China: Five years after major crackdown, international community must support to human rights lawyers

July 12, 2020

On 9 july 2020 the International Service of Human Rights came out with a good overview of what has happened to the Chinese lawyers since the crackdown five year ago [see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2015/07/29/the-remarkable-crackdown-on-lawyers-in-china-in-july-2015/]. Human rights lawyers are a cornerstone of China’s human rights movement: they represent victims of abuses, promote compliance with international law, and strive for human rights change inside the system.

In the weeks following 9 July 2015, over 300 Chinese weiquan (‘rights defence’) lawyers and legal activists were harassed, detained and disappeared, in a nationwide police sweep that came to be known as the ‘709 Crackdown’. Five years later, these lawyers and their families still face a range of restrictions and rights violations aimed at silencing their efforts for a more just and rights-compliant society.

Disbarment, secret detention, disappearances, harassment of relatives, stigmatisation: the ‘systematic crackdown on lawyers’ denounced by UN experts has changed in form but not in its scale or scope.

Despite the risks, they strive to uphold the fundamental rights of all Chinese citizens, guaranteed under China’s Constitution and international treaties. They represent the most vulnerable and unjustly accused: those who have been evicted from their land or are victims of police abuse; minorities criminalised for their religious belief or ethnicity; human rights defenders and those expressing opinions different from the official Party line.

Without independent lawyers, there can be no rule of law,’ says Sarah M Brooks, ISHR Asia Advocate.

And when the rule of law is weaponised – as we saw last week with the imposition of the National Security Law in Hong Kong – lawyers are on the front lines of defending rights and freedoms. The least we can do – as individuals and as a global community – is to stand with them.

In a defiant act of reclaiming, 9 July is now recognised by the human rights movement as ‘China Human Rights Lawyers Day’. To highlight this important day, ISHR has produced a bilingual information flyer on the patterns of repression against Chinese human rights lawyers, and action by the international community. The information flyer is available in English and Chinese.
请点击此处下载中文版
For more information, please contact Raphael Viana David at r.vianadavid@ishr.ch or on Twitter at @vdraphael.

See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/tag/china-change/

https://mailchi.mp/ishr/alert-to-the-human-rights-councils-35th-session-32794?e=d1945ebb90

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