Chinese lawyers face some serious issues and potentially dangerous governmental sanctions for perceived misbehavior, but to lose your clothes in court is something that is unusual, even for Chinese lawyers.
However for We Liangshu and assault by police officers and before two judges left the lawyer bedraggled outside the Qingxiu District Court in a demeaning incident that evidently followed his request to file a case.
But why the assault?
When offered a replacement set of clothes, the lawyer rejected it and walked out, underpants displayed along with general dishevelment because he knew the incident would arouse considerable publicity.
How right he was.
With his pen still placed in the pocket of his ripped shirt, he made a compelling point about what can happen to lawyers who are attempting to do their job.
Wu Liangshu told the BBC: “I wasn’t shocked. I have heard plenty of weird and violent stories of things happening to lawyers in China but I didn’t expect it to happen to me”.
The officers, on the other hand, say that he refused to hand over his mobile phone when they asked for it. They had accused him of making illegal recordings of court officials.
About a thousand Chinese lawyers have supported Wu Liangshu with a statement that roundly condemns the attack. The head of All China Lawyers’ Association said the assault upon their colleague was “really distressing”.
As the video and image of the lawyer emerging from the courthouse did the rounds of social media around China and the world, the effect upon the Chinese legal system and the way it conducts itself and handles lawyers it regards as troublesome, let alone those who are simply doing their job, remains something that will embarrass the jducial system more than lawyers like Wu Liangshu.