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"Lawyer criticizes police infringement on prostitute's rights" Kwok Keung, China Daily, 5 Dec 06

It is daytime. Under tight police escort, 100 johns and prostitutes wearing surgical masks were paraded in front of thousands of residents through Sansha in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province.

Their names, dates and places of birth were made public following the announcement of their punishment.

A lawyer from a Shanghai law firm slammed the Shenzhen police's controversial move, saying that it will result in vicious denunciations of China by overseas media and it is illegal, reported xmnext.com on December 5, citing a public letter obtained by the website.

The Chinese government faces international criticism over its human rights infringements despite the country's intensified efforts to solve the issue. According to the Law of Punishment in Public Order and Security Administration ratified on August 28 last year, police should respect and protect Chinese nationals' human rights and their self-esteem.

Yao Jianguo from the Shanghai Rushuo Legal Firm wrote in a letter that the local police had the prostitutes and johns parade around, which did not follow the legal process.

Yao noted that the law should protect everyone's rights and self-esteem regardless of whether or not he or she is a criminal.

"The act of public parading damages the criminal suspects' self-esteem," Yao said, adding that the move, which has been used for a long time, set an example for other suspects.

"With the development of human civilization and the progress of law, this barbaric punishment has been erased from modern societies," Yao said.

According to Yao, Chinese law renders people whose punishments violate the Law of Punishment in Public Order and Security Administration the right to overturn the punishment. Police should also hand people suspected of committing crimes to the procurator body instead of announcing punishments on their own.

During the police investigation period by the police and the examination period by the procurator body, criminal suspects cannot be identified as convicts, said Yao.

Yao questions the controversial move's effect in cracking down on the illegal sex trade.

"The public parade does not send a warning to other criminal suspects," said Yao, adding it only humiliates the suspects and is likely to induce anti-government sentiment.

"Some may lose confidence in their futures and try to take revenge on society," he said.

According to Yao, he had mailed the letter to the China's People's Congress, the cabinet , for a review.

"As a lawyer, I don't think the Congress should do whatever I say, but I must make clear that the actions of the local police are illegal and create a bad example," said Yao.

Yao noted that solicitation and infidelity should be morally condemned, but in a socialist legal society, they should be deal with in line with the law.

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