Joseph D. Lee, Juliana M. Yee, and E. Martin Estrada of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP Win Asylum for Pro Bono Client
Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP secured asylum for Bao Zhuoxuan, the son of prominent Chinese human rights lawyers, in U.S. Immigration Court on March 11.
Litigator Juliana Yee appeared in court on Mr. Bao’s behalf.
The case stems from the ‘709 Crackdown,’ named for the day it began on July 9, 2015, during which the Chinese Communist Party arrested hundreds of lawyers and human rights defenders. The very first person to be arrested was Mr. Bao’s mother, Wang Yu—a prominent Chinese human rights lawyer. The same day, the CCP also arrested Mr. Bao and his father while at the Beijing airport waiting to board a flight to Australia.
While in custody as a minor, Mr. Bao was placed in a cell and his passport was taken away. He suffered mental and physical abuse at the hands of the Chinese government including being subjected to interrogation, detention, beatings, sleep deprivation, and constant surveillance.
Ms. Wang was released from custody several years later, but the family was still under intense police surveillance. In 2018, Mr. Bao left China and fled to Melbourne, Australia. Still under surveillance and not feeling safe there, he fled to the United States. When he flew into LAX, he was stopped and detained at the Adelanto ICE Processing Center and placed in removal hearings.
Soon after Mr. Bao arrived in the United States, Munger Tolles took his case pro bono on referral from Human Rights First. Munger Tolles’ lawyers sprang into action, preparing an asylum application, engaging in negotiations with the Department of Homeland Security, and securing a prompt asylum hearing date. In the meantime, the team worked to secure the support of the U.S. State Department, which submitted a letter attesting to Mr. Bao’s entitlement to relief.
On March 11, 2022, the Munger Tolles team convinced U.S. Immigration Court Judge to award asylum to Mr. Bao. Mr. Bao will now be eligible to become a United States citizen in five years, and he now feels safe and free to share his story and continue his parents’ important work of spreading awareness of human rights issues in China.