The Justice Ministry will ask all new lawyers, and lawyers renewing their licenses, to sign an oath of loyalty to the Communist Party for the first time. In recent years, activist lawyers have become among the most outspoken members of society in fighting for civil rights of citizens. From the Voice of America:
The oath requires lawyers to “pledge to faithfully fulfill the sacred mission of a legal worker under the socialist system with Chinese characteristics.” It also demands that they “be loyal to the motherland, loyal to the people, uphold the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and the socialist system.”
Lawyer Pu Zhiqiang tells VOA’s Mandarin service that confusion has long surrounded directives from the Communist Party’s Politics and Law Committee.
“For instance, we often face the problem of whether the Communist Party’s Politics and Law Committee represents the Party when it gives directions in regard to public security, procuratorial and legal work. If so, we as lawyers are indeed interfered with in our legal activities.”
Chinese authorities in recent years have stepped up pressure on activist lawyers who represent clients in some of the country’s most politically sensitive rights cases.
On his blog, Siweiluozi has posted a translation of the full oath, posted in the Legal Daily:
I volunteer to become a practicing lawyer of the People’s Republic of China and promise to faithfully perform the sacred duties of a socialist-with-Chinese-characteristics legal worker (中国特色社会主义法律工作者); to be faithful to the motherland and the people; to uphold the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and the socialist system; to safeguard the dignity of the constitution and the law; to practice on behalf of the people; to be diligent, professional honest, and corruption-free; to protect the legitimate rights and interests of clients, the correct implementation of the law, and social fairness and justice; and diligently strive for the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics!