China human rights lawyer disbarred for criticizing government

China human rights lawyer disbarred for criticizing government

Chinese human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiangon announced Wednesday that his license to practice law was revoked by the judicial bureau. The bureau allegedly disbarred [FP report] Pu from practicing law because of a December criminal conviction [JURIST report] associated with using social media to critique the government. The move is criticized as a way to curtail activists from using their positions to critique the government. Such instances are an issue of concern that was detailed in a US State Department study [text, PDF; JURIST report] which stated that, “[i]ndividuals and groups regarded as politically sensitive by authorities faced tight restrictions on their freedom to assemble, practice religion, and travel. Authorities resorted to extralegal measures, such as enforced disappearance and strict house arrest, including house arrest of family members, to prevent public expression of critical opinions.” The Chinese government responded [Xinhua report] with their own report condemning the human rights violations committed in the US.

Chinese lawyer and professor, Chen Taihe, fled China [JURIST report] in March and arrived in San Leandro, California, after he was detained last July as part of a crackdown on rights lawyers. The crackdown culminated in at least 242 people detained or questioned throughout the country. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein expressed concern [JURIST report] in February over China’s recent crackdown on lawyers and activists. In January Chinese authorities arrested [JURIST report] high profile human rights lawyer Wang Yu and her husband on charges of political subversion.