Stop Harassing Lawyers, Uphold the Rule of Law
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Worldwide Signature Campaign for Human Rights Lawyers in Mainland China
We are a group of lawyers in Hong Kong who are deeply concerned with the massive nation-wide arrest, detention and disappearance of human rights lawyers in Mainland China.
According to reports, from 10 July 2015 and up till the evening of 14 July 2015, about 102 lawyers, together with 36 human rights activists, from 18 provinces and Beijing have been apprehended, or secretly taken away, or detained by the police and/or their agents.
A well-known human rights lawyer Wang Yu (王宇) and her husband Bao Longjun (包龍軍) and their son were taken away in the early hours of 10 July and their home was broken into by unidentified persons, believed to be around 30 to 40 in number.
Madam Wang Yue's Beijing Fengrui Law Firm (北京鋒銳律師事務所) was broken into and ransacked. The computers and files were all taken away. This is a serious violation of the rights of their clients and legal professional privilege. The head of Fengrui Law Firm Zhou Shifeng (周世鋒), the other lawyers of the same firm Wang Quanzhang (王全璋), Wang Liqun (黃力群) and two legal executives, have all been detained. Enclosed is a link from Hong Kong Cable News of 13 July 2015 of the raid. http://cablenews.i-cable.com/webapps/news_video/index.php?news_id=462052
Two other Beijing law firms to which two prominent human rights lawyers Li Heping (李和平) and Li Jinxing (李金星) are attached have also been raided.
Of the hundred odd lawyers taken away or summoned by the police for interrogation, about 91 have been released as at the late hours on 14 July 2015, some have been threatened also to have their children and parents arrested. Amongst those detained, Mr. Sui Muqing (隋牧青), from Guangzhou, and Xie Yang (謝陽) from Hunan, have been charged with inciting subversion of state sovereignty. We continue to feel deeply concerned about those whose whereabouts remain unknown.
We understand allegations of unlawful conduct may be made against some of the above lawyers. The factual and legal validity of such charges will, if they are disputed, have to be tried in a fair and open judicial process. However, lawyers, wherever they practise, are duty bound to defend the interests of their clients without fear and according to the law. In particular, in any properly developed and civilized legal system, it is essential that lawyers should be able to take on causes of clients that are unwelcome to the powers that be. Whether the causes of those clients are well founded should be tested by a fair, open and credible legal process, and not by arbitrary and brutal targeting of the lawyers who are simply performing their duties. It would be unfortunate and regrettable if the conduct of lawyers who fearlessly represent the causes of their clients (who may be at odds with the State) can be readily interpreted or characterized as criminal in nature. This will have an obvious chilling effect on lawyers’ proper discharge of their duties.
Only when lawyers’ professional duty and rights are respected can the rule of law as understood in the civilized world take root in Mainland China.
We denounce intimidating harassment against fellow lawyers. And we call upon the Mainland Chinese Government:
1) To respect the constitutional rights of all the detained lawyers and their clients;
2) To inform their families of their whereabouts, and permit immediate access to their legal representatives;
3) To stop any unlawful or arbitrary conduct against the lawyers' offices or the lawyers and others related to them; and
4) To ensure that justice is seen to be done, and any charges against the lawyers and persons related to them are properly tried by a judicial process that is open, fair and transparent.
(A) Former Chairmen of the Hong Kong Bar Association
Martin Lee SC (1980 – 1983)
Denis Chang SC (1985 – 1988)
Jacqueline Leong SC (1992 – 1994)
Ronny Wong SC (1994 – 1995)
Gladys Li SC (1995 – 1997)
Audrey Eu SC (1997 – 1999)
Ronny Tong SC (1999 – 2001)
Alan Leong SC (2001 – 2003)
Edward Chan SC (2003 – 2005)
Philip Dykes SC (2005 – 2007)
Russell Coleman SC (2009 – 2011)
Kumar Ramanathan SC (2011 – 2013)
Paul Shieh SC (2013 – 2015)
(B) Legislators of the Legal Functional Constituency
Martin Lee SC* (1985 – 1991)
Margaret Ng (1995 to 2012)
Dennis Kwok (2012 to present)
(C) All current 30 members of the Legal Subsector of the Election Committee for the Chief Executive 2011-2016
Edward Chan SC*
Cheng Shui Tai
Cheung Yiu Leung
Philip Dykes SC*
Graham Harris SC
Dennis Kwok o
Lam Kin Man
Hectar Pun SC
Sin Ping Ho
* Also former Chairman of the Bar
o Also Legislator
(10.7.2015) 101 China Lawyers Statement Concerning Lawyer Wang Yu’ Disappearance
(10.7.2015) China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group Calls Urgent Attention to The Disappearance of rights lawyer Ms. Wang Yu and her family And the subsequent disappearances of her colleagues
(10.7.2015) Statement of US Congressman Chris Smith: The detentions come only two weeks after the end of the U.S.-China Strategic & Economic Dialogue and set an ugly tone for President Xi’s U.S. visit in September.
(13.7.2015) The Guardian - China targets lawyers in new human rights crackdown. A protest outside the Chinese consulate in San Francisco against the detention of lawyers and human rights activists, who have been denounced as a ‘criminal gang’ in state media
(14.7.2015) 《環球時報》- 拘留滋事律師，美國反應可以藐視
(14.7.2015) 中國大陸王全平律師- 捐款10萬元，成立「7.10義辯律師服務團」
(14.7.2015) Human Rights Watch researcher Maya Wang: the human rights lawyers had helped build a civil society in China over the past decade to hold authorities accountable, and that the crackdown was part of a "methodological dismantling" of that civil society since Chinese President Xi Jinping came to power.
(14.7.2015) 《蘋果日報》社評- 中共在恐懼中催生反對派領袖
(15.7.2015) 《新華網》- 依法打擊極少數違法律師是為了創造更好執業環境
(16.7.2015) 法律界選委就中國律師被大規模拘捕、羈留及失蹤的聯署聲明 Statement by the Legal ECs in relation to the mass arrest, detention and disappearance of lawyers in China
(17.7.2015) Law Council of Australia deeply concerned with ‘crackdown’
against lawyers in China
(21.7.2015) China cracks down on "criminal" human rights lawyers
News Coverage of this Campaign
(18/7/2015) 蘋果日報- 港13名前任大律師公會主席發起 全球聯署聲援被捕維權律師
(18/7/2015) 博訊 - 港13名前任大律师公会主席全球联署声援维权律师
(18/7/2015)信報網站 -法律界歷代巨頭 聲援維權律師
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