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Chinese Lawyers Forced to Study Political Brainwashing Doctrine

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Since the 709 Crackdown in 2015—when Chinese authorities arrested hundreds of human rights lawyers, dissidents, and petitioners—Beijing has intensified its communist brainwashing among law firms throughout China.

Chinese lawyers revealed to the Chinese language edition of The Epoch Times that ideological indoctrination has always existed, but it used to only apply to Communist Party members.

After the 709 Crackdown, however, the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) ideological work was expanded to target all lawyers, including non-Party members. The lawyers said they must accept the “reeducation,” which focuses on “Xi Jinping Thought.”

‘Xi Jinping Thought’

Officially known as “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era,” the ideological doctrine is based on Xi’s directives, speeches, and writings, which shape his “China dream.”

Xiaolan (pseudonym), a Beijing-based lawyer, said the CCP has recently stepped up political indoctrination across the country and demanded legal professionals study Xi’s writings.

Chinese lawyers were believed to enjoy a higher degree of freedom than most people in China because the national treasury does not pay their salaries, Xiaolan said, “but the current situation doesn’t look good.”

On May 22, in a forum introducing the first two volumes of “Selected Works of Xi Jinping,” Cai Qi, the first secretary of the Secretariat of the CCP, touted that the books should be studied in great depth, “to the brain, the heart, and the soul,” according to state media broadcaster CCTV.

Epoch Times Photo
An adult student taking notes on ‘Xi Jinping Thought’ in a class at the Party School of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee during a government-organized tour for foreign journalists in Beijing. The normally highly secretive Central School of the Communist Party opened its doors to foreign media on June 26, 2019, for a tightly controlled visit in which little was left to chance. (Leo Ramirez/AFP via Getty Images)

Wu Shaoping, who used to practice law in Shanghai, said that since the 709 Crackdown, Beijing enhanced its ideological work among law firms by demanding their non-Party member lawyers to participate in political theory studies and activities.

Yang Yuan (pseudonym), a lawyer in Henan Province, told The Epoch Times that Chinese lawyers were obliged to receive political “reeducation” after the 709 incident.

According to Yang, under the order of the local justice department in Zhengzhou City, lawyers had to study “Xi Jinping: The Governance of China” and the CCP’s history.

The study involved the usage of the “Study Xi, Strong Country” app provided by Beijing. It was released by the Publicity Department of the CCP in January 2019, aiming to indoctrinate the populace about Xi’s leadership. It contains state media news reports of Xi’s visits to various provinces, a function where messages disappear after being read, and weekly quizzes about “Xi Jinping Thought” so that users can earn points.

Some local bar associations conduct their annual assessment of lawyers’ qualifications based on the viewing record and points on the app.

Yang said that since the law firms were required to set up a CCP branch, they have lost their independence, and lawyers can’t take cases voluntarily. “The Party branch decides the firm’s business because each case needs approval,” Yang said.

Wu said that Chinese lawyers couldn’t serve their clients’ interests. “Lawyers are now serving the authorities, but the clients pay for the fee.”

Abuse

Ding Jiaxi, one of the lawyers in the 709 incident, received a 12-year sentence in April.

Ding, 55, is one of the prominent figures in the Chinese New Citizens Movement, which seeks the peaceful transition of China toward constitutionalism and calls for greater transparency regarding the wealth of officials.

He was arrested on Dec. 26, 2019, after attending a gathering with about 20 other human rights lawyers and activists in Xiamen, a port city in China’s southeast coastal province of Fujian. He was subsequently placed under “residential surveillance in a designated location” for six months, and faced various forms of torture during that period, according to a 2021 statement from Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada.

Ding was formally arrested by authorities on June 19, 2020, on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power” and detained at Linshu County Detention Center.

His wife, Luo Shengchun, who now lives in the United States, revealed how the brainwashing tactics were carried out.

For example, he was deprived of sleep and was forced to watch a 12-hour TV program, blasting at high volume, on Xi’s political talks for seven days, Luo told the Chinese language edition of The Epoch Times.

Ding passed out multiple times during the ordeal. Eventually, he caved under pressure and told authorities he participated in democratic activities in China. “But I don’t believe I am guilty,” he said, according to Luo.

Haizhong Ning, Luo Ya, and Andrew Chen contributed to this report.



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