A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

Lawyers urge China court to explain detention of Falun Gong defender

A group of prominent Chinese lawyers signed a letter on Friday calling on the Jinjiang People's Court [official website] to explain why it detained a lawyer who defended the Falun Gong [group website; BBC backgrounder], which is banned in China. An online statement from the court said that Wang Quanzhang [Human Rights in China backgrounder], a lawyer representing Falun Gong practictioner Zhu Yanian, had been detained for violating a court order [AP report] but did not provide further details. Li Fangping [CDT backgrounder], one of the lawyers who signed the letter, said the court's decision has created a climate of fear in China's legal community. Three years ago, China disbarred two lawyers [JURIST report] for defending Fulan Gong members.

China has come under international scrutiny recently regarding its human rights record. Last week police in China arrested and detained [JURIST report] the brother-in-law of Nobel Peace Prize winner and democracy activist Liu Xiaobo [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], which may have been retaliation for allegedly subversive activities by the Liu family against the Chinese government. In January China's Communist Party Politics and Law Committee head Meng Jianzhu [China Vitae backgrounder] notified Chinese media sources of the nation's plan to end its 56 year-old "re-education through labor" program [JURIST report], which authorizes government entities to legally detain citizens for as long as four years without trial. In December China adopted new rules which impose new restrictions [JURIST report] on the country's Internet Service Providers and individual users. In November UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile; JURIST news archive] called on China to remedy long-held frustrations in Tibet [JURIST report] that have led to extreme protest tactics, including self-immolation.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.