A launch ceremony is held in Lhasa on Thursday for the lawyer delegation to Southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region. Photo: Courtesy of Tibet Department of Justice

Government officials of Southwest China’s Tibet Autono­mous Region  on Thursday welcomed a delegation of lawyers across China to offer legal aid and services, with hailing the effective promotion of the rule of law. 

A total 68 lawyers joined this year’s delegation. One-hundred and fifty-two lawyers have participated in the legal support delegation over the past five years, Xiong Xuanguo, vice minister of justice, said at the launch ceremony on Thursday. 

The delegation would alleviate the shortage of grass-roots lawyers in the region, fulfill the legal service needs of people from different ethnic groups and better promote legal knowledge among them, Dan Ba, Tibet’s department of justice chief, said at the ceremony, according to a press release the department sent to the Global Times. 

Such efforts will also improve the rule of law, enhancing ethnic unity, social stability and prosperity of the region, Dan Ba said at the ceremony in Lhasa.  

Sun Zhonghai, a lawyer from North China’s Hebei Province who worked in Tibet’s Konjo county for one year in 2018, told the Global Times that their mission was to popularize legal knowledge among local students, monks, factory workers and herders. 

Many locals did not know how to seek legal methods when they have conflicts or need legal assistance, Sun noted. 

Volunteer lawyers also offer free legal aid to disadvantaged groups, such as migrant workers seeking to claim back salaries. 

Volunteers have offered legal aid to disadvantaged groups in more than 8,300 cases over the past five years, provided consultancy to 150,000 people and drafted more than 20,000 legal documents for people, according to Xiong.    

Sun also pointed out that the region is in urgent need of training legal experts who know both Putonghua and Tibetan, and they also needed talented people who can be stationed there in the long term, “because legal volunteers just always leave after a certain time period.”

The Tibet Autonomous Region now has 343 lawyers and 49 law firms, while 74 counties do not have a lawyer, according to data released by the Ministry of Justice. 

Lawyers from Beijing have trained more than 3,200 local lawyers for Tibet and other provinces and regions in western China that are short of legal professionals, according to Beijing municipal bureau of justice.