Current Conditions for Human Rights Defenders and Lawyers in China, and Implications for U.S. Policy

328A Russell Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510 | Thursday, June 23, 2011 - 2:00pm to 3:30pm
Transcript (PDF) (Text)

In recent months, Chinese officials reportedly have conducted one of the harshest crackdowns in years against human rights lawyers, civic activists, and other advocates. Those targeted have advocated on behalf of specific groups and issues, such as victims of earthquakes, diseases, and tainted food, child laborers, persecuted religious groups, and political dissidents. Targeted individuals also have advocated for broader freedoms and democracy. The Internet and social media have played a prominent role in their advocacy. During the crackdown, Chinese officials reportedly have abused the law in some cases, "disappearing" some citizens outside the legal process. This roundtable examined the implications of this crackdown on the advocacy work of those affected and the broader implications for the rule of law, the Chinese legal profession, and for U.S. policy.

View a recorded video of this roundtable here

Opening Statements: 

Senator Sherrod Brown, Cochairman


Ms. Elisabeth Wickeri, Executive Director and Adjunct Professor of Law, Leitner Center for International Law and Justice, Fordham Law School; Member, Committee to Support Chinese Lawyers

Ms. Margaret Lewis, Associate Professor of Law, Seton Hall Law School

Dr. Li Xiaorong, Independent Scholar

Ms. Sarah Cook, Asia Research Analyst and Assistant Editor, Freedom on the Net, Freedom House