PILnet Fellow Tong Lihua Wins International Pro Bono Award

Recognized for Work on Children’s and Migrant Workers’ Rights

10 October 2012

The International Bar Association named PILnet Fellow Tong Lihua as the 2012 winner of its prestigious Pro Bono Award in recognition of his crucial role in developing pro bono in China.

christian fleck_and_tong_lihua_oct2012_iba_dublinTong Lihua, right, accepts the Pro Bono Award from Christian Fleck in DublinTong is widely regarded as one of China’s leading public interest lawyers. Over the course of his career he has led by example, founding two NGOs that have provided free legal services to more than 200,000 children and migrant workers and facilitating collaboration between Chinese public interest lawyers. He is an instrumental force in fostering China’s nascent pro bono movement and works closely with PILnet on this issue. 

Since founding the Beijing Children’s Rights Legal Aid and Research Centre in 1999—the largest children's legal aid NGO in the country—Tong has worked tirelessly to protect children’s rights in China. Returning to China after his PILnet Fellowship in 2004-5, he also established the Beijing Zhicheng Migrant Worker’s Legal Aid and Research Centre. Both organizations were the first NGOs in China to provide pro bono legal aid to children and migrant workers. Through these two organizations Tong has provided children and migrant workers with free legal aid in more than 8,000 cases.

Tong is the director of the All China Lawyers Association, the ACLA Committee for Protection of Children, the ACLA Legal Aid Committee, and the founder of the China Lawyers’ Cooperative Network of Child Protection (Lawyers Network). The Lawyers Network, a national network made up of more than 8,900 pro bono lawyers committed to defending children’s rights, has drawn more lawyers to work in the public interest and provided support structure for those who already do.

Tong was honored at the IBA Pro Bono Award ceremony held during the IBA’s annual conference in Dublin, 30 September–5 October 2012.