(Minghui.org) I recently met with my niece who is a lawyer. She told me some common issues law firms are facing in China.

In the news, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials often talk about “the rule of law” and say “all are equal before the law.” But this is just propaganda, because officials rarely follow the law. Instead, they often abuse their power and the legal system.

Such underhandedness is obvious when individual cases are processed. For example, one attorney in her law firm accepted a civil case last year but did not inform his director. The lawyer discovered that it was a complicated case and that local criminal gangs were involved.

When the lawyer began to collect evidence, the law firm received a notice from higher officials that the case was being suspended due to a certain regulation. The lawyer realised that the defendant had far-reaching connections. After that, the law firm stipulated that any case he took on would have to be reviewed and approved. The lawyer also learned that he should not accept “sensitive” cases representing petitioners or Falun Gong practitioners.

In fact, after the CCP initiated its persecution of Falun Gong in July 1999, it has been taboo for anyone to speak up for practitioners or help them protect their most basic human rights. It’s an open secret that the justice bureaus across the country issued secret orders banning lawyers under their supervision from defending Falun Gong practitioners. If they do, their professional licenses might be suspended and their firms might have to let them go.

Many lawyers who represented Falun Gong practitioners and pleaded “not guilty” for them have indeed lost their professional licenses.

One example is Gao Zhisheng, one of the top ten lawyers in Beijing. Besides defending Falun Gong practitioners, he wrote letters to then CCP leaders Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao, urging them to stop persecuting Falun Gong. He said the innocent group should not be suppressed or it would lead to the country’s moral collapse.

However, former CCP leader Jiang Zemin (who still wielded considerable influence in the government after he left office) and his clique had Gao sent to prison. Upon his release, Gao continued to call for the end of the persecution of Falun Gong and a reversal of the CCP’s policy. He disappeared again in August 2017, and his whereabouts have remained unknown ever since.

Gao is not alone, as similar things have happened to many other lawyers. Under orders of former justice minister Fu Zhenghua, a nationwide crackdown on lawyers began on July 9, 2015. Known as the “709 Crackdown,” it led to the detention of a hundred lawyers, including Wang Quanzhang, Li Heping, and Wang Yu. Some are still detained.

My niece said lawyers know such inside information, but no one dares to say anything. When Falun Gong practitioners are deprived their right to appeal and lawyers themselves are illegally mistreated, where can one find justice?

In conjunction with its tight control, the CCP has also intensified the brainwashing of lawyers. For example, all the lawyers in my niece’s firm were forced to go to a Party school last year to study the Constitution of the Chinese Communist Party. Some of the lawyers complained but to no avail.

The director of the law firm said he had been forced to attend such sessions many times. He said that during the two-week session he attended, they were forced to study materials about how great the CCP is. They were told to praise the Party in public and not to say anything negative about it. They were taken good care of during the session and given gifts at the end.

Both my niece and I know the CCP is only fooling people by promising them “the Chinese Dream,” when the reality is exactly the opposite. As long as the CCP stays in power, there is no hope for the people of China.