23 Pages Posted: 25 Mar 2010
Date Written: 2009
Chinese human rights defenders’ efforts to protect and defend rights (‘wei quan’) are based in a commitment to law understood as a political ideal. Weiquan is premised on liberal ideas that would, if accepted, require a democratic transformation of China’s legal and political system, such as was called for by the June Fourth movement. In China’s authoritarian current environment, law may therefore be practiced as a form of conscientious resistance to political attitudes and official practices that reject and offend the value of legality. This article seeks to understand the connection between lawyers’ professional experience and their conscientious decision to resist.
Keywords: China, human rights lawyers, resistance, social movement
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