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China's Population of Lawyers Skyrockets

Asia: The number of attorneys is reported at 110,000--up from 200 two decades ago.

July 08, 2002|From Associated Press

BEIJING — Here's a sign of where the modern China is headed: The country is getting more lawyers--a lot more of them.

The All-China Lawyers Assn., meeting in Shanghai, said the number of attorneys in China stands at 110,000--up from a mere 200 two decades ago, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Sunday.

The sharp rise shows the rapid expansion of the country's legal services, the association's general secretary, Jia Wuguang, was quoted as saying.

He said China has nearly 10,000 law offices--including attorneys specializing in securities, finance and real estate. And the number is expected to grow as the economy internationalizes, Jia said.

He called legal services "an important part of the sound investment environment essential for overseas investors."

As it opens its economy to the outside world, China has emphasized that it considers the rule of law an important underpinning of a sound economy and a healthy nation. However, rights groups often criticize its legal policies, saying they are often steamrolled in efforts to stifle political dissent.

China has been steadily opening its legal services market to the outside world since last year. Some 104 foreign law firms and 28 Hong Kong law offices have set up branches on the Chinese mainland, Xinhua said.

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