With January 24th being the Day of the Endangered Lawyer, GLAN has marked the occasion with a submission to the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee Inquiry into UK-China Relations. This submission discusses the systematic monitoring and repression of lawyers and the undermining of legal autonomy by the Chinese Communist Party. Moreover the submission highlights how international law firms operating within China are compromised by this system as well as relevant transnational regulatory implications.
Concern for the independence of the legal profession were heightened by the harsh crackdown on human rights in lawyers that began in July 2015. Harrowing accounts of ill treatment continue to emerge, including the emergence of lawyer Li Chunfu (李春富) from over 500 days of incommunicado detention with signs of serious mental illness; the torture account of Lawyer Xie Yang (谢阳) in January 2017 , a 44-year-old lawyer, who remains in custody after he was detained in the central city of Changsha on 11 July 2015; and the reported torture of Lawyers Li Heping (李和平) and Wang Quanzhang (王全章), who have been held without access to independent counsel since July 2015, with electric shocks that made them faint . International law firms are far from immune from the coercive environment in which these practices occur; and the manner of regulation to which they must submit risks co-opting them leaving them incapable of respecting the fundamental rights of their clients.
GLAN's submission is expected to be published by the Inquiry at a later date.