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Press Release

Report About Hiring Lawyers For the Case of China Democracy Party

(Provided by CDP's Preparatory Committee in Zhejiang)

After WANG Youcai was detained for criminal charge on July 10 and WANG Donghai, ZHU Yufu, ZHU Zhengming, LIN Hui were supervised at residence, us friends in China decided through urgent discuss to form a loose legal-backup group to provided legal assistance for those dissidents who had persistently pursued political reform and been persecuted both politically and legally by the government. It was decided that XU Wenli and LIN Mu, etc. were to be in charge of nation-wide cooperation; WANG Wenjiang, ZHANG Jiankang, XU Jian, ZHOU Guoqiang, etc. were to provide specific suggestions on legal issues (if the government sued CDP's Preparatory Committee members, they would become defense counsels for defense based on law and facts as well as on values); WANG Peijian was to look for lawyers for defense on law and facts locally in Hangzhou (at that time we already had some prediction for the difficulties to hire lawyers). Since July 14, WANG Peijian accompanied WANG Youcai, etc.'s family members to look for lawyers. The difficulties were much more than what we could imagine.

The first lawyer we contacted was through a friend's introduction, who was said to be quite experienced for criminal cases and dare to challenge difficulties vigorously. However, soon after we met him and described the case briefly, he declined it with the excuse that he had too many cases at hand and was very busy. Later, it occurred to WANG Peijian that since this case is too sensitive (politics is always very sensitive in China; if you dare to care about politics in a different means than the government and even express your ideas by writing articles or other activities, what is waiting for you might be a disaster) and even a lawyer famous for courage of challenging difficulties didn't dare to take it, we should look for lawyers in a smaller circle, say, those graduated from Beijing University and worked in Hangzhou. A Beijing University alumnus in Huifeng Law Firm accepted HU Xiajiang, WANG Youcai's wife's hiring, but said he could only make defense on law and facts and couldn't touch values. HU Xiajiang showed deep understanding for this. If you made defense on values, you'd be suspected in political stance and might got great difficulty in future work, even got your lawyer's license canceled. The lawyer in Huifeng Law Firm signed employ agreement on July 17. Because we were going to hire 2 lawyers for each friend

involved, HU Xiajiang signed employ agreement with another lawyer (also from Beijing Univ.) in the same firm on that day. The lawyer said he'd go to the provincial Justice Department on July 20 to report the situation to concerned officials, and if the Bureau of Police in Hangzhou city made trouble, the provincial Justice Department might help to make things smoother. However, after he went to provincial Justice Department on July 20, he immediately returned the payment and said nothing but apology, and that the provincial Justice Department had known about this case. We knew that he must be exerted great pressure, otherwise how could he break the agreement after receiving the payment? Actually, it was already not normal that he went to provincial Justice Department to report the situation. According to the laws, a lawyer should have the right to work independently, and this right should not be interfered by any government agency, organization or individual. It can be called "Chinese characteristic" that a lawyer ask the supervising government agency for instructions when to accept a case. At the same time that we showed understanding, we no longer had optimistic prediction for hiring lawyers. The plan was suspended that we hired 2 lawyers for each person. It was already not easy to find only one. What's more, after the Bureau of Police in Hangzhou and the justice agencies learned that we were looking for lawyers, the possibility increased that lawyers got interfered and threatened. On July 20, WANG Peijian accompanied CHENG Yunhui, WANG Donghai's wife, to sign an employ agreement with a lawyer in Zhihe Law Firm.

In order to minimize the lawyer's worry, WANG Peijian emphasized repeatedly that we only wanted the lawyer to make defense on law and facts, not on values. Actually, that lawyer had asked the city Bureau of Justice for instruction, and the person in charge gave him 2 points: 1, work according to the procedure;

2, don't make defense for innocence, otherwise it would be equal to recognizing WANG Donghai, etc.'s opinions. Here the justice agencies directly interfered in the defense of the case, and the lawyer didn't dare to show any different opinions. The laws became a mere scrap of paper which stipulate that the lawyer has the right to work independently and the defendant should be assumed to be innocent before the judgement!

On July 22, ZHU Zhengming's family hired a lawyer in Kunlun Law Firm. Later the lawyer told Zhu's wife, he "felt great pressure" after accepting this task.

A law firm famous in Hangzhou (Guozi Law Firm) hurried to convoke a meeting of its lawyers and told them absolutely not to accept this case after they heard we were going to hire lawyers, as if faced with a formidable enemy. That is to say, not only would a lawyer be troubled by the judicial agencies if he

wanted to accept this kind of "sensitive" case, but also his law firm could forbid him to accept it. Let along other government agencies, organizations and individuals, only a lawyer's direct superiors can set up 2 barriers.

On July 25, LIN Zumian, LIN Hui's father, traveled a long way to Hangzhou to hire a lawyer for LIN Hui. (During the investigation period, no one except the lawyer had the right to meet the one in custody, while

there had been no news about LIN Hui ever since he was put into a lockup in Huangyan on July 15 by Huangyan city's police under the name of "supervised residence".) He went to at least 5 law firms, but couldn't found any lawyer to hire. A certain lawyer assumed the case to be a common criminal one at first, but after he read the open declaration of CDP, he trembled and took out his medical record to show to us, claiming that he couldn't accept this case because of heavy diseases. This scene made us be covered by grief. Under a dictatorship system, people avoid political issues as if avoiding fierce floods and savage beasts, worrying that they would be troubled permanently once they get involved. When can this kind of manmade fear disappear from Chinese people's mind! (In my impression, it is stated in the international

human rights conventions that people should be able to "have political activities with freedom from fear", however, this is impossible in China.)

On July 26, ZHU Zhengming was released but supervised at residence. LIN hui was still detained in a lockup in Huangyan, a city far from Hangzhou. There was no news about him, and us friends were very worried. On Aug. 2, LIN Zumian, LIN hui's father, sent an letter of intent to a friend in Liaoning province, wanting to hire a lawyer in Liaoning to provide legal assist to LIN hui. At the same time, WANG wenjiang, a lawyer in Liaoning province, got into trouble because of the five point statement about CDP case declared with some other lawyers, and another article. At first, the Bureau of Justice in Anshan, Liaoing talked to him many times and demand him not to work in this respect. WANG wenjiang argued on the basis of reason. Seeing that they themselves couldn't prevent WANG from going to Hangzhou, the Bureau of Justice demand the law firm where WANG worked not to give out any document that a lawyer needed to accept a criminal case, including the law firm's letter of introduction, the lawyer's certificate of entrustment, the official form for appealing to meet the detained party, the employ agreement, etc. For a

common case, the lawyer should have empty certificate of entrustment and letter of introduction for convenient use. Without a nation-wide arrangement and requirement, it is hard to imagine that lawyers met obstacle everywhere. The same thing happened to lawyer LIN Jianping in Liaoning province when he was about to accept LIN Zumian's employ. The chief of the Lawyer Management Section in the city's Bureau of Justice himself talked to lawyer LIN and demand him not to accept this case. When LIN asked if the chief could find any legal basis that a lawyer shouldn't accept this kind of case, the answer was: I was the section chief, and you couldn't since I said you couldn't (this is the general idea of his words). A political case is hindered everywhere. Lawyers in China are just working in this kind of social environment.

The Chinese Lawyer's Society and the regional lawyer societies, which should protect lawyer's rights, never showed up in such obvious offend of lawyer's rights by the authorities. During the process to hire lawyers, several lawyers told WANG Peijian that even for ordinary criminal cases it is also common that the police interfere and harass lawyers. Though the phenomenon that lawyers in China "rush in economic lawsuits, delay in civil ones, push away in criminal ones" can be partially explained by concern for economic income, it is also closely related to the fact that there are great interference in criminal cases and lawyer can't be effectively protected. The lawyer's societies are most active when collecting fees, but seldom consider how to create better professional environment for lawyers, and performed little service and protection function.

After accepting this case, WANG Youcai's lawyer submitted all the required documents to the Bureau of Police in Hangzhou on July 20 and wanted to meet WANG. Upon knowing that WANG Youcai's family has hired a lawyer for him, the chief of the first section in the Bureau of Police in Hangzhou called the

director in Huifeng Law Firm immediately and asked if they knew the property of this case. When the director answered it was a criminal case, the section chief said, this was not a common criminal case but a political case (his real purpose is to make this law firm retreat before difficulties and break the employ agreement). He was frustrated by Huifeng Law Firm's answer: "there is simply a criminal case in the lawyer's eye, and lawyer can only speak based on laws and facts". WANG Donghai's lawyer got such a written instruction: "work according to the procedure; don't make defense for innocence". He did nothing except submitting a request for meeting, and hasn't met with WANG Donghai up to now. ZHU Zhengming's lawyer acted the same way, and even after the police extorted 400 RMB as "fee for supervised residence" without any reason, he not only didn't use his right of appealing and suing, but also didn't explain if the police really offended the law by extorting this 400 RMB and how to deal with it. In summary, he didn't provide any legal assistance after getting the fee for hiring. The police surely won't trouble him seeing that he acted as if he didn't not accepted the entrustment at all. This is the reason that the police in Hangzhou said his was "very suitable".

In China, you must be first "politically qualified" in order to work as a lawyer (at least you have to be so in the face; most of the law firms' directors are CCP members). Originally WANG Peijian worked in a law firm in Hangzhou. He was detained by the National Security Bureau of Hangzhou from late March to early April for 9 days under the charge that he was suspected of endangering national security. The reason is that he organized an open studying group with several friends, which was regarded as a planed organization with scheme. Further more, he had some radical words and pointed out that the government had illegal and unconstitutional acts, which enhanced some people's belief that WANG's group really had scheme (this in consistent with a saying: where there are few political organizations, there are also few ordinary organizations, because few people dare to organize when they would be suspected to plot to subvert the government once they organized). WANG left the law firm at the end of April. At that time, a employee in that firm quoted the authorities' words: "A lawyer who speaks for human rights and civil rights is not expected among the lawyer's in Zhejiang." However, President JIANG promised to "increase democracy and improve human rights conditions". Why is it guilty to advocate human rights and civil rights? What politics this is?

Hope the lawyer's professional environment will be improved through their own effort and pressure from every respects, in order that a justified lawyer system will be enjoyed by every Chinese citizen.