Announcement on China
I am deeply concerned over the news that the Chinese government have sought to target and place sanctions on members of Essex Court Chambers following the the release of a legal opinion on human rights violations in Xinjiang by one of their members.
I fully support and endorse the Chair of the Bar, Derek Sweeting QC in his statement in response to this behaviour, namely:
“The Bar Council strongly condemns any threat against members of the Bar simply for doing their job. Sanctioning a chambers or any legal organisation because a member has given a legal opinion in accordance with their professional obligations is an attack on the rule of law.”
These Chinese sanctions strike at a fundamental aspect of the rule of law and the basic principles on the role of lawyers adopted by the United Nations in 1990.
This is a sinister attempt on the part of a state to silence criticism by non-state actors. The indiscriminate targeting of all members of a set of chambers as well as their immediate families smacks of a collective punishment by association.
This is clearly unacceptable and should be resisted and condemned universally. I join my colleagues in urging the British government to respond appropriately at the international level.