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ABF Researcher Terence Halliday Presents on SIL Panel on Protecting Lawyer-Activists

May 5, 2017, ABF news

Terence Halliday with Nina Totenberg at the Endangered Species panel on April 28.

American Bar Foundation (ABF) Research Professor Terence C. Halliday served on the Endangered Species: Protecting Lawyer-Activists in China and Around the World panel at the 2017 ABA Section of International Law Spring Meeting on April 28. Halliday’s presentation focused on the Chinese government’s crackdown on criminal defense and human rights lawyers that began in July 2015. Since that time, hundreds of lawyers, as well as their staff and families, have been arrested, interrograted, detained, and subject to forced disappearance. The panel explored how members of the legal community should respond to lawyer repression in China and other authoritarian states with regard to international human rights law and fundamental ethical obligations.

Halliday was joined on the panel by Henri J. Barkey, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Deborah Enix-Ross, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, and Martin S. Flaherty, New York City Bar Task Force on Persecuted Lawyers. National Public Radio’s Nina Totenberg acted as moderator.

On May 4, Professor Halliday and Sida Liu, an ABF faculty fellow and assistant professor of sociology at the University of Toronto, presented China Between Reform and Repression: Lawyers & the Fight for Basic Legal Freedoms to the New York City Bar Association.  Halliday and Liu shared research from the recently published book, “Criminal Defense in China: The Politics of Lawyers at Work” (Cambridge University Press, 2016), which represents the first comprehensive social science study of the work and political mobilization of Chinese criminal defense lawyers, and reveals how lawyers' practice can contribute to a new politics and law in China. 

Halliday has been a vocal advocate for increasing protections for Chinese criminal defense lawyers and human rights activists. In January 2017, he co-authored a letter to China’s President Xi Jinping entitled, “China must respect lawyers’ human rights.” The letter, published in The Guardian, was signed by 29 distinguished members of the international legal community who expressed deep concern for China’s continued mistreatment and detainment of criminal defense and rights lawyers. It is a follow up to a January 2016 letter in which renowned jurists from around the world denounced the Chinese government’s crackdown on members of the Chinese legal community and called for adherence to universal legal standards. 

To learn more about Professor Halliday’s research, please visit his ABF Faculty Page.

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