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Beijing Public Interest Lawyers: A Chronology of Recent Events

April 1, 2009
June 1, 2008 2007 Revision of the Lawyers Law took effect.
August 26 Group of 35 lawyers (the “Group”) published Internet appeal calling for direct
election of Beijing Lawyers Association (BLA) leadership.
September 5 BLA issued “Stern Statement” warning that anyone promoting direct elections
is violating the law.
September 7 Group responded to Statement, stating it is lawful to insist on direct elections
and demanding apology.
September 8 Beijing Haodong Law Firm requested that Tang Jitian (唐吉田), member of Group, leave for “sake of the firm’s future.”
September 13 Four Group members met with Beijing Judicial Bureau Deputy Director, Dong
Chunjiang (董春江), who said it is “technically impossible to implement direct
elections.”
September 13 Group established its own direct election website.
September 24 Tang Jitian brought suit against BLA in Beijing’s Xicheng District Court, charging
that the BLA’s Stern Statement was libelous. The Court refused to accept
the complaint.
October 9 Chaoyang District Judicial Bureau asked some Beijing law firms to obtain written
explanations from lawyers
of motives in joining appeal for direct elections;
three lawyers were asked to leave their firms.
October 13 82 lawyers endorsed appeal for BLA direct election.
November 21 Three Group members submitted open letter to Beijing Judicial Bureau and BLA
calling for audit of BLA’s account and public disclosure of its finances.
December 20 BLA convened meeting of 125 lawyers’ representatives and 31 Beijing Judicial
Bureau officials and adopted draft BLA Charter.
January 10, 2009 Yang Huiwen (杨慧文) distributed 1,000 copies of open letter announcing his
intention to run for BLA President at a lawyers training program.
January 13 BLA published draft Election Procedures for the Eighth Beijing Lawyers’ Representative
Congress
on its website.
January 18 Yang injured by guards at BLA movie event at Beijing’s National Library
while distributing campaign literature.
February 5 The Seventh BLA board of directors adopted the draft Election Procedures for
electing representatives for the Eighth Beijing Lawyers’ Representatives Congress.
February 17 Haidian District Judicial Bureau notified Beijing Yitong Law Firm of intention to
shut down the firm for six months for allowing Li Subin ( 李苏滨), a lawyer, to practice without
a license.
February 25 Yitong filed suit against Beijing Judicial Bureau for withholding license from
staff lawyer Li Subin for three years.
February 26–28 Election of Beijing Lawyers’ Representatives for the Eighth Congress. Names
of five original Group members excluded from lists of candidates. Excluded candidates
received significant votes through write-in field.
Late February Li Subin and five colleagues asked Beijing Public Security Bureau to investigate
Beijing Judicial Bureau and BLA, alleging crimes of extortion and blackmail for
collecting exorbitant annual fees from lawyers and law firms.
March 3 Administrative hearing on Yitong’s shutdown order.
March 4 Run-off election held in election districts of Beijing’s Chaoyang District. No write-in
candidates permitted.
March 17 Yitong received official order to shut down for six months and notice to turn in
licenses of staff lawyers.
March 27–29 First Meeting of the Eighth Beijing Lawyers’ Representatives Congress convened and elected new BLA directors.
April 2 Hearing on Yitong suit against Beijing Judicial Bureau (see February 25) at Beijing
Xicheng District Court. The court did not issue a decision.