Corrupt officials and privileged people will not believe in the law, and won’t care whether lawyers exist. Because they live as the organization’s people, they will die as the organization’s ghosts. But the average citizen wants this society to have order and rules. Perhaps previously, facing economic disputes, divorces, or criminal charges, etc., people might have tried to use their connections or find powerful backers to help them. But now, most people’s first thought is to seek help from lawyers. This is social progress—citizens’ awakening!
I don’t know when being a lawyer became a high-risk occupation. Of my three lawyers, two were arrested: Zhu Jiuhu has since been released but Xu Zhiyong is still in prison. The third, Zhang Xingshui, has become a Buddhist. Now, seeing lawyer Yang Jinzhu’s statement as he went to Beijing [to represent detained lawyer Zhou Shifeng], I’m really worried about Yang himself being detained. So I want to issue this statement: I won’t sponsor Yang Jinzhu but I will sponsor Yang Jinzhu’s defense lawyer. Whoever ends up representing Yang, I will provide that person with RMB 100,000 of assistance, as an expression of where I stand. Though the heroic acts of lawyers—who are coming forth one after another—fill us with worries and despair, they also make people let out a cry for help: after all, in them, you can still see expressions of conscience in society. But when facing terror, what can we the people do? Opening our eyes wide with horror and letting out a cry are not only animal instincts. They are also remnants of conscience among modern people. Even more than that, they constitute the bottom line of humanity’s pursuit of survival—freedom from terror!
Editor's note: Sun Dawu, chairman of the Dawu Agricultural and Pastoral Group in Hebei Province, was convicted in 2003 of illegally accepting deposits from rural residents, after he gave a speech at Peking University calling for greater rights for China’s peasants. He spent more than five months in custody and was given a three-year suspended prison sentence.