China is cracking down on Christians and underground Churches, and one of the only venues for justice for these Christians is through lawyers who are willing to fight their cases in court. The below article discusses how human rights lawyers are fighting to help Christians, and their persecuted plight in China .
In China , lawyers use narrow legal window to fight for justice
By Jehangir S. Pocha
The Boston Globe (02/05/06)
To read the full article, click here: In China, Lawyers Use Narrow Legal Window to Fight for Justice
BEIJING – Law is becoming the new frontier for China ‘s political dissidents, and a new generation of activist lawyers is increasingly using the slim rights that China ‘s constitution affords its citizens to challenge the country’s authoritarian rulers.
The lawyers’ attempts to breathe life into China ‘s laws have made them folk heroes with many in China ‘s underclass. That is mainly because the legal activism has focused on problems affecting the daily lives of common people, such as land grabs, unpaid pensions, illegal arrests, and local corruption.
”The moment we got into trouble people told us: ‘Go to Gao. He can help you,’ ” said Cai Laiyi, 62, a Christian evangelist in Beijing , referring to Gao Zhisheng, a lawyer helping to fight the conviction of Cai’s son for running an illegal church.
The Communist Party is striking back. Authorities recently shut down Gao’s office, and many lawyers taking on the government say that they are being singled out for harassment and that their cases are being undermined by biased judges.
”The law is being twisted in this country by the same people who wrote it,” said Gao, a self-educated lawyer who began by doing pro bono work only 10 percent of the time but soon made human rights cases the major focus of his practice. ”The government does not want to enforce the law; it only likes to create laws full of good words to fool the people.”
On paper, China ‘s constitution reads like one from any moderately liberal country. Last year, the government even enshrined the words ”human rights” and ”property rights” within the pages of the document.
But when lawyers such as Gao have tried to exploit these narrow legal openings, they say, the government has short-circuited them with a mixture of heavy-handed and velvet-gloved tactics.
To read the full story, click here: In China, Lawyers Use Narrow Legal Window to Fight for Justice