Recently, the Weibo account of Luo Xiang, a popular law professor among Chinese netizens, was suddenly emptied for unknown reasons. Previously, however, Luo Xiang had withdrawn from the network after being reported and attacked by pinkos for insinuating current affairs. Some legal professionals say that the authorities have raised the threshold for speech control, and not only are human rights lawyers being suppressed, but Luo Xiang, who explores the loopholes of Chinese justice from an academic perspective, is not immune either.
Netflix Law Teacher Luo Xiang Fears “Guilty by Association” for His Words
On June 26, the Weibo account of Luo Xiang, a popular Chinese teacher, was completely emptied of content, and the background of his account was replaced with a red propaganda poster celebrating the centennial of the Party. It is not yet known whether Luo Xiang himself was pressured to make more than 3,000 posts visible only to him or whether it was a private operation of the microblogging platform.
Yan Feng, a professor of Chinese at China’s Fudan University, commented on the matter on Weibo, saying, “Over the years, many people have chosen to leave Weibo or remain silent, out of disgust and fear that some people will move to the top, a worrying trend.” “Another person leaves the scene, another voice disappears, another door closes.”
After receiving his doctorate in criminal law from Peking University School of Law, Chinese jurist Luo Xiang has taught at China University of Political Science and Law since. At the same time, Luo Xiang is also a part-time lawyer at Beijing Huayi Law Firm and the main teacher of criminal law at Houda Law Examination. 2020 In early 2020, Luo Xiang became popular on the Internet for his “Luo Xiang speaks on criminal law” video series, and his funny and humorous explanation of criminal law won a lot of young people’s love. 2020 In March, Luo Xiang was invited to the Chinese video platform Beili Beili, and his fans exceeded one million within one day. Currently, Luo Xiang has more than 15 million fans on Beili Beili, and is one of the head up owners of Beili Beili.
Teng Biao, an American legal scholar who used to teach at China University of Political Science and Law, told the station that the authorities have repeatedly tightened control over speech, and even if Luo Xiang discusses the judicial system from an academic perspective, he is not exempt: “[Luo Xiang’s emptying of his Weibo account] shows that China’s control over speech, including online speech, is getting tighter and tighter. Intellectuals like Luo Xiang, who are well-known and conscientious, are now forced to withdraw from Weibo and have no space to speak. Even from an academic perspective, the limits and thresholds of control are now completely intolerable as long as one disagrees with the authorities. Although there used to be a certain degree of freedom, the number of people convicted for their speech has now increased significantly. The control over speech like Luo Xiang’s has become more intense.”
It is not the first time that Luo Xiang has been attacked on the Internet. On Sept. 8 last year, Luo Xiang had shared his reading notes on Weibo: “Cherish virtue but don’t be a slave to honor, because the former is eternal, while the latter will soon disappear.” A large number of netizens then accused him of insinuating and satirizing the fact that Zhong Nanshan was awarded the “Order of the Republic” at the commendation ceremony for fighting the new epidemic. Unable to cope with the foul language and personal attacks from the net rioters, Luo Xiang announced that he was quitting Weibo, but kept the content he had previously posted until it was recently emptied.
Luo Xiang has repeatedly exposed the shady practices of the Chinese Communist Party’s judiciary
In his lectures, Luo has repeatedly discussed the loopholes in China’s judicial system and exposed the shady practices of the judiciary, describing the crime of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” as “one of the three infamous pocket crimes of the 1979 Criminal Law. Luo also said that for private rights, as long as they are not prohibited by law, they are the rights of citizens; for public rights, as long as they are not authorized by law, they are prohibited, but many Chinese judicial organs have completely overturned them. The boldness of Luo Xiang’s remarks has sparked concerns among netizens that he will be “convicted for his words”.
In 2019, a video of Luo Xiang’s lecture exploded on the Internet. In the video, Luo exposed the darkness of the Chinese Communist Party’s judicial system and referred to the unfair treatment of defense lawyers, which was recorded in 2012 during a major discussion on revising the Criminal Procedure Law. In the video, Luo said, “In judicial practice, whenever a witness changes his or her statement, the judicial authorities consider the lawyer to be suspected of entrapment. The evidence collected by our public security organs is fine, how come once the lawyer and the witness meet, his confession is changed? He (the lawyer) must have the suspicion of inducing confessions, you belong to the suspects, and you will be arrested first.”
Luo Xiang in the video continues to explain: “The most serious has also appeared in the court debate stage directly arrested lawyers, the procuratorate to provide evidence, the lawyer said we doubt the authenticity of the evidence, the comrades of the procuratorate said, suggest your court adjourn, because the other side of the lawyer suspected of perjury. There was a lawyer in Kunming who was arrested in this way, and of course he got out later, but after he got out he became a monk. He said it was too dark, there was no such fight.”
Chen Jiangang, a Chinese human rights lawyer, said that Chinese human rights lawyers have been repeatedly suppressed and their room for survival has been repeatedly tightened. When the group of human rights lawyers is suppressed, academic legal scholars like Luo Xiang become the number one target of control: “China’s control over speech and society is like peeling bamboo shoots layer by layer. When the so-called new ‘Black Five’, such as human rights lawyers, Internet dissidents, petitioners, etc., are slowly peeled away layer by layer, those who finally appear at the forefront and bear the brunt will be these scholars who are not involved in legal practice, but are learned, know the theory, and can make their reasoning clear. Mr. Luo Xiang is a representative of this, and will certainly be affected.”
In the video, Luo Xiang also quoted a metaphor from Chinese rights lawyer Si Weijiang, which graphically depicts the dilemma of Chinese defense lawyers: “The three public prosecutors and the law play mahjong, how many mahjong players do they have to be? Four. Lawyers are the ones who make up the game, but the key is whether they can play a tile or not? You can’t play cards. The first thing you need to do is to get your hands on a new one.
Chen believes that the Communist Party is tightening its control over speech, from suppressing lawyers involved in judicial practice to academics.
Luo Xiang Has Not Been Silenced
On June 26, Luo Xiang wrote a message to graduates through his public website, in which he said he had stopped working on his Weibo account because he did not want to “invest too much time in the virtual world. Luo also wrote: “The most important thing is to be a person who is faithful to his daily duties anyway.” “Abstract people can never replace concrete people, so may we be able to get out of this habitual hypocrisy and spend our days diligently in each position to live up to our responsibilities.”