Chinese Government Pressuring Lawyers to Stop Representing Tainted Milk Victims

Chinese public interest lawyers are being pressured to drop clients injured by the latest Chinese product scandal related to tainted milk. The Chinese government now views these victims and their claims to be an unacceptable embarrassment.

The options for victims in China are limited, but these lawyers have been utilizing what is available to help them. I met some of these lawyers in Beijing recently when I presented a paper in China on the need for greater rights for individuals to sue the government and corporations. They make it hard for some of us to call ourselves public interest lawyers. These lawyers work amazing hours with little pay to try to bring the rule of law to China. They are constantly harassed and face arbitrary governmental decisions. Yet, they continue to fight year after year.

Nevertheless, public interest groups report that the government has been successful in coercing at least a dozen lawyers to quit. Some of these lawyers report direct threats from government officials that they will face serious penalties if they continue to represent victims.

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