Zhang Wen: Lawyers Need Obey Nothing But the “Law”

Writer/blogger Zhang Wen (章文), former head of the editorial department of Xinhua’s Globe magazine, is now an active advocate for political reform. Here is one of his recent blog posts, translated and summarized by an anonymous contributor:

Two days ago, the Minister of Justice Wu Qiying talked about the work of lawyers. The main idea is that lawyers should stress politics, consider the overall situation, observe discipline and obey the Party.

From her talk, I learned some precise figures for the first time. “Currently, of the 14,000 law offices in China, 3895 have their own Party branch, 8075 law offices have set up 2692 jointly established Party branches. Guidance people or contact people have been sent to all the remaining 2741 legal offices that do not have Party members in order to implement ahead of schedule complete coverage of law offices by the Party organization and Party work.”

The Party is truly everywhere. The rays of light emanating from the Party shine everywhere. I can’t help by feel the joy. Even before the Party had covered the work of lawyers, it had long ago covered public security, prosecutorial organs and the courts. Now the Party covers the entire process of justice.

Zhang goes on to say that the Party’s coverage of the legal system hasn’t helped things since corruption in the legal system is common. The lawyer’s job is to be neutral and defend his client according to law, but some judges get angry when the lawyer does their job, accusing them of not being cooperative. Increasingly, lawyers are becoming unwilling to handle criminal or sensitive cases for fear of getting into trouble themselves. Zhang concludes by saying the Justice Minister should be told that lawyers need to obey the law and shouldn’t be obeying anyone else.


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