Lawyers for Lawyers is concerned about the revocation of the licenses of two lawyers from China. Both lawyers represented one of the 12 Hong Kong human rights activists who were caught at sea while trying to flee to Taiwan.

Lu Siwei, a human rights lawyers who represented one of the 12 Hong Kong human rights activists who were caught at sea while trying to flee to Taiwan, has had his license revoked on 15 January. Ren Quanniu, who also represents one of the 12 activists, is facing the same fate. His hearing was supposed to have taken place on 19 January, but was moved at the last minute. Both lawyers are charged with making comments that ‘have a negative impact on society’.

The two lawyers were hired by family members of the activists, but it was reported that they were barred from visiting their clients throughout the legal process. The activists had to rely on government-chosen lawyers instead. Lu Siwei and Ren Quanniu are known for taking up politically sensitive cases.

In 2015, China clamped down on the country’s rights lawyers, leading to at least 321 victims, including lawyers, law firm staff, human rights activists and family members. Secret trials are known to have been held, with human rights lawyers being summarily convicted after prolonged incommunicado detention, often in undisclosed locations.

Since 2015, the suppression also assumed another more discrete face, in the form of the filtering out of lawyers who have taken on politically sensitive cases. Such lawyers have been subjected to administrative sanctions including, but not limited to, suspension and invalidation of their practice licences.

Lawyers for Lawyers expresses its concern over the recent developments surrounding suspension and revoking of the practise licenses of taking on politically sensitive cases. We will continue to monitor the cases of Lu Siwei en Ren Quanniu.