China’s Ministry of Justice has reportedly introduced draft confidentiality regulations that observers warn could substantially hinder the ability of lawyers to use the Internet and other social media platforms as advocacy tools.
China’s Ministry of Justice has introduced draft confidentiality regulations that observers warn could substantially hinder the ability of lawyers to use the Internet and other social media platforms as advocacy tools.
The proposed “Regulations on Several Issues Concerning Criminal Defense by Lawyers” come as China’s rights defense lawyers, frustrated by procedural irregularities and other obstacles posed by the criminal justice system, increasingly turn to the Internet and social media to raise awareness of injustices faced by their clients. According to an article by Professor Wang Jianxun of the China University of Political Science and Law, “there is widespread concern among lawyers that these provisions barring defense lawyers from revealing case details will in fact block them from using the media and public opinion to prevent miscarriages of justice,” further noting that “in a society where rule of law is imperfect and the judicial process is not independent, there is already limited space for criminal defense.”
A full English translation of Professor Wang’s article, along with further analysis of the proposed rules, has been made available by the humanitarian group Dui Hua and can be accessed at www.duihuahrjournal.org/2013/09/justice-ministry-to-silence-lawyers.html.