Friday, May 9, 2014

When It Comes to Trials, Lawyers Are Gagged, But Not the State Press or Government Officials

In April, 2014, the Beijing Bar Association issued the "No. 9 Guidance on Professional Standards." (第9号规范执业指引) Some excerpts:
Lawyers have a plethora of channels for expressing their opinions and using and transmitting case information, and this had made it easier to garner public attention. As professionals, lawyers shall be rigorous and circumspect with public statements, and when making public or broadcasting information relating to a case shall comply with the standards of the legal profession. 
These Standards are hereby issued in order to promote the standardization and systematization of public statements and utilization of case information, and uphold the image of the legal profession. All members are asked to comply.
. . . .
Article 8. Before a judgment becomes effective, lawyers and law firms may not make public any case materials, defense pleadings, or appointment letters, or disclose case information to any non-relevant persons through any means including micro-blogs [weibos] or blogs.


On May 7, 2014, London's Guardian newspaper published a letter from Miao Deyu, Spokesman, Chinese embassy in the UK. Some excerpts:
Investigation shows that Ilham Tohti used his identity as a lecturer at Minzu University of China and his website, Uighur Online, to incite "overthrowing the government", preach "Xinjiang independence", and openly call on Uighur people to carry out "violent struggle" "as in the fight against Japanese aggression". He also formed a criminal group around him aimed at splitting the nation. These activities constitute the violation of the Chinese law and jeopardise state security and social stability.
As previously noted in this blog, shortly after Tohti was arrested,  the state-sponsored Global Times published an editorial entitled “Leave No Chance for Malicious Preaching.” Some excerpts:
Indeed, Tohti is no ordinary Joe. Closely watched by the World Uyghur Congress, he is known to have often given aggressive lectures in class. He founded the Uighur Online website in 2006, which was very active around the riots in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in 2009, which left nearly 200 people dead.
As that blog post noted, shortly after Tohti was arrested, Sina Weibo began censoring searches for "Ilham." (伊力哈木)