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Centre for Law and Society in a Global Context

CLSGC Legal advocacy as liberal resistance: the experience of China’s human rights lawyers

9 March 2018

Time: 4:00 - 6:00pm
Venue: Room 313, Third Floor, Law Building, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road E1 4NS

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This Centre for Law and Society in a Global Context (CLSGC) Seminar will be delivered by Dr Eva Pils, Reader in Transnational Law, King’s College London. She will discuss 'Legal advocacy as liberal resistance: the experience of China’s human rights lawyers'.

About the Seminar

China’s human rights lawyers, a relatively small group of legal professionals who emerged in the post-Mao era, insist that the Party-State follow the law in all cases, including those deemed ‘sensitive’ by the authorities. Throughout their existence, they have faced a repressive system that treats their advocacy as criminal acts of disobedience and subversion. In the Xi Jinping era, the contrast between their liberal outlook and a system in authoritarian (or neo-totalitarian) regression has become sharper, and rights defenders are now increasingly treated as enemies. As they are pushed to engage in legal resistance, the lawyers draw on, and test the boundaries of, the right of resistance as a human right.

About the Speaker

Dr Eva Pils joined King’s College London in September 2014 and is Reader in Transnational Law. She studied law, philosophy and sinology in Heidelberg, London and Beijing. She qualified as a lawyer in Germany and holds a PhD in law from University College London. Before joining The Dickson Poon School of Law she was an associate professor at The Chinese University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law, where she co-founded the Centre for Rights and Justice.

She has previously also taught at Cornell University Law School and at University College London, and held visiting positions at New York University Law School, Cornell Law School, the London School of Economics Law Department, and the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris, and at Columbia Law School.

Dr Pils is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the US-Asia Law Institute of NYU Law School, an external member of the CUHK Centre for Social Innovation Studies, an external fellow of the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law and a legal action committee member of theGlobal Legal Action Network. She is also an affiliated member of the Lau China Institute, the Transnational Law Institute and the Yeoh Tiong Lay Centre for Politics, Philosophy and Law at King’s.


For directions to the venue, please refer to the map.

How to book

This event is free but prior booking is required. Register online via Eventbrite.


For more information on this event, please email

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