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Weiquan (Rights Protection) Lawyering in an Authoritarian State: Toward Critical Lawyering

(2008) 59 The China Journal, 111

24 Pages Posted: 15 Jan 2008 Last revised: 24 Oct 2012

Fu Hualing

The University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law

Richard Cullen

The University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law

Date Written: January 15, 2008

Abstract

One of the boldest initiatives in the last decade has been the reform of the legal profession in the PRC. Today the PRC has a rapidly growing, private legal sector which is taking legal development in some interesting new directions. Without question, the Chinese Communist Party wants to mange the outcomes of the legal profession privatization so as to buttress its own position. But it is clear the process of privatization has unleashed a range of consequential changes. Private lawyers are organizing as a profession and arguing their corners within the One Party State with growing vigour. Numbers of lawyers are tackling an ever widening range of issues - drawing new disputes into the legal system. While the legal profession in China, like that elsewhere, is largely profit-driven, a small, but fast increasing, number of private lawyers are developing a keen interest in cases of real social impact, thus affecting public interest, cases that the state is also watching closely. This paper, through interviewing weiquan (rights protection) lawyers in China, studies the emergence of the growing group of private lawyers who are developing profiles as rights protection lawyers-activists, lawyers who advocate interests that are larger than those of their immediate clients who have retained their legal services.

Keywords: China, lawyer, cause lawyering, human rights, rights protection, Chinese Communist Party, consumer protection, legitimacy, discrimination, political system, public interest litigation

JEL Classification: K40, K49, K00

Suggested Citation

Hualing, Fu and Cullen, Richard, Weiquan (Rights Protection) Lawyering in an Authoritarian State: Toward Critical Lawyering (January 15, 2008). (2008) 59 The China Journal, 111. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1083925 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1083925

Fu Hualing (Contact Author)

The University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law ( email )

Pokfulam Road
Hong Kong, Hong Kong
China

HOME PAGE: http://hub.hku.hk/rp/rp01245

Richard Cullen

The University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law ( email )

Pokfulam Road
Hong Kong, Hong Kong
China

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