July 9 marks a grim anniversary for lawyers and activists in China. As fears mount Hong Kong will soon encounter a similar crackdown, July 9 is also a day of recognition: a celebration of China’s human rights lawyers.
China Human Rights Lawyers Group, July 9, 2020
Neither remorseful nor boastful in the past, human rights lawyers will not be so today, nor in the future.
Five years ago, beginning with the seizure of Lawyer Wang Yu and her husband, the Chinese government launched a campaign to wipe out human rights defenders. Human rights lawyers bore the brunt of the attack, and so this day, July 9, is regarded as “China Human Rights Lawyers’ Day.” That a calamitous day is treated as a holiday reflects, and is highly compatible with, the spirit and temperament of human rights lawyers’ as a group, their inherent tenacity and optimism, and conscious assumption of responsibility.
… no matter how the authorities might crack down, and despite the endless stream of human rights cases and the continuously grave professional risks still faced by human rights lawyers, the awareness among human rights lawyers to huddle together for succor will not diminish, and this loose platform will not be taken apart.