I would like to briefly introduce to you what happened to Mr. Guo Guoting, a respected attorney in Shanghai who ‘dared’ to accept the defence of several well-known dissidents and Falun Gong practitioners who are being persecuted by the Chinese Government.
Lawyer Guo Guoting was voted ‘Best Maritime Law Attorney’ by the ‘Legal 500’ group. He has served as an arbiter for the Chinese Committee for Maritime Law, is a member of the international organisation for lawyers specializing in maritime law as well as of the committee for international trade law and has held visiting professorships at several Chinese Universities. He has translated and written almost a dozen law-related books and more than two hundred treatises about business disputes, arbitration, international economics and maritime law.
In June 2003, Guo Guoting started to accept human rights and civil rights cases, although the Chinese Government has officially banned all attorneys from defending Falun Gong practitioners.
Judicial courts, which deal with those cases, have to take orders from the “6-10 Office”. The 6-10 Office is an organisation operating outside the law which appropriates the authority of the judicial courts in contradiction of the law.
It is indeed surprising that a Chinese lawyer would even accept the defence of Falun Gong practitioners, thus challenging the party, the government, the judicial courts and the police of a country that routinely violates the human rights of its citizens.
On February 23rd 2005, several cadres of the Shanghai Justice Ministry broke into the lawyer’s office and confiscated his computer and all of the files of his twenty year practice. Police officers are monitoring his home around the clock and his home phone is being answered by an answering machine; the Shanghai Justice Ministry has taken away his license and neither his family nor his friends have been able to contact him since March 10th.
On March 4th the Shanghai Justice Ministry prohibited him from working for one year.
I would like to ask you to intervene on his behalf with the appropriate authorities of the People’s Republic of China to end the persecution of this brave and steadfast defender of the law. We will not forget lawyer Guo Guoting!
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