The Ministry of Justice pledged to increase its efforts to safeguard the nation's lawyers after an attorney in Hunan province was killed, allegedly by one of his clients, last month.
Jin Zhong, a lawyer in his 40s from Hengyang, was stabbed to death in his office at Nanfang Law Firm. The suspect, a client surnamed Xiong, had asked for legal services in a civil compensation case.
On Monday, Minister of Justice Fu Zhenhua said he attached great importance to the case and instructed officials from the ministry and the All China Lawyers Association to visit Hunan to comfort the victim's family and deal with the crime.
On June 22, Xiong came to Jin's office and quarreled with him. Surveillance video shows that when Xiong stepped out of the office, Jin was lying in a pool of blood.
Nanfang Law Firm called the police and notified the Hengyang Lawyers Society, which reported it to the national association and to the Ministry of Justice.
On Saturday morning, Xiong was detained by police at his home in Dongyang village in Hengyang.
In recent years, a growing number of cases involving the violation of lawyers' rights have occurred across the country, attracting attention from the public and media.
To tackle the issue, lawyers' groups at the national and local levels set up two centers in March last year - one to protect lawyers' rights and the other to handle complaints and reports against lawyers.
In May alone, the All China Lawyers Association and local branches received 66 complaints involving the infringement of lawyers' rights.
Of those, lawyers' rights were protected in 31 cases, while the others are still under investigation, said Jiang Min, a spokesman for the association.
Jiang said lawyers' rights are violated if they are prevented from meeting clients during investigations, blocked from reviewing the case files or barred from collecting evidence. They are sometimes assaulted, interrupted when making statements in court, expelled from court or even illegally detained.
According to the All China Lawyers Association, when a report is received involving a serious violation of a lawyer's rights, a team is set up immediately for further investigation and to coordinate with other departments to handle the case in a timely manner and give feedback about the results.