Chinese authorities are now targeting not only ethnic and religious minorities, but the very lawyers who defend them.
October 26, 2009
WASHINGTON, D.C.–As President Obama prepares to visit China in November, the world is watching closely to see what issues the United States will address—from energy and economics to human rights and basic freedom. In light of this, six Chinese legal professionals and human rights defenders have traveled from Beijing to Washington to report on the conditions of religious freedom and rule of law in China. Chinese authorities have launched a new strategy, targeting not only ethnic and religious minorities, but the very lawyers who defend them as well. While many minority groups speak out to obtain new rights, little is heard from the Chinese nationals who both study and practice law according to the Chinese Constitution.
In response, ChinaAid is proud to host six human rights legal professionals in Washington, D.C. this week who will offer the global media a unique opportunity to hear firsthand the experiences and vision of Chinese lawyers—ones who love their country and take on some of the most dangerous and controversial cases in the Chinese courts. The following Chinese lawyers will meet with Congressmen on the Hill, conduct interviews with media, receive theological training from scholars in the DC area, and speak out on religious freedom and rule of law in China:
Cao Zhi (George), Attorney and M.A. in Law—Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Citizen-Republic Magazine in China, and prominent defense lawyer for cases on religious freedom.
Dai Jinbo (Floyd), Attorney—Legal counsel for Chinese house churches in Anhui, Shandong, and other provinces, and expert researcher at Institute of Holy Mountain Cultural Studies.
Jiang Tianyong (Tim), Attorney—Veteran lawyer at Beijing Global Law Firm; known for defending Gao Zhisheng, Open Constitution Initiative, Azihi Research Institute of Beijing, and other cases exposing religious persecution.
Li Fangping, Attorney and M.A. in Law—Veteran lawyer known for defending activists Hu Jia, Shi Weihan, and Chen Guangcheng and his precedent-setting cases on legal policy.
Wang Guanze (Jeffrey), M.A. in Philosophy—Former international journalist for the New York Times, China Legal Daily, and 21st Century Economic Herald; political columnist and expert on law.
Zhang Kai (Kevin), Attorney—Legal associate for the Yijia Law Firm in Beijing, and defense lawyer for Uyghur Christians Alimujiang Yimiti and Wusiman Yiming in Xinjiang.
Click here for more biographical information on these respected legal professionals.
ChinaAid will co-host the lawyers in the following events in DC this week:
Press Conference at the National Press Club–9:00 AM EST, Wednesday, October 28, 2009; West Room of the National Press Club: “Chinese Legal Experts Envision the Future of Law in China”, event in open to media and co-sponsored by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and ChinaAid.
Hearing with the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission–2:00 PM EST. Thursday, October 29, 2009; Meeting Room on Capitol Hill (TBA): The Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission will record public statements by the six lawyers on the condition of rule of law and religious freedom in China; Congressional staff and press welcome.
Other Events: ChinaAid has arranged several other individual meetings with U.S. Congressmen and press, and will be holding a small number of private social events for the lawyers during their visit to the U.S. capital.
ChinaAid sponsors the lawyers through the Human Rights Legal Fund and is grateful for any support. To find other ways to get involved and support these lawyers, check out our website, www.ChinaAid.org.