Back to openDemocracy Email us Powered by TypePad  
political magazine Help bring democracy to the US
political magazine The New oD Today
political magazine China's modernisation and its discontents
political magazine openDemocracy widget
political magazine Goodbye Habeas Corpus
political magazine Dance the guns to silence?
political magazine Don't be a lawyer in China
political magazine Have we hit the ground yet?
political magazine The strange ways of Falungong
political magazine 2000 dead
political magazine April 2006
political magazine December 2005
political magazine November 2005
political magazine October 2005
political magazine September 2005
political magazine August 2005
political magazine July 2005
political magazine June 2005
political magazine May 2005
political magazine April 2005
My Photo oD Today
A weblog from the editors, staff and friends of openDemocracy.net

« Have we hit the ground yet? | Main | Dance the guns to silence? »

Don't be a lawyer in China

President Hu Jintao's visit to the UK has stimulated a discussion in the British media about whether Britain should stand up to China on questions of human rights and the rule of law , thus risking China's disfavour, or whether it's legitimate to concentrate on expanding economic ties and keeping criticism private. Tony Blair, asked what he would talk about with Hu Jintao, began his list with economic issues. His list never did reach human rights, or China's public desire that the EU arms embargo, imposed after Tiananmen, should be lifted.

Britain holds the EU presidency at present, but all progress on lifting the embargo was halted when China passed the Taiwan Anti-Secession law, giving Beijing the right -- in Chinese law at least -- to use force against Taiwan.  It was a pretty spectacular own goal by Beijing.

Equally ineptly,  just as Hu Jintao is trying to present an image of reason and sophistication in the West -- as president of a rising superpower that fully endorses the rule of law --  back home his security services have been busy -- shutting down legal firms who are brave enough to take legal cases defending  workers and activists.  Gao Zhisheng, for instance, who has defended religious practitioners in China (where religious freedom is supposedly guaranteed by the Constitution) had his firm shut down for a year at the weekend. In March, another lawyer, Guo Guoting was threatened with suspension for publishing an article critical of China's legal system. Guo, in turn, had defended another lawyer Zheng Enchong,  known for his willingness to take cases involving victims of property disputes. Zheng was jailed in 2003. 

Tony Blair and his wife, Cherie Booth are both, of course, lawyers. Perhaps professional solidarity might move them to mention to President Hu that if he really wants to project an image of a country embracing the rule of law, locking up lawyers is not the best way to do it.

November 9, 2005 in openDemocracy | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83454872c69e200d83521b2e453ef

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Don't be a lawyer in China:



Comments

The comments to this entry are closed.

Back to openDemocracy Email us Powered by TypePad