In 1998, Gu Kailai, already a successful lawyer married to then rising political star Bo Xilai, published a book about the American legal system. She praised the mainland’s swift and certain death-penalty prosecutions of alleged murderers, in contrast to the lengthy, exhaustive scrutiny that capital prosecutions are subjected to in American courts. Gu undoubtedly never thought that she might become a world symbol for the failings of the country’s criminal justice.
Posts Tagged ‘ role of lawyers ’
In a global effort to attain “soft power” matching its growing economic and military prowess, China spends huge sums operating Confucius Institutes at hundreds of foreign universities and internationalising its media outlets. The goal is to promote respect for its contemporary civilisation and thereby enhance the government’s political influence and image. Yet the effects of these programmes – unlike similar efforts by democratic countries – are undermined by daily reports of not only the repression of basic freedoms by the “people’s democratic dictatorship”, but also the unfair criminal justice system that is the major instrument of this repression.
A Letter to the Editor in response to Professor Cohen’s article of June 7 written by Hyeon-Ju Rho, former China Country Director for the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative China Program, appeared in the South China Morning Post’s print and on-line editions of June 11, 2011.
The Chinese government’s current campaign to intimidate and suppress the country’s small number of “human rights lawyers” seems to be succeeding where previous campaigns fell short. Most of the courageous lawyers already released from incommunicado detention that lasts several days to several months remain disturbingly quiet.
It is now twenty-three days since artist-activist Ai Weiwei’s detention by Beijing police. Yet foreign media interest has not flagged, despite the silence of the Chinese legal system and Chinese government efforts to manipulate information.