The Associated Press reported on Tuesday that the lawyers defending disgraced former Chongqing Communist Party chief Bo Xilai, who faces criminal charges, hail from a firm that has close ties to the Party. From the South China Morning Post:
Lawyer Li Guifang said he and colleague Wang Zhaofeng of the DeHeng Law Offices will represent Bo.
“The case is still being investigated … an indictment has not yet been issued,” Li said. He declined to answer further questions.
DeHeng is well-known in the Chinese legal community as one of the country’s largest firms, with branches in major mainland cities and overseas.
On its website, the firm says it has had good relations with large state enterprises and government departments, providing legal services in projects such as the Three Gorges Dam and acting as advisers to the finance and health ministries.
The firm also enjoys favourable standing with the party leadership: the newly appointed party leader, Xi Jinping , visited the firm’s office in Beijing in 2010 and praised its efforts in promoting party ideology within its ranks, according to a report by the official Xinhua News Agency at the time.
The Telegraph’s Tom Phillips noted last week that one of the lawyers, Li Guifang, spent time studying in the UK in 1989:
Colleagues describe Mr Bo’s lawyer as one of China’s best. Li Guifang is the deputy director of the Criminal Law Committee of the Chinese Bar Association and an expert in “economic crimes”, according to his official profile.
Read more about Bo Xilai via CDT.
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