Seven years ago today, China Law and Policy (“CL&P”) was born. With Chinese language skills, a knowledge of Chinese history and an understanding of law, our goal was to offer a nuanced perspective on China, in particular its legal development and how that development shapes the rest of the world.
In the past seven years, many of our blog posts have focused on the growth, and recent retraction, of China’s human rights attorneys. We believe that legal development does not happen in a vacuum. While the most recent crackdown on human rights lawyers appears limited to just these lawyers, it is not. It reflects a ruling party ideology that is uncomfortable with – if not completely hostile to – a rule of law. Especially when that rule of law seeks to constrain the unbridled actions of the Chinese Communist Party, or more aptly, the actions of its chief, President Xi Jinping. The western public should not be surprised that China has no interest in abiding by the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s South China decision if it willy-nilly violates its own domestic laws, holding human rights attorneys in detention without access to lawyers and charging them with subversion.
As a result, CL&P’s mission is even more important now than when we first started. But since it is CL&P‘s birthday, it is time to take stock. Our reach continues to grow. We have over 5,500 followers over all of our platforms (twitter, facebook, email and RSS feed) and our posts continue to be cited by journalists, Congress, academics and other bloggers. Our most popular posts this year deal with issues that China is grappling with in its relationship with the rest of the world. Our post on the expulsion of French journalist Ursula Gauthier was by far the most popular post this year. But Anatomy of a Crackdown: China’s Assault on its Human Rights Lawyers, was a close second. Also in the top five were our analysis of China’s first gay marriage case and our review of Wang Nanfu’s movie, Hooligan Sparrow, a documentary on the life, times and adversity of feminist advocate Ye Haiyan. Our annual Lunar New Year greeting, a playful post in our “Just for Fun” category, again rounded out the top five.
While CL&P continues to thrive, I will admit that over the past few months, balancing this blog with other life events has been a challenge. Hence, a decrease in the level of posting. But going forward my commitment remains strong to continue this blog and to find even more voices to publicize through our podcasts and guest blogging program. So if you are interested in writing for CL&P or you have an idea for a blog post or podcast, please reach out: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Again, this year, I want to thank everyone who reads this blog and who has given me much needed comments, edits and information. But in particular, I want to thank a few individuals who have provided support, encouragement, and ideas that have sustained me through this year: Jerome Cohen, Amala Lane, Jeremy Daum, Andrea Worden, Edward Wong, Eva Pils, Tom Cantwell, Madhuri Kommareddi, Elise Brown and Jerome Lynch.
Finally, I want to thank the hundreds of Chinese public interest lawyers who continue to fight for the rights of China’s most vulnerable, even in the wake of the Chinese government’s efforts to end their work and obliterate their lawyering. From your practice of law and your tenacity I have learned much that I seek to apply in my work as a legal services attorney. I continue to be humbled by all that you do.
Thank You and Happy Birthday to China Law & Policy!