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Posts tagged as “chinese legal system”

You Can’t Argue About the Law in Here! This is a Courtroom!

One of the primary reasons that China cannot be trusted as a business or trade partner, and also one of the primary reasons that it is one of the world’s foremost violators of human rights, is because China does not have a free, fair, and independent legal system. There is no effective rule of law in China; rather, legal decisions are based on what CCP bosses or other influential people want them to be. Judges are entirely beholden to the CCP, and often do not have any legal training whatsoever. On top of that, the Chinese reliance on guan xi (关系) – a term that is hard to translate, but roughly means relationships, connections, and influence – for solving problems and decision making makes the legal system incredibly corrupt. Declarations of guilt or innocence, who is right or wrong in contract negotiations, and so on, depend as much or more on guan xi as they do on what the law actually says or on the facts and evidence at hand.

To be sure, China does have laws, and when non-Chinese read the laws (translated), they often even sound good and right. The problem is that the laws are not fairly or evenly enforced, not just because of the guan xi issue we described above, but also because lawyers are themselves often charged with crimes for advocating for their clients!

Read this heartbreaking story from the Hong Kong Free Press.

Stories like this are all too common in China. Lawyers who advocate for their clients’ rights are often arrested and disappeared – held incommunicado for months or years, with no contact with their families or their own lawyers.

[Lawyer] Yu [Wensheng] was detained in Beijing in January 2018 in front of his young son after he wrote an open letter calling for constitutional reforms, including multi-candidate elections.
He was later charged with “inciting subversion of state power”.

Hong Kong Free Press article

Human rights lawyers are especially targeted by the CCP, as was the case here, and charged with nonsense crimes like “inciting subversion of state power” or “subverting public order” – the usual kind of things that fascist dictatorships make up to give legal cover to their oppression and abuse. However, lawyers in other kinds of cases, like contract disputes between Chinese companies and western companies, have also been targeted, if they happen to argue too effectively or vociferously for their foreign client’s rights and interests. Western companies doing business in China should not expect to be treated fairly or in accordance with the law if they happen to get into a dispute with a Chinese company.

This is all part and parcel of the CCP’s oppression of human rights in China. It is why the people of Hong Kong are so vehemently opposed to the (now withdrawn) extradition bill that would allow Hong Kong citizens to be extradited to mainland China for “trial.” The CCP simply cannot be trusted – for many reasons, not least of which is that there is no rule of law in China. China’s abominable treatment of lawyers is one more proof of that.

Human Rights Watch on Torture by Chinese Police

In a post here on China Daily News yesterday, we talked about the case of Yang Hengjun, a Chinese-born Australian citizen, who was seized by the Chinese police, held incommunicado for seven months, and then finally charged with espionage – a charge that could lead to the death penalty. The Australian government has been demanding his return – and rightly so.

An article by Human Rights Watch details one of the many reasons China’s “legal” system causes so much concern, and why the Hong Kong people are fighting so desperately against the extradition bill.

“We heard appalling stories of detainees being hung by the wrists, shackled for years, and terrorized by cell bosses, yet having no real means to hold their tormentors to account,” [Sophie] Richardson said [China director of Human Rights Watch]. “It’s hard to square such consistent accounts of abuse with claims by President Xi Jinping that the government respects the rule of law.”

China’s criminal justice system facilitates numerous opportunities for the police to abuse suspects and gives them enormous power over the judiciary, hindering any accountability efforts. Police alone make all initial decisions to deprive suspects of their liberty, and can subject them to 37 days of repeated instances of incommunicado interrogation before the procuratorate must approve their arrests. This contrasts starkly to the requirement in Hong Kong and many other jurisdictions, where suspects have to be brought before a judge within 48 hours of being apprehended.

Human Rights Watch – emphasis by China Daily News

No country has a perfect legal system, but seriously, would anyone willingly live under China’s system, where justice is arbitrary, judges are controlled by the CCP, lawyers are routinely charged with crimes for defending their clients, no one has a right to a trial by jury of peers or to face accusers, people are held for months or even years without charges, without the right to see a lawyer or family, and under the threat of torture to “confess” to crimes? China’s propagandists and apologists would have you believe that it’s only China’s internal business and no one has a right to say anything about it. No. When people are tortured and deprived of the inalienable human rights that all people, everywhere, naturally have, it is the whole world’s business.

Why is Hong Kong’s Extradition Bill Such a Big Deal?

For people that have been following the protests in Hong Kong, but perhaps not closely, they may have heard that the protests began because of an “extradition bill” that was introduced by the Hong Kong government. That bill (an amendment to Hong Kong’s “Basic Law”) would allow people accused of some crimes to be extradited to mainland China to face trial.

So, why is that a big deal? Lots of countries have extradition treaties with other countries, right?Those of us living in countries where the legal system is (usually) fair and impartial, where our rights are guaranteed by a constitution or in the law may have trouble understanding why the Hong Kong people have been fighting and protesting so hard against that bill. Is it really worth all of the violence and mayhem that Hong Kong has endured for so long?

A Financial Times article demonstrates exactly why so many Hong Kongers believe it is.

[Australian citizen] Yang Hengjun has been held in China since January, when he disappeared in the southern city of Guangzhou, as his wife and child awaited visas to travel to Australia.

Marise Payne, Australia’s foreign minister, said the government was “very concerned and disappointed” to learn of Mr Yang’s formal arrest and criticised the harsh conditions he has been held in for seven months without charge.

“Since that time, China has not explained the reasons for Dr Yang’s detention, nor has it allowed him access to his lawyers or family visits,” she said. “I respectfully reiterate my previous requests that if Dr Yang is being held for his political beliefs, he should be released.”

Under Chinese law, the penalties for espionage include imprisonment or the death penalty.

Financial Times – emphasis by China Daily News

This is China’s “legal” system. They seize citizens of other countries that disagree with their policies with impunity, hold them for months without contact with their families or lawyers and without charging them. And when they do finally charge them, the charges are clearly politically motivated and for crimes that could result in the death penalty. It would be ridiculous if it weren’t so despicable and horrendous.

No one should think for a second that the CCP is in any way some sort of “benign dictatorship,” just wanting to grow their economy and make their citizens happy. No. As long as you toe the party line, you probably are fine, but if you dare criticize them, you are in danger.

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