Sunday, April 17, 2011
Pretty strong stuff. Available in English and Chinese at the China Media Project web site here. He has some good rhetorical touches. Among other things, he notes the irony that the judge in Li Zhuang's first trial, who excused all seven prosecution witnesses (all of whom were in custody) from appearing and being cross-examined because they "were unwilling" (grounds that have no basis in the Criminal Procedure Law), had written his master's thesis in law school on the necessity of witnesses appearing in court.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
On April 9th, the US State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor released its annual human rights report on various countries around the world. The China section is here.
Predictably, the Chinese government reacted by calling it "full of distortions". Regrettably, however, it declined to identify any of the distortions. Instead, it applied as usual its theory that the best way to refute an accusation is to accuse the accuser of doing the same thing, and released a report on human rights violations in the United States. The government web site carrying the report even referred to the release as "strik[ing] back". Apparently human rights violations in the US don't bother it unless the US government hits first.
The Chinese report accuses US authorities at the state and federal level of several things that few governments would admit to condoning, such as torture. What's odd is that it also waxes indignant about various civil liberties violations that, while they might get the ACLU up in arms, are engaged in by the Chinese government itself - for example, visa denials without judicial review. And I confess that my outrage meter barely budges when I read that at US airports "passengers can not refuse the security check based on their religious beliefs".
I hope each government will post the other's report on its embassy's web site.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Li Zhuang is the lawyer who defended accused mobster Gong Gangmo in Chongqing and was convicted on charges of suborning perjury for his troubles. (Background information here.) It's now reported that the Chongqing authorities are planning on bringing new charges against him; cynics (or perhaps realists) interpret this as a device by political contender Bo Xilai, Chongqing's Party secretary, to keep Li under wraps for a while longer so as not to derail his national leadership aspirations. (Li should be due for release around June 2011; he was arrested in Dec. 2009 and ultimately sentenced to 18 months, and sentences typically take into account time served in detention prior to conviction.)
Chen Youxi, his defense lawyer in the first trial, has written an extremely angry piece [April 12th update: Original link harmonized off the Caing web site where it originally appeared; new link here] denouncing the original and upcoming proceedings. It's well worth reading (if you read Chinese) to get a defense lawyer's perspective on Bo's "Chongqing model." Among other things, it contains (see Point 4 in the text) a very detailed account of the bargaining that went on between the original trial and the appeal. Chen accuses the Chongqing authorities of reneging on the deal they made with Li Zhuang. But he understands why Li Zhuang folded under pressure, referring ominously to another defendant who somehow managed to commit suicide at 12:30 pm in a cell filled with other prisoners.
Chen also says that the new charges have serious legal deficiencies, but he's not going to help the prosecution by giving away what they are right now. His overall view is that the Chongqing authorities have just gone kind of crazy. He was willing to keep quiet about the Li Zhuang case, and had done so, so that his client could be released as scheduled and then everyone could forget the whole thing. But now Chongqing has stirred things up again, and reminded people what a kangaroo court the first trial was (among other things, contrary to the requirements of Chinese law, no witnesses for the prosecution appeared in court, even those fully under the control of the prosecution).
Throughout, he says that lawyers have no role as lawyers to play in these proceedings. If they get involved, it can only be as actors in a play. The better their defense, the more convincing the play will be. For a different view by a sympathizer, see this response by Si Weijiang, who argues that defense lawyers can still play an important role even in fixed proceedings such as these.
Monday, April 4, 2011
Here's a very interesting article contrasting Motorola's (unsuccessful) and Apple's (so far successful) approaches to protecting their technology while trying to get into the China market. HT: China Law Blog, which adds some good comments on the issue.
Saturday, April 2, 2011
Landesa (formerly the Rural Development Institute) is seeking a land tenure specialist for its Beijing office. This is a reputable organization that does very interesting work. The announcement is below; applicants must be PRC nationals qualified to work in China.
Landesa (formerly Rural Development Institute) now invites quality candidates to submit applications and join our team in China in our mission to improve the livelihood of the country’s rural poor and promote rule of law by securing land rights and reducing poverty.
Grounded in the knowledge that having legal rights to land is a foundation for prosperity and opportunity, Landesa partners with governments and local organizations to ensure that the world’s poorest families have secure rights over the land they till. Founded as the Rural Development Institute in 1967, Landesa has helped more than 100 million poor families gain legal control over their land. With secure land rights, these families can eat better, earn more, educate their children, practice conservation, and achieve dignity for generations. For more info, please refer to www.landesa.org.
The Land Tenure Specialist will be based in Beijing and reports to the China Country Director. This is a core position and its principal duty is to provide legal, policy, and implementation expertise on aspects of rural land tenure security. For more details, please refer to this job description.
To apply, please submit cover letter and CV (in both Chinese and English) by April 22, 2011 to firstname.lastname@example.org with the title in the subject line.
Ping Li | email@example.com
Suite 502, Building No. 8, Wanda Plaza
93 Jiangguo Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China 100022
T: 86.10.5820.5271 ext. 502 F: 86.10.5820.5273
Securing land rights for the world's poorest