Fu Hualing, University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law

Rights Lawyering in an Authoritarian State: Struggle and Adaptation by China's Weiquan Lawyers

Date: 
Wed, 04/17/2013
Location: 
4:30 PM, Robertson Hall, Bowl 1

Please join us for a public lecture with Fu Hualing, Professor of the University of Hong Kong’s Faculty of Law where he served as the head of Hong Kong’s Department of Law from 2008-2011.

Rights ("weiquan") lawyering in China was born in the 1990s, alongside the development of the Chinese legal system generally, and evolved from moderate and officially sanctioned defense of social & economic rights to more robust advocacy of political change, with self-identified weiquan lawyers actively using legal institutions and other platforms to challenge China's authoritarian system.  Concerned with the perceived radicalization of this rights movement, in recent years, the Party-state has reacted harshly by cracking down on weiquan lawyers. But rights lawyering in China has proven to be a resilient phenomenon that has continued to adapt and evolve.  After repression, a new group of lawyers has come to the fore who take a less political and more strategic stance in legal advocacy. At the same time, rights lawyers are reaching out to other actors in the Chinese legal system, and helping to develop a professional community that suggests new possibilities for promoting the rule of law and limiting arbitrary state power in China.

Fu Hualing is a Professor of the University of Hong Kong’s Faculty of Law where he served as the head of Hong Kong’s Department of Law from 2008-2011. Fu’s research interests include constitutional law and human rights, with a special focus on criminal justice system and media law in China. His recent publications have included National Security and Fundamental Freedoms: Hong Kong’s Article 23 Under Scrutiny (co-edited with Carole Petersen and Simon Young) and The Struggle for Coherence: Constitutional Interpretation in Hong Kong (co-edited with Lison Harris and Simon Young). He teaches Corruption, Human Rights in China, and Legal Relations between Hong Kong and Mainland China.