Second Draft of PS, please ravage it:)

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Second Draft of PS, please ravage it:)

Postby kingsmill » Thu Jan 07, 2010 2:07 pm

Born in China in the mid 1980s, I got to feel the word “law” in a shocking way.
It was 1996, and I was ten. My friends dragged me to the stadium to watch an “Open trial” one afternoon. Lining up before a judge and thousands of watching people were ten handcuffed men, each had a wooden board hanging on their neck, with names and charges written on the board by red paint. First a prosecutor read their charges. Then the judge asked them whether they admit these charges. With a “Yes” form each of them, the judge read the court's decision for him from a prepared file. Three of them were sentenced to death and others got sentences in jail. All of them were then thrown into a truck and pilloried around the city before meeting their fate. Later that day, when I asked my parents why would they be punished, the answer was “they broke the law during the Strike Hard Campaign”.
I had not doubted the answer until 1998. That year I read an article discussing the “Strike Hard Campaign” of mid 1990s. During the national campaign, the government organized police, prosecutors and judges into a combined task force to punish crimes “as severe and fast as possible”. No one could plead for the suspects in such campaigns. The author provided evidence that at least hundreds of people were wrongly executed during the campaign.
At the same time I read about the O. J. Simpson case. For the first time I knew there were lawyers to defend the suspects, and the decision of the court could be against the prosecutor! Looking at the facts, I suddenly remembered the suspects of that afternoon. Did they really break the law? Were their punishments deserved? Obviously, the prosecutor and the judge were actually agents of the same party. The court's decision was simply restatement of the prosecutor's charges. How could such a biased force be allowed to take people's lives? I believed if there were lawyers for them, things will be different!
But soon I was proved wrong. In the summer of 1999, after the resuming of lawyer system in China, I watched a trial on public television. The defendant was charged with raping and murdering. After the prosecutor finished his statement, the defendant's lawyer replied with “I have nothing to say.”
I was outraged. I could not believe my ears. Without any suspense, the defendant was sentenced to death. Later it was revealed that the lawyer was just part of a prepared trial for propaganda. But my belief that lawyers would be enough to bring a fair trial was shattered. Hearing more and more lawyer stories, I started to understand the conditions of Chinese criminal lawyers. Law enforcement agencies and courts were usually referred as a whole in China. In most cases, the suspect was actually prosecuted and trialed by the same agency. Facing the combined force of court and law enforcement agencies, a lawyer's advocacy would not always make a difference. For a lawyer, the best choice was to keep away from criminal cases or cooperate with the government. Even if lawyers did try to help their client, they had to face many obstacles. In many cases, the police intentionally monitored and disturbed the lawyers' meeting with their clients.
After getting into college, I started to read a lot about law. Finally I realized that independent jurisdiction and procedural justice is the most important prerequisite of a fair trail. But I also realized painfully that such things were impossible in China. Two key factors were missing: control of government power and protection of individual rights. Wishing to make a difference, at first I wanted to be an economist and change the country from the basis. This belief led me to the U.S. to study economics. But soon I found that without effective protection of property rights, The change of economic system was just empty talk. I wanted to learn more about law. I want to know more about how to protect the rights of people, and introduce these ideas back to my country. I believe that the more people know about their rights, the more they will do for it. It is like a tug of war between people and government. I believe by studying law, I can add some power to the people's side.
The fact is still not good. In a recent government-led campaign, a lawyer was charged with “lawyer perjury” and was trialed by the same court that trialed his client on the last day of 2009. All the evidences against him was the records of his meeting with his client. Most people believe that he would be found guilty. As one of them, I know that it was not because people believed he broke the law, it was because everyone know the fact: there was no place for law here. When I finish my law study and return to my country, I am sure there will be a difference.

Any Opinion is welcomed, Tahnk you! I am also willing to swap with anyone.


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Re: Second Draft of PS, please ravage it:)

Postby nycparalegal » Thu Jan 07, 2010 2:09 pm

Born in China in the mid 1980s, I got to feel the word “law” in a shocking way.

How can you feel a word?


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Joined: Wed Jan 06, 2010 2:58 pm

Re: Second Draft of PS, please ravage it:)

Postby mattymatt » Fri Jan 08, 2010 2:02 pm

Your experiences with the legal system in China provides a compelling foundation for a PS, but what you have fails to reach its potential. You should spend a lot less time discussing the shortcomings/logistics of the Chinese criminal justice system, and more time talking about what those experiences meant to you.

Also, you should really, really, take a good look at the entire statement because there are many places where grammar, punctuation, word choice, flow and style are big issues. I'd suggest having someone look at it just for proofreading purposes once you get the content taken care of. There were a lot of errors.

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