Thursday, May 7, 2009

Haiku 050709

breakfast call
a rabbit sniffing
the spring air


NPR: “Rights Lawyers In China Face Growing Threats” by Louisa Lim

“A new report by Amnesty International says China has intensified its crackdown on activists and particularly lawyers. It says there has been a disregard of national laws, noting at least four cases this year in which lawyers were threatened with violence by the authorities.

“Lawyer Yan Yiming was called to his law firm's conference room in Shanghai to give advice to three men. When he turned around to write on a whiteboard, he was suddenly assaulted. The three men beat him with iron bars and a hammer….

“So far, Yan doesn't know who ordered the attack or why. He has made many enemies over the years, through his work in environmental protection, defending shareholders and pushing for government transparency. He knew the risks.

" ‘China is changing from a society ruled by men to one ruled by laws, but we're not even halfway yet. Rule of man is much stronger. Eight of the top 10 whistleblowers have been arrested. Those who fight corruption get caught,’ he says.

" ‘If China's legal system is a skyscraper, it should be 100 stories. But it's not finished, we've only built 30 or 40 stories. If we're standing high up in the building, and I get knocked to the ground and killed by corrupt officials and their friends, at least the 30 or 40 stories we've built will still exist,’ he says….”


.... After reading about the difficulties they have been made to endure for “doing their duty”, how can one not be in awe of these lawyers in China? In spite of harassment, beatings, and kidnappings, they still remain so optimistic that things in their society will improve down the road.

These “rights” lawyers themselves point out that China has made inroads into becoming a society ruled by laws from a society ruled by men. They acknowledge that the legal skyscraper may only be about 30 or 40 stories, out of 100, completed -- certainly still a long way to go. But, as these men of the law see it, change is in the air. And that's a long way from where they started ....

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