The American Bar Association Mumbles as Beijing Arrests Lawyers

beijing-lawyers-arrested

Not Such Good American Friends.

Every foreign business or nonprofit in China has to balance its principles with the realities of operating in a dictatorship. But what’s the point of claiming to promote the rule of law in China if your presence and silence serve as political cover for the worst legal abuses?

China’s recent arrests of human-rights lawyers have drawn protests from around the world, but there’s a notable, mumbling exception: the American Bar Association.

“ABA leaders acknowledge that the development of a just rule of law is a continuing struggle in every nation, including the United States.”

— ABA President William Hubbard

State security agents rounded up some 235 lawyers and other legal activists around the country last month, some of them grabbed, hooded and not heard from since. Beijing officials have railed against a “major criminal gang” of lawyers “plotting to stir up sensitive cases.”

Activists protest outside the Chinese embassy in Bangkok on August 6, 2015. Amnesty International staged a protest outside the Chinese embassy to demand the release of over 200 human rights lawyers and activists in China. AFP PHOTO / Nicolas ASFOURI

Amnesty International staged a protest outside the Chinese embassy to demand the release of over 200 human rights lawyers and activists in China. AFP/ Nicolas ASFOURI

Some brave voices inside China have spoken up for these political prisoners, as have legal groups in Hong Kong and Taiwan. The New York City Bar Association expressed “grave concern” and called on Beijing to “immediately release” those lawlessly detained, more than 20 of whom it cited by name.

Then there’s the ABA. In a five-paragraph statement last week, ABA President William Hubbard said his organization “encourages the Chinese Government to permit lawyers to discharge their professional duty to assure achievement of the fair and just legal system that the Communist Party has promised to all its citizens.” And that was the forceful part….(read more)

WSJ



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