By targeting leading barristers who have publicly criticized its policies, Beijing is counting on other barristers to remain silent, academics say.

The Chinese government’s tactic of using lawyers’ commercial interests to exert political pressure so they will refrain from criticizing its policies is also creating a chilling effect. Not only are lawyers failing to support their outspoken colleagues, but they are also beginning to self-censor to avoid jeopardizing their commercial relationships with China.