Chinese lawyers must swear loyalty oath to Party

The Chinese government said yesterday that lawyers are now required to swear allegiance to the Communist Party, a move criticised by prominent human rights lawyers who have defended dissidents.

The Ministry of Justice said first-time applicants, or lawyers renewing their professional legal licences, must take an oath of loyalty to the country, the party and the people. The aim is to raise the "political, moral and professional quality" of lawyers.

Jiang Tianyong, a rights lawyer, said there was no legal basis for the oath. "It's unimaginable that any other country would like to ask lawyers to pledge allegiance to a party," he said.