The Price of Believing in the Law

Chinese rights attorney Xu Zhiyong is yet another activist who is being prosecuted by the Chinese government for trying to practice the law. The New York Times reports on his detention and arrest, on a bogus charge of tax evasion. The law in China is something that exists as a paper mache facade intended to give the ruling Communist Party cover to do things like host the Olympics. Yet it provides no recourse qua law and indeed the law is a reflection of the rule of the Party over any legal structure. To wit, the Times reports:

Last week, China’s justice minister gave a speech saying lawyers should above all obey the Communist Party and help foster a harmonious society. To improve discipline, the minister said, all law firms in China would be sent party liaisons to “guide their work.”

Certainly any other rights lawyers who disobey the “guidance” of CCP “liaisons” will face a similar fate as Xu, to be disappeared within their own legal system around bogus charges that serve only to further undermine the rule of law these lawyers are striving to uphold.

Sadly, I doubt the international community, from the US on down, will ever do or say anything to encourage the Chinese government to honor the rule of law. And so the Chinese government will continue to get away with the use of law as a means of suppressing dissent.

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