About Us

The Beijing Children's Legal Aid & Research Center (BCLARC) was founded in 1999 by Mr. Tong Lihua as China's first NGO specializing in children's rights.  In addition to its central office in Beijing, BCLARC maintains lawyers in its 16 satellite offices across 16 Chinese provinces.  BCLARC officially registered with the Beijing Bureau of Civil Affairs in May 2003.  BCLARC plays a leading role in encouraging and guiding lawyers throughout China in juvenile protection work.  It aims to encourage Chinese lawyers to participate in child welfare protection, to establish an integrated network of professionals, organizations, and government departments in the field of child protection, and to enhance child law research and legislation.  BCLARC created its own model of operation, providing direct legal services, while also pursuing research and legal reform advocacy.  

Legal Consultation

Through telephone hotlines, mail correspondence, and one-on-one consultation, BCLARC provides nation-wide, free legal advice in matters related to children.  Since 2001, BCLARC has provided free legal advice to approximately 40,000 people.

Court Representation

BCLARC provides direct legal representation to children from impoverished families.  BCLARC has provided representation in more than 200 court cases, most involving juvenile delinquency, sexual abuse, work or other injuries, welfare, or custody issues.

Legal and Policy Research

In addition to its bi-monthly journal, BCLARC has published over 30 books and more than 100 reports on various child welfare issues.  Over 2,500 copies of BCLARC's journal are freely distributed to officials in the National People's Congress, relevant government departments, lawyers, NGOs, and law enforcement officials.  Twenty-one of BCLARC's publications have received awards from the Ministry of Justice, and its four-part series The Science of Child Law significantly expanded the contemporary academic framework of child law.  BCLARC has been entrusted to conduct research on various children's issues by a number of government departments, including the State Council's National Working Committee on Children and Women, the Beijing Education Commission, the Ministry of Civil Affairs, and the China Center of Adoption Affairs.  BCLARC's efforts have influenced a number of government policies and legislative actions, and encouraged action by some of China's most senior political figures on issues such as children living in the streets.

Seminars and Workshops

BCLARC holds periodic seminars to encourage and train Chinese lawyers, government officials, and law enforcement officers, in child protection work.  BCLARC has run over 140 legal training classes and lectures for more than 100,000 participants from 31 Chinese provinces.  In 1999, BCLARC launched what is now known as the China Lawyers' Cooperative Network of Child Protection.  This Network, consisting of 7,850 lawyers from 31 provinces, pools legal resources and knowledge, and has held trainings in 15 provinces for roughly 1,600 volunteer lawyers.  In 2004, BCLARC held a large seminar of experts and media representatives to discuss the establishment of a child food safety system in China.  

Legislative Initiatives

Since 2004, BCLARC has been heavily involved in the study and amendment of the PRC Law on Protection of Minors, and even drafted the first version of the Bill.  In 2002, as a member of the Drafting Panel, BCLARC director Tong Lihua, helped draft the Beijing Act on Children's Protection.

In addition to these activities, BCLARC closely monitors key legal cases in China and pursues impact litigation where possible.  In 2001, BCLARC brought proceedings against the National Monopoly Bureau of Tobacco and several other big tobacco companies.  This litigation led the Bureau to require all tobacco-selling websites and stalls in China to display the notice, "No Tobacco to Children."  In recent years, BCLARC's lawyers have made several hundred TV appearance, and given numerous radio and newspaper interviews to a variety of Chinese media outlets.

Since 2003, BCLARC has served as the administrative office of the Special Committee on Child Protection for the All China Lawyers Association, a creation of the Beijing Lawyers Association.  Mr. Tong and Ms. Zhang Xuemei, deputy director of BCLARC, serve on this Special Committee as Director and Secretary General, respectively.