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China’s Ministry of Justice: Lawyers Must Support the Communist Party

On March 27, 2019, China’s Ministry of Justice announced that, by the end of August 2019, it will implement a professional evaluation system and assessment mechanism for lawyers throughout the country in furtherance of the reform in managing lawyers. The review criteria include the political performance of lawyers. In other words, it assesses whether they support the leadership of the Communist Party.

The professional evaluation system and assessment mechanism first began in March 2017 as a pilot program in Inner Mongolia, Shanghai, Anhui Province, and Shaanxi Province. The Ministry of Justice said that the rating process is conducive to distinguishing good lawyers from bad ones.

According to the website of China’s Ministry of Justice, four criteria must be met: political performance, integrity, years of practice, and the ability to practice.

The focus will be on the first two criteria. The first criterion “political performance” requires that lawyers participating in the rating process must support the leadership of the Communist Party and the socialist rule of law. Under the second criterion “integrity,” if the Communist Party disciplined a lawyer or if he received administrative punishment within the past five years, he will not be eligible to participate in the rating process. Big data will be used to gather information about lawyers’ political performance and integrity.

Source: China’s Ministry of Justice, March 27, 2019