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How to Keep Yourself Safe Being a China Lawyer

Being a China lawyer can be unsafe. I never park in the parking garage near the courthouse.  I always find either an open lot or park on the street.  But then there have been too many stories of people getting into cars (while in parking garage) shot, or bombed.

I always advised my clients (in tense situations) to avoid using the parking garage, to have someone else bring them (in a different vehicle then one the other had access to) or if they can't bring a different vehicle, to at least bring someone else with them.  It is far to easy for the ex to duplicate a key, leave the court first, find the car and hide in the back (and we had a case in the county I used to work in where that is pretty much what happened).

I also generally left the courthouse via the back door, which almost no one knew even existed.

The bailiffs in the court house and deputies from the sheriffs department routinely would escort people from the courthouse to their cars if you asked.  They would also hold back a party so that the other party could leave the building and get to their car.

Generally I recommend that threats be formalized as a complaint where possible with law enforcement.  While one cannot count on the complaint being prosecuted, it can be valuable documentation (especially with repetition).

The police and prosecutors however, cannot protect you from imminent harm.

They function most commonly in prosecuting the aftermath of crime, more so than prevention.  Some would say they pick up the pieces, especially given competing claims for their time and resources.  I mean no insult to law enforcement or prosecutors here (in intentions or actions), but they have to allocate their time and attention and have fewer resources than they would like in most cases.

Personal safety plans include your home and office facilities (locks, alarms, panic buttons, secondary exits, grab bags), and planning how you will react in advance.  Being alert at all times to your surroundings is perhaps of greatest importance.  Planning and rehearsing reactions can keep you from freezing up in the event something happens that puts you in harm's way.

Being alert and taking action where appropriate can reduce the likelihood of being  a victim.  Your attitude and willingness to use lethal and nonlethal methods to protect yourself is part of your safety plan.  Staying in a group, or having an appropriate dog, or sharing information with regard to the identity and pictures of a likely aggressor are all items that may help.

One has to be practical and pragmatic on the level of threat.  For example, an opposing party left a threat to kill me, including his name, on my voicemail one time at 2:30 a.m.  While alerting law enforcement briefly, I did not see it as a credible threat as it appeared an angry drunk calling right after the bars closed.  I have had a credible threat or two, that were handled differently, but to date I have talked down the individuals involved without going into much specifics.  I also have no issue with firearms or their use, physical action or use of other tools that could be weapons, if such became necessary, but I recognize that my views are not universally shared.

To my view, getting advice from a security professional may be advisable. At a practical level, making plans and decisions in advance about steps that you will actually take is a key issue.  Training on protecting yourself is also advisable, be it self-defense classes,  or  firearms training or both.

Trying to keep yourself safe, being a China lawyer lifelong.

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I am a licensed China lawyer. Most clients are foreign nationals and companies. China Lawyer Blog have associates in Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Guangzhou, Suzhou, Nanjing, Qingdao, Fuzhou, Hainan, Hefei, Wuhan, Xian, Changsha, Xiamen and Hangzhou. Learn More

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China Lawyer BLog AuthorPeter Zhu, an experienced China attorney licensed to practice law for more than ten years, the author of this China Lawyer blog, welcomes any enquiry or consultation related to Chinese law.