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Lawyers in Modern China By Richard Komaiko and Beibei Que

Chapter :  Introduction
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Lawyers in Modern China



In the advent of the 2008 Summer Olympics, the Chinese government made repeated promises that it would allow peaceful protests to occur in Beijing. Following on this promise, three public parks, colloquially referred to as “protest pens,” were demarcated for hosting protests. Individuals interested in protesting were instructed to file a formal application with the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau. According to the New China News Agency, seventy-seven applications were received, but not a single application was approved. 1 The Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games explained away the lack of approvals by asserting that all of the grievances had been resolved privately. 2 Not only is it untrue that the grievances were resolved privately, but many people were actually punished for submitting applications in accordance with the government's own instructions! Ms. Wu Dianyuan, age seventy-nine, and Ms. Wang Xiuying, age seventy-seven, were both sentenced to one year of labor camp reeducation for submitting applications to protest their forced evictions from their homes in 2001. 3 Many people felt a disturbing sense of frustration owing to the government's failure to