Announcing the Inaugural China Human Rights Lawyers’ Day
China’s human rights lawyers have since 2003 become one of the most active and effective forces in China advancing the ideals of universal values, because of their unique role and professional positions. Their work defending the civil rights and liberties of Chinese citizens extends from the internet to the streets, from courtrooms to jails. They’ve fought hard to promote the rule of law and democracy in China.
As prominent representatives of Chinese lawyers, human rights lawyers have been the target of the Chinese government’s persecution since the beginning of the rights defense movement in China. They’ve had their licenses to practice law revoked, they’ve been followed, threatened, publicly slandered by state media, abducted, disappeared, sent to forced labor camps, imprisoned for lengthy periods, and tortured. Persecution has become commonplace.
The persecution of rights lawyers in China reached its peak on July 9, 2015, known as the “709 Incident.” The barbarism, cruelty, and absurdity with which the Chinese Communist Party began persecuting 709 lawyers and activists, and the torture and humiliation they suffered, has shocked the world. The 709 lawyers’ own defense attorneys and supporters have put up courageous resistance. The unyielding support and advocacy by the wives of human rights lawyers, through smiles and tears, have become iconic images.
The 709 Incident isn’t over, yet it has already left a profound mark on the development of Chinese civilization. It’s far reaching political and historical significance will become clearer in time.
The date of July 9 must become one that we remember and mark from now on. For this reason, we call for the establishment of July 9 as “China Human Rights Lawyers’ Day.” To inaugurate the occasion we will hold an event in Washington, D.C. to celebrate the bravery, wisdom, and will to resist exhibited by human rights lawyers in China. We’ll recall their suffering and sacrifices, demand accountability for the crimes committed against them, whether by the regime or individuals, and call for the international community to continue monitoring their plight and advocating on their behalf.
We firmly believe that some day during the future, in a constitutionalism, democratic, and free China, we’ll mark July 9 as a day to honor and celebrate human rights lawyers in China, and it will become a day belonging to all China’s lawyers.
Plans for the Inaugural Chinese Human Rights Lawyers’ Day are as follows:
Location: 1701 20th St NW, Washington, DC 20009
(Europe, TaiPei and Hong Kong events to be announced later. )
Time: 10:00 am. July 9 (Eastern U.S. time)
Format: Exhibition of photographs, screening of a new documentary film about Chinese human rights lawyers, luncheon, discussions, march, broadcast online to the world
(Social media tag: #709lawyers #中国人权律师节)
Chinese Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group (Hong Kong)
China Change (U.S.A)
Committee To Support Chinese Lawyers（U.S.A）
Taiwan Support China Human Rights Lawyers Network
China Aid Association (U.S.A)
Initiatives for China (U.S.A)
Humanitarian China (U.S.A)
International Association of People ’s Lawyers（Europe）
Day of the Endangered Lawyer (Europe)
Institute for China’s Democratic Transition (U.S.A)
Taiwan Association for China Human Rights
New School for Democracy (Taiwan)
the International Observatory for Lawyers in Danger (Europe)
Visual Artists Guild (U.S.A)