers must stand up and speak out.
Nanjing lawyer Zhang Zanning says that the ACLA´s function
is to protect lawyers´ rights, not limit lawyers´ rights.
Thus, the ACLA is not qualified to draft regulations.
Zhang Zanning: “The Constitution and the law state
that citizens have freedom of expression.
It is a basic right of lawyers and citizens.
Our rights to be citizens has been deprived;
it is certainly against human rights and against the law.
It is also against the constitution,
ACLA´s proposed regulations are surely invalid.”
Beijing activist lawyer Liu Weiguo says that the methods
of the draft rules, which aim at lawyers, are illegal.
Liu Weiguo: “If the regulations are approved,
we are defeated.
We more or less fight the vicious public security,
prosecutors and courts empty handed.
Another issue is they now involve public security,
prosecutors and the court in punishing lawyers.
If public security, prosecutors and courts believe a lawyer
has breached the rules, ACLA will punish this lawyer.”
Liu Weiguo says that normally ACLA represents private
rights, which oppose the public authority.
However, the ACLA has now invited public security,
prosecutors and courts to sanction lawyers.
The ACLA is no longer necessary.
Liu Weiguo: “So we requested the removal
of the ACLA director.
We suggested that lawyers elect their director, that lawyers
be given rights to choose ACLA´s managers and staff.
The stance of the current ACLA is wrong.
ACLA should serve lawyers rather than restrict lawyers.”
Zhang Zanning supports the dismissal of the ACLA´s
Zhang said that ACLA has already downgraded itself
to an accomplice in the suppression of upright lawyers.
Zhang Zanning: “ACLA has never been an independent
non-governmental organization. It is semi-official.
Some directors of lawyers´ associations also served
in the Bureau of Justice, Bureau of Law or Ministry of Justice.
It is very abnormal.
I think we requested the dismissal of the director of ACLA,
meanwhile, the Minister of Justice should also be removed.”
Since the beginning of this year, the regime
arbitrarily detained human rights lawyers.
The beating and arrest of lawyers by the Jiansanjiang police,
the large-scale arrest of lawyers on June 4, and the June 17
detention of lawyers who were meeting clients has sparked
discontentment across the legal profession.
On June 11, the state-run Qiushi magazine circulated
an article that not only labeled human rights lawyers
as democrats but also said lawyers, public intellectuals,
and democrats are linked to cult activists and terrorists.
Interview & Edit/Li Yun Post-Production/SunNing