The license to practice of Chinese human rights attorney Lu Siwei was suspended on Wednesday after a disciplinary hearing in the province of Sichuan, citing his public comments on the case of the Hong Kong 12.
Last December 4, the justice department of Sichuan Province in southwestern China issued a notice, accusing Lu of “making inappropriate remarks online multiple times.” Moreover, it said Lu’s remarks had “severely damaged the image of the lawyer sector” and had “negative impacts on society.”
As a result, the department said it was entitled to revoke his license in accordance with local laws.
Faced with the loss of his license to practice law, Lu opted for a full hearing. He was dragged into the building by police officers on Wednesday as he showed up at the Sichuan provincial department of justice in Chengdu.
“Lawyer Lu Siwei was escorted to the justice department directly from his home in his wife’s car,” a lawyer at the scene, who asked to remain anonymous, told RFA on Wednesday.
“He wasn’t allowed contact with anyone else, and was taken straight inside the building. His two lawyers were intercepted — one of them got to go inside after a struggle,” the lawyer said.
XieYanyi, who represented Lu at the hearing, dismissed the evidence brought by officials against Lu at the hearing.
“The allegations made by the investigators during the hearing over Lu Siwei’s so-called violations of law and discipline were entirely fictitious; they didn’t hold water,” Xie told RFA.
He said the hearing had ended with the suspension of Lu’s license.
“The Sichuan department of justice made no attempt to investigate the allegations, and just issued a notice of suspension of [Lu’s] license without bothering to verify the details,” Xie said. “It should at least have conducted a preliminary investigation.”
He said the conduct of the hearing was tantamount to persecution.
“Everyone inside the room were insiders; this was basically a behind-closed-doors hearing,” he said. “The whole process was illegal right from the start.”
“Rushing to an administrative punishment in such a way … is essentially illegal persecution,” Xie said.
Consular staff sent by foreign diplomatic missions, including those of Canada, Denmark, France, the United Kingdom and the United States, were also denied entry to the hearing, which was then held behind closed doors.
The lawyer said there was a strong police presence outside the building, with checkpoints at either end of the street.
Fellow rights attorney Ren Quanniu, who also faces the loss of his lawyer’s license for defending another of the Hong Kong 12, Xu Yan, wife of rights attorney Yu Wensheng, was taken away by police, the lawyer said.
Lu and Ren both received notification around New Year that their licenses were being reviewed by their local judicial affairs bureaus because they had “posted inappropriate remarks” online.
Ren’s hearing will be held on Jan. 19.
On Dec. 31, 2020, a court in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong handed down jail terms of up to three years to 10 of the 12 Hong Kong protesters detained on Aug. 23 as they tried to flee a national security crackdown in the city, on charges linked to “illegally crossing a border.” (Source: RFA)