Lawyers use bogus big-cat case to push government to improve the rule of law
Hao Jinsong's Public Interest Lawyer Centre has boomed since it filed a lawsuit against Shaanxi farmer Zhou Zhenglong and the State Forestry Administration.
Businessmen and law firms have funded the non-governmental organisation in its war on the fake South China tiger photos, according to the centre's leader and founder, Hao Jinsong .
'People look for ways to reduce corruption, increase the administration's efficiency and promote democracy,' he said. 'Many are fed up ... and some of them think the South China tiger case might be an opportunity for change.'
The centre was established in 2005 by a handful of graduates from China University of Political Science and Law.
They have since taken the Ministry of Railways and the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) to court for market manipulation and lack of transparency. The centre, which has three full-time staff and 13 researchers, was successful in the railway case; the NDRC case is still in the system.
In November, Mr Hao filed a suit in Shaanxi's Dingyang county people's court, accusing Zhou of fraud and demanding he apologise and pay one yuan in compensation for psychological harm.
'We will never stop until there is an investigation, and they know that we have enough time and resources to carry the fight to the end,' said Mr Hao.