“China Announces Prison Sentence for Missing Human Rights Lawyer”

Says the title of a NY Times article: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/17/world/asia/17china.html?hp

This article illustrates the lack of criminal procedural due process in China. In contrast, a country with strong rule of law could have open trials, prohibit coerced confessions, inform defendants of their charges, require probable cause and warrant to engage in search & seizure, and require reading of criminal rights (e.g., you have the right to remain silent or the right to an attorney).

This cases also raises substantive concerns in addition to procedural ones like the lack of rule of law, no enforcement of and ignoring existing written law, undermining the legal profession, and lack of religious freedom.

Just imagine being jailed because you are a human rights lawyer who has clients who wish to sue the government for improper treatment. This quote from the article is most troubling to me as a lawyer:

“Mr. Gao won renown as a lawyer willing to take on some of the most dangerous cases in China, defending practitioners of the banned Falun Gong movement and members of Christian groups. He wrote President Hu Jintao of China an open letter in 2005 alleging that Falun Gong adherents had been tortured with shock batons and sexual assaults at Chinese detention centers.”

Mr. Gao’s clients were accused of breaking the law. It seems Mr. Gao was imprisoned for being a lawyer.

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