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Home » Human Rights & Civil Rights » Safeguarding the Right to Practice: A Statement by 58 Chinese Lawyers

Safeguarding the Right to Practice: A Statement by 58 Chinese Lawyers

February 19, 2018


On July 9, 2015, in the mass arrest of Chinese human rights lawyers and defenders known as the “709 Crackdown,” the security authorities used “residential surveillance at a designated place” (指定居所监视居住), a disguised form of secret detention, to detain lawyers. They denied family the ability to hire their own counsel, conducted secret trials, and violated the principle of “innocent until proven guilty” by forcing prisoners to plead guilt in video recordings for state media before trial. This campaign-style (运动式) suppression has engendered panic and backlash domestically, and led to widespread censure from the international community.

The lessons of the 709 mass arrests are deep. The rising prominence of human rights lawyers was, in the first place, a wonderful opportunity for the government to reflect on the value of lawyers for the rule of law and their role in improving social governance. But now, lawyers are arrested or disbarred on the slightest pretext, and their rights to practice and have a job are increasingly infringed upon.

On January 15, 2018, Yu Wensheng (余文生), defense counsel for 709 lawyer Wang Quanzhang (王全璋), was disbarred from practicing law by the Beijing Municipal Justice Bureau. On the morning of January 19, Yu, while taking his child to school, was criminally detained by public security agents from Shijingshan district, Beijing, on charges of “obstructing an officer in discharge of duties.” On January 27, Yu Wensheng was placed under “residential surveillance at a designated place” by the Xuzhou municipal public security bureau in Jiangsu province, on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power.”

On January 22, 2018, 709 crackdown target Sui Muqing (隋牧青) received an “Advance Notice of Administrative Punishment” (《行政处罚预先告知书》) from Guangdong provincial judicial authorities, informing him that he was going to lose his law license. After he lodged the appropriate application, Sui was granted a hearing with the provincial judicial bureau on February 3. After the hearing, his license was indeed rescinded.

On the heels of Sui Muqing’s disbarment, the news arrived that Beijing’s judicial bureau had rescinded the registration of Beijing Wu Tian Law Firm (北京悟天律师事务所), a boutique law firm run by lawyer Cheng Hai (程海).

A series of similar disbarments has taken place recently, including:

  • In December 2017, Wang Liqian (王理乾) and Wang Longde (王龙德) in Yunnan having their law licenses revoked.
  • Also in December 2017, Zhejiang lawyer Wu Youshui (吴有水) being suspended from legal practice for nine months based on public statements he made that the authorities didn’t like.
  • In October 2017, 709 defense lawyer Li Yuhan (李昱函) being charged with “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” and detained in the Shenyang detention center.
  • In September 2017 Zhu Shengwu (祝圣武), the lawyer defending Wang Jiangfeng (王江峰), who was charged with making political statements on Weibo, had his law license revoked.
  • Also during 2017, the Shanghai lawyer Peng Yonghe (彭永和) resigned from the Shanghai Municipal Lawyer’s Association, because the Association refused to defend the rights of lawyers. Currently Peng faces the revocation of his own legal license.

Lawyers are an important component of the rule of law in China. Punishing lawyers for defending human rights is punishing the rule of law, rights, and order. The construction of an orderly, rational, and stable modern state requires the proactive involvement of lawyers. A society that sees lawyers as its enemy will inevitably fall into chaos and social unrest. Tragedies like the Cultural Revolution could easily recur.

For these reasons, we strongly call upon the judicial organs to be civilized and reasonable — immediately release the detained lawyers, respect and protect the professional rights of lawyers and the basic rights of other citizens, re-examine the recent spate of disbarments of lawyers and law firm licenses, and resolve in a proper manner the new problems that have arisen in social management. Don’t deliberately create conflict and opposition; instead, cooperate in advancing and nurturing the rule of law in China.

Contact address:



  1. Liu Wei (刘巍), Beijing
  2. Wu Kuiming (吴魁明), Guangdong
  3. Liu Shihui (刘士辉), Guangdong
  4. Tang Jitian (唐吉田), Beijing
  5. Chang Boyang (常伯阳), Henan
  6. Wang Qiushi (王秋实), Heilongjiang
  7. Liang Xiaojun (梁小军), Beijing
  8. Wang Qingpeng (王清鹏), Hebei
  9. Wang Lei (王磊)
  10. Liu Shuqing (刘书庆), Shandong
  11. Shu Xiangxin (舒向新), Shandong
  12. Lu Fangzhi (吕方芝), Hunan
  13. Qin Chenshou (覃臣寿), Guangxi
  14. Chen Jinxue (陈进学), Guangdong
  15. Huang Hanzhong (黄汉中), Beijing
  16. Wen Donghai (文东海), Hunan
  17. Li Weida (李威达), Hebei
  18. Zhong Jinhua (钟锦化), Shanghai
  19. Lin Qilei (蔺其磊), Beijing
  20. Qu Yuan (瞿远), Sichuan
  21. He Wei (何伟), Chongqing
  22. Li Fangping (李方平), Beijing
  23. Tong Zhaoping (童朝平), Beijing
  24. Chen Yixuan (陈以轩), Hunan
  25. Yu Quan (于全), Sichuan
  26. Li Yongheng (李永恒), Shandong
  27. Ma Lianshun (马连顺), Henan
  28. Zhang Chongshi (张重实), Hunan
  29. Zou Lihui (邹丽惠), Fujian
  30. Lu Tinge (卢廷阁), Hebei
  31. Chen Jinhua (陈金华), Hunan
  32. Ren Quanniu (任全牛), Henan
  33. Luo Qian (罗茜), Hunan
  34. Li Jinxing (李金星), Shandong
  35. Wang Yu (王宇), Beijing
  36. Zeng Yi (曾义), Yunnan
  37. Meng Meng (孟猛), Henan
  38. Xu Hongwei (徐红卫), Shandong
  39. Ji Zhongjiu (纪中久), Zhejiang
  40. Liu Zhengqing (刘正清), Guangdong
  41. Ge Wenxiu (葛文秀), Guangdong
  42. Tan Yongpei (覃永沛), Guangxi
  43. Wang Zhenjiang (王振江), Shandong
  44. Wen Haibo (温海波), Beijing
  45. Teng Biao (滕彪), Beijing
  46. Jin Guanghong (金光鸿), Beijing
  47. Jiang Yuanmin (蒋援民), Guangdong
  48. Bao Longjun (包龙军), Beijing
  49. Xu Guijuan (许桂娟), Shandong
  50. Zheng Enchong (郑恩宠), Shanghai
  51. Chen Jiahong (陈家鸿), Guangxi
  52. Xiao Guozhen (肖国珍), Beijing
  53. Peng Yongfeng (彭永锋), Hebei
  54. Zhu Shengwu (祝圣武), Shandong
  55. Cheng Hai (程海), Beijing
  56. Cheng Weishan (程为善), Jiangsu
  57. Lu Siwei (卢思位), Sichuan
  58. Huang Zhiqiang (黄志强), Zhejiang




Detention and Disbarment: China Continues Campaign Against Human Rights Lawyers in Wake of 709 Crackdown, China Change, January, 2018.

Wang Quanzhang: The 709 Lawyer Not Heard From Since July 2015, January 15, 2018.

61-Year Old Human Rights Lawyer Criminally Detained in Shenyang, China Change, October 31, 2017.

Little-Known Chinese Lawyer Disbarred for Defending Freedom of Speech, October 3, 2017.





  1. […] Safeguarding the Right to Practice: A Statement by 58 Chinese Lawyers, February 19, 2018. […]

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