PILnet Fellow Tong Lihua Wins International Pro Bono Award
Recognized for Work on Children’s and Migrant Workers’ Rights
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.
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.