Examining protection of Chinese defense lawyers rights in criminal proceedings
This thesis examines the human rights situation of defense lawyers in China. It describes how difficulties in handling criminal cases may affect the rate of legal representation in criminal cases. This thesis analyzes the deep roots of the current plight of defense lawyers through an examination of the obstacles Chinese defense lawyers face in the pre-trial stage. Criminal defense lawyers run the risk of being arrested and accused of “evidence fabrication” under Article 306 of the Criminal Law, and attacked by the victim’s family or judicial organs. Furthermore, lawyers face difficulties in meeting with clients, getting prosecutions files, investigating and collecting evidence. The lack of an independent judiciary and autonomous bar association along with the presence of various cultural and institutional obstacles, contribute to the deterioration of the legal environment in which lawyers must practice. Thus to improve that legal environment and to promote the status of defense lawyers, the Chinese government should speed up the process of judicial reform. Finally, the thesis makes recommendations to both the government and National People’s Congress by urging them to comply with various international conventions concerning the rights of lawyers.