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28 April 2017 at 00:32 BST

Chinese ministries move to protect lawyers' rights

Following a number of violations of lawyers' legal rights which have garnered global scrutiny, Chinese authorities are to establish mechanisms to respond quickly to cases that harm solicitors' professional rights.

Sean Pavone

The announcement came from Ministry of Justice. Now, the All China Lawyers Association and 10 government authorities, including judicial organs and the ministries of foreign affairs, finance and commerce, have set up a joint conference to co-operate and handle with such cases. 

Increased co-operation

In addition, all provinces and regions will set up a similar mechanism before the end of June, Liu Fuchen, spokesman for the Ministry of Justice, said at a news conference on April 26. He stated: ‘We will use the platform to communicate with each other, conduct research and resolve some policy issues, as well as to coordinate on major cases and emergencies in a timely manner that infringe upon lawyers’ defense rights.’

Lawyers face difficulties

Xiong Xuanguo, vice-minister of justice, pointed out that lawyers face difficulties meeting with suspects in criminal detention, especially when their cases involved endangering state safety, terrorist attacks, or cases of major corruption. Also, some judicial authorities limit the ability of lawyers to review case files, and stop them from collecting evidence. They interrupt defense statements during court hearings, remove them from the courtroom or even illegally detain them, he said.


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