On March 1, 2021, Qiushi, the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) official media, published the full text of a speech that Xi Jinping, the CCP General Secretary, gave in November 2020, at a conference on the rule of law.
Xi stated that the more complex the international and domestic environment, the more it is necessary to use the rule of law to solidify the CCP’s control.
Xi emphasized that China “will never copy the models and practices of other countries, and will never follow the Western so-called ‘constitutionalism,’ ‘separation of powers,’ and ‘judicial independence.’”
Xi stated that some lawyers in China “have weak political awareness and even maliciously attack our country’s political system and the rule of law system.” “It is the basic qualification of a legal professional to support the leadership of the Communist Party of our country and support the socialist rule of law in our country.”
After Xi’s speech appeared in Qiushi, it immediately drew criticism from Chinese lawyers overseas. On March 2, 2021, Radio Free Asia quoted a Chinese lawyer in the United States who requested anonymity. He said that Xi Jinping’s remarks were full of fallacies, “Lawyers must abide by the law and perform their duties following the law. … Now the CCP requires that the CCP leadership comes first. Then where is the law?”
Ren Quanniu, a human rights lawyer who has assisted Hong Kong dissidents, believes Xi’s speech will make it more difficult for lawyers to represent clients in human rights cases. According to Ren, in a place in Inner Mongolia, the authorities gave the title of “Government Legal Advisor” to all lawyers to make sure that local people basically cannot find a lawyer if they want to sue the local authorities.
1. Qiushi, March 1, 2021
2. Radio Free Asia, March 2, 2021