Over 60 human rights organizations, bar associations, scholars and Chinese human rights activists marked China Human Rights Lawyers Day on July 10 by remembering the Chinese government’s roundup of over 300 human rights lawyers and legal assistants in the days following July 9, 2015, in what is known as the ‘709 crackdown’.
In a joint statement issued by the group, the signatories called on the Chinese government to:
- Put an end to its crackdown on human rights lawyers and defenders;
- Immediately and unconditionally release all those arbitrarily detained; and
- Amend laws and regulations, including national security legislation, its Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure Law, to bring them into full compliance with international human rights standards; and meaningfully cooperate with the United Nations human rights bodies to that end
The statement said “Human rights lawyers are a cornerstone of China’s human rights movement. From Uyghurs, Tibetans and Hong Kongers, to religious minorities, LGBTQI and feminist advocates, journalists, and political dissidents: human rights lawyers defend the full spectrum of civil society. They accompany and empower the most vulnerable against land evictions, discrimination, health scandals, or extra-legal detention. They embody the promise of rule of law and hold the government accountable to its commitments under China’s constitution, laws, and the international human rights treaties it has ratified. They ensure that no one is left behind.”