Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Political standards for lawyers

China announced new standards for lawyers, the first one being "political performance."

China’s Communist Party to evaluate lawyers based on ‘political performance’
China is tightening its grip on the legal sector, with plans for a ­professional standard based to a great extent on each lawyer’s “political performance”…

Under the new system, lawyers will be classified into nine specialist areas, ranging from criminal law to intellectual property law. The system would help people seeking legal services to narrow their search, the notice said.

But lawyers would have to meet four criteria to be listed, the top one being political correctness, followed by record of “integrity”, length of experience and professional skills.

The political performance assessment includes supporting the Communist Party’s leadership and “socialist rule by law”, abiding by the constitution and law, and observing the legal profession’s ethics and discipline.

Length of service and professional abilities were the last criteria, the notice said.

Guangzhou-based lawyer Chen Jinxue said the move would not directly affect rights lawyers who relied on personal reputation rather than party allegiance to attract clients.

But the move would “marginalise and isolate lawyers who focus on human rights cases and those who seek to challenge unfair judicial practices”, he said…

Many said the rules were draconian, while others said they were designed to silence lawyers critical of the authorities. Under the amendments, law firms could have their licences revoked permanently if their lawyers pressured judicial authorities…

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