Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Rule of Law, Beijing-Style

Hong Kong, China

Joseph Kahn of the New York Times reports on the attempts of two Chinese lawyers to protect their clients' rights using the mainland Chinese legal system. The men have had to variously endure rigged trials, beatings and the arrest and confinement of exculpatory witnesses days before trial, preventing their testimony. In the most famous case, "barefoot lawyer" Chen Guangcheng -- who successfully exposed a local government's illegal practice of forced abortions -- was sentenced to more than four years in prison for "destroying property" and "obstructing traffic" at a time when he was in his home under house arrest.

The article provides additional support for prior reports that court cases in mainland China are not decided by the presiding judges, but by officials of the Chinese Communist Party, who instruct the judges how to rule.

"A senior law professor and government adviser in Beijing, who is not connected to the Chen case, said he attended a meeting shortly after Mr. Chen’s second trial in which top judicial officials, including Luo Gan, a member of the Politburo Standing Committee who oversees the judicial system, discussed the case. It was cited as an example of how 'hostile forces' had used the courts to provoke social unrest, said the law professor, who asked not to be identified because the meeting was secret," Kahn reports.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Ed Saadi said...

Rigged trials? Check.

Murder/Disappearance of key witnesses? Check.

China? Hmmm... All this time, I thought I was practicing in northeast Ohio. Better check my map.

12:50 AM  

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