China


The Chinese State attacks the Bar: A Call to Arms – Lord Sandhurst QC

31 March 2021 by

On 26 March, the Government of the People’s Republic of China announced sanctions against a number of British individuals and entities. Most publicity has been attracted by the inclusion of well-known politicians on the list. But the most sinister inclusion may be “Essex Court Chambers”. Whereas the sanctioning of a politician, who is unlikely to own property in China, is a largely symbolic gesture, the announcement in respect of the set of barrister’s chambers strikes at the heart of the English legal system and the services offered by English lawyers. It also has serious ramifications for all commercial transactions relating to China.

The decision against Essex Court Chambers is understood to be related to the fact that four individual members of those Chambers had together written an opinion concerning the treatment of the Uighur population in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. It appears that that legal opinion was written pursuant to instructions received from the Global Legal Action Network. Each of the four barristers was thus providing independent legal advice for a client pursuant to their professional obligations and qualifications as members of the Bar of England and Wales subject to the regulatory supervision of the Bar Standards Board. According to the chambers’ website, my source for this material, none of those four barristers published that legal opinion.


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Google steps up pressure on Government censorship

22 April 2010 by

Google have announced the launch of a new Government Requests tool, which according to the Official Google Blog aims to “give people information about the requests for user data or content removal we receive from government agencies around the world.”

According to the tool, the UK currently ranks number 2 in Europe for information removal requests, behind Germany, and 3rd in the world for data requests, behind the US and Brazil.

It appears that the internet search company, whose unofficial corporate motto is “Don’t be Evil“, is attempting to make up for recent public controversies over censorship in countries where rights to freedom of information and expression are lacking. Google has had a particularly rocky relationship with China, who insisted that certain sites were blocked from Google search. After public pressure and a number of public confrontations, Google have recently moved operations to Hong Kong and shut down the search service completely.

Yesterday’s announcement begins by quoting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which is similar to the European Convention on Human Rights. It says:

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