News / Asia

    China Bans Public from Petitioning Beijing Over Local Grievances

    Protesters hold banners and placards during a protest outside a Nike shop at a shopping mall during Labor Day in Hong Kong, May 1, 2014 to support workers on strike at Yue Yuen Industrial Holdings Ltd. in China.
    Protesters hold banners and placards during a protest outside a Nike shop at a shopping mall during Labor Day in Hong Kong, May 1, 2014 to support workers on strike at Yue Yuen Industrial Holdings Ltd. in China.
    For decades, China's capital has been the last resort for citizens whose grievances could not be solved through the legal system at the local level.  But starting Thursday, legal reforms ban petitioners from taking their case to higher authorities, in a move that analysts say highlights the leadership's uneasiness with local grievances reaching the capital.

    The new rules give local governments up to 60 days to answer petitions.  Those whose issues are not resolved locally are banned from appealing to central authorities.

    Policymakers in China said the move is part of a general reform to promote rule of law and efficiency at the local level.

    But critics believe authorities have become wary of the potential instability that petitioners can bring to the capital when they visit to file complaints.

    Huang Qi is a human rights activist from Sichuan province.

    They are not looking for a way to handle these citizens' problems, he said.  He believes the so called "reform of the petitioning system" is done only get rid of petitioners from Beijing and protect the interests of the central authorities.”

    Analysts also see the reform as an admission of failure of the system.

    Officially established in 1951, the petitioning system assures, on paper, that citizens can appeal to the central government when they perceive injustices in how their cases are handled locally.

    But surveys have shown that resolving a grievance through the system is the exception, and most petitions are ignored.

    Huang said petitioners come to Beijing because their cases involve local corruption.  Shifting responsibilities back to the local level will not help.

    He said the idea local governments can solve the problems of more than 10 million people who petition in China is a very naïve dream of scholars, showing they [scholars] do not know where these grievances come from.

    Petitioners have turned to Beijing for personal matters ranging from land grabs, forced eviction or corruption.

    In 2002, a local court in Hubei province ruled against Liu Yujie in a divorce proceeding on the grounds her whereabouts where unknown.  Liu said her ex-husband had colluded with the court, and she was left homeless and alone in caring for her disabled child.

    She has been petitioning for the court to reverse the ruling, and has made trips to the capital because she said she has exhausted all her other options.

    In her last trip to the capital, Hunan authorities found her in Beijing and brought her back to her hometown.

    She said we have gotten back to the original point.  If the local government does not accept our cases, and we also cannot go to Beijing anymore, we have no channel left to solve our problem.

    Reform of the legal system has become a buzzword in China, where the leadership acknowledges corruption and lack of independence of the courts as a major threat to its legitimacy.

    Proposals to reduce local governments' influence on courts by shifting responsibilities over the court's budgets and personnel to higher authorities have been debated for years.

    The topic has gained prominence again in the fall, when Xi Jinping announced his blueprint for reform.

    Analysts agreed the move might in fact help make courts more independent, and reduce the number of grievances that have not been solved locally.

    You May Like

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Wangchuk from: NYC
    May 05, 2014 4:51 PM
    By banning petition appeals to Beijing, the CCP will actually increase instability in China. The petition system is traditional and over 1 million Chinese file new petitions each year. Very few are resolved in favor of the petitioner and most are ignored or thrown out by the authorities. Nevertheless for grievances against the govt, the petition system is the first choice of Chinese people. By eliminating their right to appeal to Beijing, this will cause people to turn to street protests or perhaps violence to redress their grievances.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese Americans for Trump Going Against National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese Americans for Trump Going Against National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora