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

    Russia Sees Brexit Impact Widespread but Temporary

    Officials, citizens react to Britain’s vote to exit European Union with mix of pleasure, understanding and concern

    Obama Encourages Entrepreneurs to Seek Global Interconnection

    President tells entrepreneurs at global summit at Stanford University to find mentors, push ahead with new ideas on day after Britain voters decide to exit EU

    Video Some US Gun Owners Support Gun Control

    Defying the stereotype, Dave Makings says he'd give up his assault rifle for a comprehensive program to reduce gun violence

    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.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora