BEIJING, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) -- China has seen progress in the development of the law profession as it strives to build a country based on the rule of law.
According to the Ministry of Justice, the country had more than 15,000 law firms, more than 166,000 lawyers, and more than 220,000 people working in the sector at the end of 2009.
By Oct. 2009, foreign law firms from 21 countries had set up 224 representatives offices in China, while law firms from Hong Kong Special Administrative Region had set up 65 offices on the mainland, the ministry said.
Sixteen lawyers are deputies in the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, and 22 lawyers are members of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the nation's top political advisory body.
Last year, the country's lawyers handled nearly 2 million lawsuits, and dealt with more than 534,000 non-litigious legal matters, plus more than 184,000 cases of legal aid.
Statistics show in 2008, lawyers billed their clients 30.9 billion yuan (4.54 billion U.S. dollars) and paid more than 4 billion yuan in taxes.
No corresponding figures for the year of 2009 are available.