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Climbing the Weiquan Ladder: A Radicalizing Process for Rights-Protection Lawyers

  • Fu Hualing (a1) and Richard Cullen (a2)

It is commonly acknowledged that weiquan lawyers operate in a narrow space, and lawyers with a radical stance work within a harsh environment. Weiquan lawyers advance and retreat in response to the changing macro-political-legal environment, but there is no sign that they are giving up their legal struggles. A steadily growing number of weiquan lawyers are tending to become more radical in their approach as their experience advances. This article studies the process in which weiquan lawyers start and sustain weiquan lawyering in a harsh environment and the factors that contribute to the radicalizing process. Its principal purpose is to identify and explain a radicalization process in which a lawyer climbs up the ladder of weiquan lawyering, from a moderate lawyer providing legal aid in individual cases to a critical or radical lawyer.

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Fu Hualing , “Access to justice and constitutionalism in China,” in Stéphanie Balme and Michael W. Dowdle (eds.), Building Constitutionalism in China (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 2009)

Mary E. Gallagher , “Mobilizing the law in China: ‘informed disenchantment’ and the development of legal consciousness,” Law & Society Review, Vol. 40, No. 4 (2006)

Ethan Michelson , “The practice of law as an obstacle to justice: Chinese lawyers at work,” Law & Society Review, Vol. 40, No. 1 (2006)

Stephen Ellmann , “Law and legitimacy in South Africa”; and other articles in Law and Social Inquiry, Vol. 20, No. 2 (1995)

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The China Quarterly
  • ISSN: 0305-7410
  • EISSN: 1468-2648
  • URL: /core/journals/china-quarterly
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