Protest judge removed from bench

By Wang Huazhong (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-07-28 07:51
Large Medium Small

BEIJING - The judge in Hubei province who staged high-profile protests over the past two years over his wife's labor rights while dressed in his court uniform and red badge has been dismissed from office, the court said on Tuesday.

The Xiaogan Intermediate People's Court told China Daily it removed Feng Bin from the bench because his actions had violated the country's Court Organization Law and Judges Law.

Feng had already been expelled from the Communist Party of China on Dec 14, 2009.

Since his removal from office, Feng has been working in the court's logistics department, the court said.

As a judge, Feng attempted to help his "illegally laid-off" wife return to her job by suing her employer - the same local court in which he worked.

The court sacked Feng's wife, Hu Min, along with 30 others in June 2008 under a local government directive to get rid of temporary workers.

Hu had put in 10 years of service as a cleaner at the court.

Feng said his wife deserved an open-ended contract with the court according to the Labor Contract Law, which stipulates that employers must sign such contracts with employees of, at least, 10 years of service.

The disagreement then escalated despite the court's efforts to mediate, said Ye Lei, director of the court's general office.

Ye said Hu was employed as a cleaner 10 years ago as a favor to Feng and the court must comply with the directive (to lay off temporary workers).

In regard to Feng's removal, she explained: "Feng disagreed with the arbitration decision (in his wife's labor contract case) and then disturbed public order and attacked law enforcement officials."

Ye said Feng beat officials of local arbitration authorities in October 2008, officials of the local labor bureau in December 2009 and blocked traffic to the bureau.

Feng, who had protested while dressed in his court uniform, abused his position and "tarnished the image of judges in the public's eyes," she added.

But Feng disagreed. He said he was fighting for justice and that sentiment led him to protest his "grievance" in front of the high court in Hubei and the top court in Beijing.

Feng on Tuesday refuted the court's allegations about attacking others, saying he was the one who was beaten.

Commenting on his removal, Feng said he had no regrets and that his faith in the law remained steadfast.

"If no one believes in the law, our society will regress to a state of disorder and chaos," he said.

"I had to carry on as far as I could to uphold the rule of law and set an example for those who do not know how to protect their rights."

Although the high court in Hubei has asked the Xiaogan Intermediate People's Court to compensate his wife financially, Feng said he will "continue to appeal".

Local lawyer Wu Yonghe said Feng is technically right according to articles of the Labor Contract Law, but it was inappropriate for him to petition in his court uniform.

Guo Rui contributed to this story.