Thursday, April 14, 2022

Zhengzhou Lawyers Association Bans Members from Contradicting the Party's Line

On March 31, 2022, the Zhengzhou Lawyers Association (郑州市律师协会) and the Henan Lawyer's Association Local Branch (河南省律师协会直属分会) jointly issued a notice titled "Notice on Strict Professional Disciplinary Norms for Lawyers' Online Speech Conduct" (关于严肃执业纪律规范律师网络言论行为的通知) on the Zhengzhou Lawyers Association website (archived here: 

Parts of the Notice appear directed at the kinds of civil-rights actions that led to subversion charges for the "7.09" rights defense lawyers - and in fact several of those prosecutions related to actions that occurred in Zhengzhou. For more on that see Section 6 of "State Prosecutions of Speech in the People's Republic of China" available at

Some excerpts from the Notice:

Individual lawyers are keen to use online self-publishing platforms to make inappropriate remarks about cases (events), disclose the facts of the case, sensationalize cases in violation of regulations, and even express nonobjective and improper comments on the Internet on major decisions and operations of the Party and the State, as well as social hot-button issues.
. . . .
1. Lawyers and law firms shall adhere to a correct political and public opinion orientation, and shall not publish the following types of remarks, articles or information through the Internet:

  • Contradicting the Party’s line, principles, and policies;
  • Denying the leadership of the Communist Party of China;
  • Denying the socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics;
  • Inciting dissatisfied feelings toward the Party and the government;
  • Creating opposition between the Party and the masses and intensifying social conflicts;
  • Initiating, mobilizing, or participating in organizations that endanger national security;
  • Supporting and mobilizing people to participate in activities that endanger national security;
  • Using current political news, social events, and other "hot button" issues to take advantage to sensationalize a situation and affect national political security

. . . .
2. Lawyers and law firms shall not use the Internet  to handle cases in the following ways to influence administrative organs, supervisory organs, judicial organs, and procuratorial organs:

  • Coordinating groups, co-signing petitions, and publishing open letters;
  • Organizing online gatherings and solidarity actions;
  • Publishing or inciting or instigating the parties or other persons to publish misleading, false, speculative and other inappropriate comments on the case through the Internet, etc., to create an influence;
  • Maliciously sensationalizing a case being handled by oneself or other lawyers or law firms in order to create pressure from public opinion and influence the handling of the case in accordance with the law;
  • Other acts of sensationalizing cases in an improper way.

. . . .
Disciplinary action shall be taken against anyone who does not monitor the online speech and behavior of Association lawyers, and anyone who discovers problems but does not correct them in a timely manner, including warnings, notification of criticism, and public condemnation. If the circumstances are severe, disciplinary sanctions will be imposed with a suspension of membership rights. If the circumstances are particularly severe, the Provincial Lawyers Association will be advised to impose the disciplinary action of disqualification of membership in accordance with the procedures.
. . . .
Each law firm shall conduct a centralized study and discussion on this notice and relevant laws, regulations, and rules, and communicate the relevant requirements to each practicing lawyer.


1. 律师、律师事务所应当坚持正确政治方向和舆论导向,不得通过网络发表下列言论、文章或信息:违背党的路线方针政策、否定中国共产党的领导、否定中国特色社会主义法治;煽动对党和政府的不满情绪,制造党群对立,激化社会矛盾;发起、动员参与危害国家安全组织;支持、动员参与危害国家安全活动;利用时政新闻、社会事件等"蹭热点",借势进行渲染炒作,影响国家政治安全。
. . . .
2. 律师、律师事务所不得利用网络以下列方式影响行政机关、监察机关、审判机关、检察机关办理案件:串联组团、联署签名、发表公开信;组织网上聚集、声援;通过网络等发布或煽动、教唆当事人或其他人员通过网络等传播媒介对案件发表误导性、虚假性、推测性等不当评论,制造影响;恶意炒作自己或者其他律师、律师事务所正在办理的案件,借以制造舆论压力,影响案件依法办理;其他以不正当方式炒作案件的行为。
. . . .
. . . .

Several law firms posted accounts of their training sessions on their websites. For example, the Tanyan Law Firm (坦言事务所) posted this image under the caption "Participants discussed the boundaries of lawyers' online speech based on the content of the Notice and their own circumstances, and said that they would adhere to the bottom line, enhance their risk awareness, maintain a clear understanding of sensitive topics and areas, and abide by laws and regulations to prevent inappropriate speech conduct." (参会人员就通知内容结合自身情况,对律师网络言论边界进行了讨论,并表示一定会守住底线,提升风险意识,对敏感话题及领域保持清醒认识,依法依规,杜绝不当言论行为的发生。).

The sign on the wall reads "The Party Membership Oath."
Original URL:
Archive of Google's cached version:

The Yuzun Law Firm (豫尊律师事务所) said on its website that "This intensive study improved our lawyers' professional risk control ability and political consciousness" (经过本次集中学习,提高了本所律师的职业风险把控能力及政治觉悟).

The sign behind the white board reads "The Party is in My Heart."
Original URL:

A senior partner at the Yilong Law Firm (怡龙律师事务) told the firm's lawyers that "all lawyers must improve their political stance" (全体律师一定要提高政治站位), and that they should "further strengthen their management of established social networking groups such as WeChat and QQ, and self-publishing platforms such as WeChat official account and short videos" (进一步加强对建立的微信群、QQ群等网络社交群和公众号、短视频等自媒体的管理). 

The sign behind the group says "One Party Member, One Banner, One Branch, One Fortress."
Original URL:

Translation: Xu Zhiyong's Statement in His Own Defense

 Source: China Digital Times: On April 10, 2023, Xu Zhiyong, a well-known human rights de...