Be a Civil Rights Lawyer at Your Own Expense

As the title advertises, be a lawyer at your own expense – you guessed it – in China.  Civil rights lawyers are the ones getting in trouble.  There’s a related article link so don’t forget that.  This article is from the NY Times.  [Read Chinese names surname first]

  1. CreditAndy Wong/Associated Press Pu Zhiqiang
    CreditAndy Wong/Associated Press 

    Pu Zhiqiang


    Pu Zhiqiang, whose arrest preceded the current campaign, is one of China’s most prominent rights lawyers. Mr. Pu was detainedon May 6, 2014, three days after participating in a meeting of intellectuals in Beijing to discuss the legacy of the protests in and around Tiananmen Square in 1989.

    The former university lecturer gained prominence as a lawyer by taking on landmark civil rights cases including the defense of the artist Ai Weiwei on charges of tax fraud, and of the environmental activist Tan Zuoren on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power.” In 2012, Mr. Pu was also one of the lawyers who represented Tang Hui, a woman sent to a labor camp after publicly calling for the men who raped her 11-year-old daughter to be prosecuted.

    Mr. Pu, 50, is likely to soon face trial, and almost certainly conviction, on the charges of “picking quarrels” and of “inciting ethnic hatred.”

Zhou Shifeng smiling
Zhou Shifeng
Zhou Shifeng


Zhou Shifeng, a criminal lawyer trained at Peking University’s prestigious law school, has not shied from difficult cases, and he presided over a law firm that employed some of Beijing’s most determined rights lawyers. In 2008, he represented parents of children who became sick after consuming tainted milk powder from one of the nation’s biggest producers.

Mr. Zhou most recently represented Zhang Miao, a news assistant for the German newspaper Die Zeit, who was detained in Beijing for nine months and freed on July 9. Ms. Zhang had assisted in the newspaper’s coverage of Hong Kong’s democracy protests last year.

Mr. Zhou, director of the Fengrui Law Firm in Beijing, was detained on July 10.State news outlets have accused him of being at the “operational core” of a “criminal syndicate,” and of recruiting protesters to put public pressure on the courts.

State news outlets quoted him as admitting guilt. Wu Gan, the online campaigner, worked for Mr. Zhou’s law firm, as did Wang Yu, Liu Xiaoyuan and other well-known rights lawyers.

CreditPhilippe Lopez/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
CreditPhilippe Lopez/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Wang Yu


A prison sentence on assault charges that she denied transformed Wang Yu, a former commercial lawyer, into a rights activist. She works at Zhou Shifeng’s law firm and represented Wu Gan until she was also detained.

This year, she represented Li Tingting, a women’s rights advocate detained in March over a planned protest against sexual harassment on public transportation. She also defended Ilham Tohti, a moderate scholar of China’s Turkic Uighur ethnic minority who is now serving a life sentence on charges that include advocating separatism.

Ms. Wang, 44, was arrested in the early hours of July 9 at her home. Her husband and 16-year-old son had been detained earlier at Beijing’s International Airport. The son, who was supposed to start school in Australia, has since been released.

Li Heping smiling
Li Heping
Li Heping

Li Heping began his career as an intellectual property lawyer but he has taken on landmark rights cases, such as Yang Zili’s in 2003. Mr. Yang, an early advocate of free debate online, served eight years in prison on subversion charges, in what was an early case of persecution of dissent on the Internet.

Mr. Li, now in his 40s, also represented practitioners of Falun Gong, a spiritual movement that has been banned, and Christians who rejected the state-sanctioned religious organizations. He represented the dissident Chen Guangcheng, whoembarrassed the Chinese government by escaping house arrest in 2012 and seeking refuge in the United States Embassy in Beijing.

The police in Tianjin detained Mr. Li on July 10. One of Mr. Li’s lawyers, Cai Ying, said by telephone on Tuesday that he and and Mr. Li’s family had not been told where Mr. Li was being held.

Wang Quanzhang smiling
Wang Quanzhang
Wang Quanzhang

Wang Quanzhang, 39, received his law degree in 2000 and has since taken on cases that have gone beyond the specialties listed in his online profile: criminal, contract and marriage law. His defense of civil rights advocates has led to several stints in detention as well as physical confrontations with court bailiffs and the police.

In 2013, he represented Wang Dengchao, a former police officer who tried to organize a pro-democracy rally in Shenzhen. Last year, Mr. Wang was briefly detained for being part of a group of about 30 people publicly protesting the detention of Falun Gong practitioners at an extrajudicial detention center in northeast China.

In June, several court bailiffs beat Mr. Wang after he was expelled from a court hearing during closing arguments, according to one account by Chinese Human Rights Defenders, an advocacy group.

Mr. Wang was detained on July 10.

Sui Muqing
Sui Muqing
Sui Muqing

A photo dated May 13, 1989, shows Sui Muqing behind a banner that reads “hunger strike for democracy.” Mr. Sui, now 47, was standing outside the University of Political Science and Law in Beijing, where he was studying law.

In recent years Mr. Sui has represented many dissidents in Guangzhou, where he lived, including Yang Maodong, better known by his pen name, Guo Feixiong, a prominent civil rights activist. Mr. Yang was arrested in 2013 and is still awaiting trial.

Mr. Sui also recently represented a rights campaigner detained over his support of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests and participants in the New Citizens Movement, a loosely organized movement to promote the rule of law, education reform and greater financial transparency for government officials.

Mr. Sui was detained in Guangzhou on July 10 on charges of inciting subversion of state power.

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I began writing Elle's Adventure in China (EACh) in June 2014 as a fun summer project, but as obstacles kept interfering with my plans, I forked and forked more options. I took writing this novel much more seriously in mid-July, and want to have it officially published someday in my lifetime. As many artists put their hearts into their projects, so do I. I did not start out liking to read, but a professor suggested a book for me for homework a few years ago, and it was an amazing book. Since then, I read for pleasure, and I hope my novel, Elle's Adventure in China, does the same for as many of you as possible. The same thing goes to writing. I did not like to write until I took a course where the professor and papers made me love to write. I hope every one of you find what makes you happy and dedicated to work. In May 2015, I started my other blog, Read and Write Here (R&WH), as a place to post other things that aren't China- and Chinese culture-related and not EACh. I share some of my memories and experiences from student teaching, irregular participation in Daily Prompts, etc. I'd like to have regular people and bloggers to write book reviews and post it on R&WH someday. Keep reading and writing!

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