Eleven members of the House of Representatives are calling upon Chinese President Hu Jintao to “demonstrate that the rule of law” being observed in the country as he had earlier stated.
The bipartisan members of the U.S. Congress, drawn from both the Democrats and the Republicans sent a Congressional letter to President Hu on 8 September, expressing deep concern for the Chinese commitment to rule of law, and calling for the renewal of licenses for Chinese human rights lawyers and the guarantee of legal rights according to the rule of law in China.
They reminded Hu that following the conclusion of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue on July 28, the United States and China issued a joint release affirming "the importance of the rule of law to our two countries." They said, “Given this recent statement, we are writing to express our deep concern over the latest developments regarding numerous Chinese Lawyers.”
The Congressmen listed the names of Jiang Tiangyong, Li Heping, Li Xiongbing, Li Chunfu and others, 11 attorneys in all, who are currently prohibited from practicing law; they said the list is not exhaustive.
They said that they have received reports from organizations in touch with these lawyers indication that their law licenses have not been renewed or in some cases have been altogether cancelled by local judicial authorities and lawyers' associations.
The letter especially addresses the recent arrest of Open Constitution Initiative (OCI) leader Xu Zhiyong who was detained on 29 June, and they also express their deep concern over human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who was taken into Chinese custody six months ago.
“Although we were pleased to learn that Mr. Xu was released on bail on Sunday, August 23, we remain concerned that OCI has been prevented from operating and continuing the important work it has done to advance rule of law in China,” they wrote.
They said, “As you (President HU) stated in a June meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, ‘the rule of law should let the people be masters of the country.’”
“We urge you to demonstrate that China is committed to the establishment of the rule of law,” they concluded.
The signatories from Republican party are Frank R. Wolf, Bob Inglis, Scott Garrett, Christopher H. Smith, Daniel E. Lungren, Anh ‘Joseph’ Cao, and Thaddeus G. McCotter; and from the Democratic party are Bill Pascrell, Jr., Steven Cohen, Lloy Dogget and Walk Minnick.
U.S.-based ChinAid Association said it received a word on Tuesday that that human rights Attorney Li Dunyong, who is not mentioned in the list, has succeeded in renewing his license to practice law.
CP Asia Correspondent