Chinese authorities have refused to renew the licenses of over a dozen Chinese lawyers as a means of punishing them for taking on politically sensitive cases, according to well-known rights defense lawyer Jiang Tianyong.
Among those affected are Wang Quanzhang, Xiong Daiying, Liang Xiaojun, Li Xiongbing, and others. Those men have all in the past attempted to use the legal system to defend practitioners of Falun Gong, a spiritual practice that has been persecuted by the authorities since 1999.
They are typically known as “weiquan,” or rights defense, lawyers in Chinese, because they attempt to use the Chinese legal system to defend the rights of their clients.
A number of the lawyers who had their licenses cancelled had also traveled to a “legal education center,” otherwise known as a brainwashing center, in Ziyang City of Sichuan Province earlier this month, to draw attention to the extralegal methods of persecution employed against Falun Gong practitioners.
Beginning June 1, their licenses will no longer be effective. Jiang Tianyong announced the news in a five-part message on Twitter.