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And China's Ministry of Justice is tightening control over the country's lawyers. On Wednesday the ministry announced that no lawyers can renew their license, without first pledging an oath of allegiance to the Communist Party.
A controversial move by China's Justice Ministry on Wednesday. It now requires lawyers who are applying for their license to practice, as well as those seeking to renew their licenses, to pledge their allegiance to the Chinese Communist Party. It comes after many rights lawyers over the past decade have sought to protect citizens against corrupt officials, so they will follow the law.
Lawyers applying for new licenses or reapplying for their license now must take this oath: "I promise to faithfully fulfill the sacred mission of socialism with Chinese characteristics ... loyalty to the motherland, its people, and uphold the leadership of the Communist Party of China."
The Justice Ministry says on its website, the oath is needed to: "... firmly establish among the vast circle of lawyers faith in socialism with Chinese characteristics ... and effectively improve the quality of lawyers' political ideology."
Top rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang told Reuters he thinks the oath is "baffling." He says, "In my opinion, the biggest destroyer of the rule of law in China is the Communist Party."
Netizens on microblogging websites, such as Sina Weibo, are worried the oath will make justice unattainable.
"We're done for," wrote one user, "There is no way the judiciary can be independent now."