Introduction

Although significant progress towards building a rule of law in China has been made since the early 1980s, there has been a corresponding increase in attacks on lawyers and informal legal advisors. More than 500 have been detained in recent years in connection with sensitive criminal, political, religious, property, and environmental cases. Many others have been subject to surveillance, intimidation, harassment, and personal assault. Recent examples are:

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Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚)

Chen Guangcheng is a blind, self-educated lawyer from Shandong. Mr. Chen began taking on politically sensitive cases in 1998, including defending the economic rights of farmers, the rights of the disabled, and reproductive rights. As a result of his work, he has been illegally detained, convicted on the basis of fabricated charges, and subjected to harsh extra-judicial measures. Currently, Mr. Chen is the Distinguished Senior Fellow in Human Rights at the William E. and Carol G. Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution, a member of the the faculty of the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies at the Catholic University of America, and Senior Distinguished Advisor to the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice.

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Fan Yafeng (范亚峰)

Dr. Fan Yafeng promotes the rule of law by doing legal scholarship on constitutional issues and religious freedom. As a result of his legal work supporting religious freedom and his personal involvement in the Protestant house church movement, he was fired from his job, detained and interrogated, and subjected to surveillance and varying degrees of house arrest.

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Gao Zhisheng (高智晟)

Gao Zhisheng, once recognized by the Ministry of Justice as “one of the country’s 10 best lawyers, has paid a high price for his activism. Mr. Gao has repeatedly been “disappeared

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Jiang Tianyong (江天勇)

Jiang Tianyong specializes in cases concerned with religious persecution. His clients have included Buddhist leaders, Falun Gong practitioners, and Uyghur activists. Mr. Jiang is also known for his work with HIV/AIDS related issues. As a result of his activism, Mr. Jiang has been denied client access,  placed under surveillance, had his license suspended, undergone detention and interrogation, and been disappeared” for two months.

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Li Xiongbing (黎雄兵)

Li Xiongbing is a Beijing-based lawyer who has been prominent in the effort to promote the rule of law in China. As a result of his work representing “sensitive cases,” including Falun Gong practitioners, Mr. Li has effectively been disbarred. He has also been subjected to repeated episodes of surveillance and house arrest, and has had his right to travel restricted.

 

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Li Fangping (李方平)

Li Fangping, a Beijing-based lawyer, has defended AIDS activists, victims of melamine-tainted milk powder, political protestors, and other defense attorneys as well as litigated on behalf of the public regarding utilities and internet filtering software. As a result of Mr. Li’s advocacy, he has been subjected to intrusive surveillance, detained, interrogated, beaten, and prevented from pursuing sensitive” cases.

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Li Heping (李和平)

Li Heping, a Beijing-based lawyer, began his career as a specialist in intellectual property law. Over time, he began to take on more controversial clients, including Falun Gong practitioners, environmental activists, persecuted Christians, and other lawyers detained after taking up cases against the government. His work representing controversial clients has resulted in his being kidnapped, beaten, threatened, and having his license to practice law suspended for six months.

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Li Subin (李苏滨)

Li Subin is a lawyer from Henan who first ran afoul of authorities by suing Henan officials for arbitrarily collecting lawyer registration fees. His license was suspended in retaliation; although he sued and won the right for reinstatement, he was unable to force reissuance of his license. As a result, Mr. Li worked as a legal administrator until his license was renewed in 2011. Li Subin continues to work as an independent legal activist.

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Liu Wei (刘巍)

Liu Wei’s license to practice law was permanently revoked as a result of her advocacy on behalf of politically sensitive clients. Her clients included Falun Gong practitioners, victims of illegal land requisition and home demolition, individuals discriminated against because they contracted HIV, AIDS and hepatitis B, parents of children poisoned by melamine-tainted milk powder, and fellow rights defense lawyers.

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Mo Shaoping (莫少平)

Mo Shaoping is a Beijing-based lawyer and founder of the Mo Shaoping Law Firm. His clients have included dissidents, labor activists, and Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, the imprisoned co-author of Charter 08. Mo has repeatedly been denied access to his clients, and has been subjected to surveillance, soft detention, and travel restrictions.

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Ni Yulan (倪玉兰)

Ni Yulan is a Beijing based tenant-rights legal activist who has spent over a decade defending the rights of clients subjected to forced evictions. In the process, she has been arrested, convicted, crippled, disbarred, and left homeless herself after the unlawful destruction of her home. Ms. Ni and her husband were seized by police in April of 2011. She was convicted in April 2012 of “picking quarrels and provoking troubles” and “fraud”. The fraud conviction was overturned in July 2012, reducing her two-year and eight-month prison term by two months.

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Pu Zhiqiang (浦志强)

Pu Zhiqiang is best known as a pioneering free-speech lawyer. Clients he has defended against defamation lawsuits include literary critics sued by writers, periodicals sued by corporations and tycoons, and authors and activists sued by government officials. As a result of his efforts he has been detained and interrogated and his ability to represent clients has been severely compromised.

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Tang Jingling (唐荆陵)

Tang Jingling was a lawyer at the Huazhijie Law Firm prior to losing his license in 2006. His clients have included villagers combating corruption, victims of counterfeit medicine and vaccinations, uncompensated victims of land grabs, and arrested rights defenders. Since disbarment, Mr. Tang has become a leading proponent and educator on the topic of of non-violent civil disobedience in China.

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Tang Jitian (唐吉田)

Tang Jitian has represented Falun Gong practitioners, victims of illegal land requisitions, persons suffering from HIV, AIDS, and hepatitis B, and parents of children harmed in the melamine-tainted milk powder scandal. As a consequence, both his personal law license and his firm’s license were revoked. On February 16, 2011, he was detained and tortured. On March 5, 2011 he was released and placed under strict house arrest.

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Teng Biao (滕彪)

Dr. Teng Biao is a Beijing-based lawyer and university lecturer. Dr. Teng has represented AIDS activists, Falun Gong practitioners, Tibetan protesters, and farmers fighting land seizures. His advocacy has resulted in his being subject to surveillance, threats, house arrest, disbarment, and being disappeared.” He was released after two months of detention on Friday

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Yuan Xianchen (袁显臣)

Yuan Xianchen is a self- taught barefoot lawyer” and rights activist based in Heilongjiang. His clients have included farmers

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Zheng Enchong (郑恩宠)

Zheng Enchong represented the injured parties in over 500 cases of forced eviction stemming from urban redevelopment in Shanghai, after which his license to practice was revoked. He was sentenced to three years imprisonment on charges of providing state secrets to foreigners. Since his release, he has been subject to strict, on-going surveillance, and physical abuse.

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