Prominent Beijing Rights Defense Lawyers Fired From Law Firm

China Aid Association
Photo: Attorney Li Subin

(BEIJING — November 5, 2008) On October 30, Christian Attorney Li Subin was told he was fired from the Beijing Yitong Law Firm because he and 35 other Beijing lawyers signed an open letter in August calling for direct election of the leaders of the Beijing Lawyers Association [equivalent to Bar Association]. About five to seven other lawyers have also been dismissed or forced to leave their respected law firms for the same reason.
On October 27 and 28, seven officials from the Bureau of Justice of Haidian District of Beijing visited Li Subin’s office. Officials took photos and questioned staff about cases they had handled in the past. The director of the firm who is also a Christian, Attorney Li Jingsong was pressured by officials who indicated his law firm’s inspection might not be passed by the Bureau of Justice. This would mean the survival of the law firm would be in danger if he did not fire the “troublemakers” in his firm. Along with Li Subin, four other lawyers who signed the August letter were also purged from Yitong Law Firm. They are Mr. Cheng Hai, Zhang Jianguo, Wen Haibo and Yang Huiwen.
The open letter sent in August by lawyers from various Beijing law firms called for direct election of the officers of the Beijing Lawyers Association. This letter is in agreement with the Lawyer’s Law which states that the association is an autonomous social organization where representatives are chosen by election. However, on September 5, 2008, the Beijing Lawyers Association sent a “Stern Statement,” calling the open letter “illegal,” and that it was essentially a “total repudiation of China’s current lawyers administrative system, judicial system, and even political system.”
Despite the increased pressure on lawyers who have signed the letter, according to the organization Human Rights in China, the number of lawyers in support of the letter has grown to 82.
Bob Fu, President of ChinaAid, stated, “We request prayer for Christian lawyer Li Subin who has been campaigning for religious freedom and ask the Chinese government to correct the wrong path for the true spirit of rule of law.”
Ms. Wu Aiying, Minister of Justice
10 Nandajie, Chaoyangmen, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100020, People’s Republic of China
Mr. Wang Lixian, Director of the General Office Phone Number of News Release Office: 86-10-65206706
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Read the Human Rights in China’s report and recommended actions on this case.
Find out how you can support Li Subin and other attorneys who defend the persecuted and advance religious freedom in China.

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Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
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