Role of Criminal Defense Lawyers in China’s Judiciary System

This is a Weibo post by Si Weijiang (斯伟江), a high-profile Chinese defense lawyer based in Shanghai. A lot is being said in 127 characters. –Yaxue

From the beginning, China’s criminal defense lawyers were merely the lasting party whom the Police, the Prosecution and the Court pulled in when the three had sat down for a Mah-Jong game but found they needed one more party to play. But the rule was that the lawyers must not be allowed to win. When there were occasions of lawyers actually winning, the other three would not accept it anyway. Then there came Weibo. Some lawyers, such as Yang Jinzhu (杨金柱), started shouting on Weibo when they won, “I won! They cheated!” As a result, the authorities everywhere have made arrangements to make sure that lawyers would not win; and even if they do, they must not shout it out loud. Thus begins the Harmony Mah-Jong. Hooray!

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About Yaxue Cao

I grew up in Northern China during the Cultural Revolution, came to the United States in the early 1990s to study literature and stayed. I have been writing stories about China, exploring both my own experiences and those of others against the larger picture of Communist China. You can find my work on, and new works are being added periodically.
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5 Responses to Role of Criminal Defense Lawyers in China’s Judiciary System

  1. To be perfectly honest, that picture isn’t vastly different even in a place like Hong Kong, whose judiciary and legal system are often billed as top-notch, independent and whatever banal superlatives available for the taking. The UK criminal justice system isn’t that much better. I’ve seen from bitter experience many are convicted on very little in the UK, Hong Kong or the USA. In a sort of surreal, kafkaesque twist, China at least has the ‘guts’ to engage in backstage legal horsetrading than other legally ‘advanced’ countries.

  2. Pingback: Lawyer Si Weijiang’s Statement Regarding Chen Kegui’s Case | Seeing Red in China

  3. Nice article about the judiciary system in china and the role of criminal defense lawyers there. But i agree that the situations are a lot different in US.

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