Lihua Tong is a public interest lawyer and the leading advocate in China for the rights of children, women and migrant workers.
In 1999, he used his personal funds to establish the Beijing Children’s Legal Aid and Research Centre. It was the first non-governmental organisation dedicated to providing pro bono legal services to children in China. Driven by his passion to help migrant workers and women in China, he subsequently expanded the operations of the organisation under the new name Zhicheng Public Interest Law Organisation (Zhicheng). Today Zhicheng is the largest, and the premier law NGO in the People’s Republic of China comprising several subsidiary organisations in 33 provinces. The organisation’s service has expanded to include the protection of farmers’ rights and environmental issues in China.
Lihua's impact through his organization has been remarkable. Under his leadership, and in conjunction with the All-China Lawyers Association, Zhicheng set up 29 Child Protection Committees at the provincial level, and a further 90 in metropolitan areas. Further, it has developed a network of over 9,000 pro bono lawyers working on child protection in China.
The primary role of Zhicheng is the provision of pro bono legal services to needy groups in China, and as at June 2013 it had provided services to no less than 145,000 direct beneficiaries in Beijing alone. In conjunction with its affiliate offices in other provinces, Zhicheng provided services to 400,000 direct beneficiaries and provided free legal consultation in 122,885 cases involving children and migrant workers.
As an ambassador of UTS, Lihua is highly supportive in engaging Australian alumni. He has provided invaluable internship opportunities for UTS students, and will soon deliver a joint presentation about trafficking and challenges in China and Australia in an Anti-Slavery Australia event.
Lihua exemplifies the strength of Australia-China relations. A passionate advocate for the improvement of human rights in China and a proud ambassador for Australia, he has built a highly successful career while providing invaluable opportunities for the community.
Learn more about Lihua, including what he believes is the secret to success, the first thing he does when returning to Australia, and why his work is important here.
Meet Lihua Tong, the 2017 Advance Global Australian Alumni Award Winner and check out his acceptance speech from the Awards ceremony below.