International Law

Chinese Lawyer Promotes Rule of Law as Public Interest Lawsuit Pioneer

  • Print

The government of China has publicly committed itself to the goal of applying the rule of law. This has helped a 35-year-old lawyer in Beijing achieve a significant degree of success, as more aggressive human rights activists have butted heads with the country’s leaders, by pursuing unusual consumer-oriented lawsuits that seek to apply the rule of law in day-to-day life.

One example is the litigation that legal scholar Hao Jinsong has pursued seeking to enforce a law requiring subway customers to be provided with written receipts for the six cents they pay to use public restrooms, reports the Christian Science Monitor. Although the issue might seem minor, the compliance with the rule of law that it represents is an important step toward living in a more democratic society.

“Behind this receipt is a law that gives people the right to ask for one,” he says. “If nobody respects the dignity of the law, everybody loses his own dignity. If today you lose your right to a receipt, tomorrow you may lose your right to your land, your house, your freedom, and even your life.”

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.