Human rights lawyers not above the law

Source:Global Times Published: 2014-8-8 0:43:01

According to some foreign media reports, Gao Zhisheng, a lawyer who was put into prison three years ago on the charge of inciting subversion of State power, was released on Thursday. He made headlines in Western media very quickly, becoming another prominent Chinese dissident.

Many Western media labeled Gao a "rights lawyer," a title which is controversial in the legal world. Defending the rights of clients is what a lawyer signs up to do, and it is unnecessary to overstate it. But in reality, this title has been imbued with special meanings.

All these so-called rights lawyers have clearly become politicized, because they unscrupulously put the role of government on the opposite side of the rule of law. In their mind, what rights lawyers do is delivering justice, and they are always law-abiding. Any investigation or verdict given to them can only be seen as evil.

Media reports from outside China claimed that Gao had written three public letters to the Chinese leaderships, calling for the suspension of the crackdown on the cult Falun Gong. However, Gao is not well-known among the Chinese public, and there is little information about him on the Chinese Internet. But we can still draw a profile of him.

Gao was given a three-year sentence but with a five-year probation. His sentence was finally executed as he violated the laws time and again before the probation ended.

As a radical activist, his advocacy is not in line with the direction of China's political and legal construction. Besides, his wife and children are now living in the US. Backed by many Western forces, unlike other lawyers, his connection with Chinese society has become different.

China is ramping up reform in all-out spheres, in which judicial construction is taking the lead. The philosophy of the rule of law has taken root in the Chinese public and it is applied in their daily lives.

Besides the authorities and ordinary people, a large group of lawyers are making unsung contributions to this endeavor.

It is a ridiculous notion to think that this handful of radical lawyers is acting as the engine to push the Chinese rule of law forward.

In the human rights issue, the West is knowingly sending a minority of Chinese dissidents into the spotlight, and keeps a cynical attitude toward China's achievements in this domain. People like Gao have become a lever used by the West when it plays political games with China.

Politics and the rule of law have never grown apart, and a person will sooner or later cross the red line if they are not in full compliance with the laws. That is how many "rights lawyers" become law breakers.

Gao had better wise up after he rejoins society. Being a so-called human rights star in the West doesn't give him immunity from China's rule of law. As for other dissidents, they should stop being that simple and naïve, laying their hopes on the West.

Posted in: Editorial

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