Lawyers must pro­tect im­age

Should not re­sort to il­le­gal means to ad­dress in­jus­tice

Global Times US Edition - - CHINA - By Li Ruo­han

Lawyers should not re­sort to il­le­gal means to ad­dress in­jus­tice and should avoid tar­nish­ing the im­age of Chi­nese lawyers, a lawyer who de­fended many high-pro­file cases said Thurs­day.

“Some lawyers have se­verely dam­aged the im­age of Chi­nese lawyers,” said Chen Youxi, a lawyer from the Jingheng Law Firm in Hangzhou, East China’s Zhe­jiang Province.

Though cases of in­jus­tice ex­ist in China’s ju­di­cial sys­tem, lawyers should never re­sort to il­le­gal means, like in­cit­ing protests, sit-in demon­stra­tions or so­lic­it­ing overseas sup­port. Their ac­tions should al­ways be con­sis­tent with the law, Chen told the Global Times.

He made the re­marks af­ter he de­nied on Thurs­day that govern­ment of­fi­cials had as­signed him to rep­re­sent Wang Quanzhang, a lawyer from the Bei­jing-based Fen­grui Law Firm who has been de­tained. He said he re­ceived a writ­ten re­quest from Wang on July 12, who had sought his help.

Wang’s wife Li Wenzu said in state­ment on Tues­day that Chen was as­signed by “of­fi­cials.” Chen de­nied that he was as­signed by of­fi­cials and he con­sid­ers the claim “slan­der­ous,” in­sist­ing Wang got him in­volved in the case.

But Li’s state­ment soon trig­gered wide dis­cus­sion within Chi­nese le­gal cir­cles, with some de­fend­ing Chen’s right to rep­re­sent Wang, while oth­ers voiced con­cern about lawyers get­ting in­volved in hu­man rights cases.

The Bei­jing News re­ported in July 2015 that Wang and sev­eral other lawyers from the Fen­grui Law Firm, in­clud­ing its chief lawyer Zhou Shifeng, were de­tained for al­legedly or­ga­niz­ing more than 40 il­licit ac­tiv­i­ties dis­rup­tive of so­cial order. The po­lice ac­cused the firm’s lawyers of sen­sa­tion­al­iz­ing cases in the name of safe­guard­ing hu­man rights and jus­tice.

Zhou was con­victed of sub­vert­ing State power and sen­tenced to seven years in jail in Au­gust 2016 by the Sec­ond In­ter­me­di­ate Peo­ple’s Court of Tian­jin, the Xin­hua News Agency re­ported. Po­lice said Wang and oth­ers are still un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Chen said that he met with Wang on July 13 and 14 at a Tian­jin de­ten­tion cen­ter. The Tian­jin No. 2 In­ter­me­di­ate Peo­ple’s Court in­formed him of Wang’s re­quest through the Zhe­jiang Pro­vin­cial Depart­ment of Jus­tice on July 10.

“Wang ap­proved of my de­fense tac­tics dur­ing the meet­ing, such as whether to rec­om­mend a guilty plea,” Chen said. How­ever, Wang did not sign the agree­ment to hire Chen as his lawyer, Chen said.

Chen said he has not been in­volved in the case since Li in­formed him that she had no in­ten­tion to hire other lawyers to rep­re­sent Wang.

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