Interesting – I had not come across this particular document before. This is an April 24, 2009 Ministry of Justice (MOJ) opinion launching a one-year campaign emphasizing the role of lawyers as “Socialist Legal Workers With Chinese Characteristics.” (中国特色社会主义法律工作者)
That phrasing in Chinese is so close to the pre-1996 definition of lawyers as “State Legal Workers” ( 国家法律工作着) that one has to wonder if it is intentional. Perhaps a warning shot to lawyers that core principles remain unchanged?
Some key points from the opinion:
- Emphasizes that Chinese lawyers must uphold Party leadership and the “Three Supremes”
- Emphasizes that Chinese lawyers must “consciously resist the plots of Western enemy forces to infiltrate the thinking of lawyers.”
- Four-stage campaign, begun in May 2009.
It certainly explains a lot of the difficulties that Chinese public interest lawyers have been experiencing over the last year . . .
And it's not going to end anytime soon. The original opinion stated that the campaign was to end in May 2010. But on February 1, the Ministry of Justice issued a new opinion extending it through the end of 2010.