Sunday, June 5, 2005
Yet another lawyer representing a large group of clients in a sensitive case was reported on June 1st in the Financial Times to have been detained. [Story] Zhu Jiuhu (朱久虎) represented hundreds of former oilfield investors in Shaanxi seeking to recover their losses after the government reversed its policy of allowing such operations and seized oil wells. [Background story] Five plaintiff representatives were detained as well. At the same time, the Higher Level People's Court of Shaanxi Province refused to hear their case, reportedly on the grounds that the government was already dealing with the case and that the claims referred to abstract administrative actions. The first reason does not seem legally relevant, but the second reason may hold more water legally if the suit was brought under the Administrative Litigation Law. (That law allows suits over the implementation of rules, but not their content.) The FT report does not give details about the litigation.
As many readers will know, Zheng Enchong (郑恩宠), a lawyer who helped Shanghai residents sue over evictions for redevelopment, was sentenced to three years in prison in 2003 [story], and Guo Guoting (郭国汀), who defended Zheng, was recently banned from practising law for a year.