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Radical lawyer’s confession reveals dark side of profession

(Global Times)    09:49, July 20, 2015

After a handful of Chinese "human rights lawyers" were apprehended by the police lately, several prominent international organizations and media outlets expressed their concerns or complaints against the Chinese government. However, their ostensibly righteous voices might need to be turned down a notch. According to a statement from the Ministry of Public Security, nine lawyers and several other staff members of Beijing-based Fengrui Law Firm have been charged with disrupting public order and violating trial proceedings. Zhou Shifeng, the firm's director, has pleaded guilty.

Based on detailed reports in the Chinese media, the confessions of several of the "human rights lawyers" outline how they abused their influence to hype a legal case into a public or mass incident, in so doing forcing great pressures onto the judicial organs and thus drawing attention from the international community. What Zhou and his accomplices did is a vivid revelation of how a small number of radical lawyers disguised themselves as part of a "disadvantaged group" to blackmail the authorities for their own benefits.

Chinese authorities are aware that the rule of law takes time to fully implement. In recent years, there have been many judges brought to justice. The most recent case is Xi Xiaoming, vice president of China's Supreme People's Court, who has been put under investigation by the anti-graft agency. A clean judicial system needs both honest judges and lawyers. Both can be targets of the anti-corruption campaign; however it seems that the apprehension of judges would cause much less concern from the international community simply because they are government officials.

Since these lawyers' arrest, quite a few international human rights organizations and even governments have paid close attention and filed stern protests. The opposing voices from foreign governments and external organizations are mostly out of political motivations. These accusations are turning increasingly feeble and out of focus, as the Chinese authorities have got the knack of dealing with them by making trial proceedings and processes as transparent and informative as possible.

In the past, Chinese authorities lacked experience in dealing with thorny issues concerning public opinion. Some of them were clumsy in publicity and what they did eventually backfired. But things are changing. From the way in which the Chinese authorities have responded to sensitive cases recently, they have realized that justice and transparency is the most direct and effective way to deal with most of the fuss at last. In the future, accusations over Chinese human rights conditions will still exist, but as long as the Chinese authorities stick to the fundamental principles of transparency and justice, confidence in the rule of law will prevail.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Yao Chun,Zhang Qian)

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