Reg­u­la­tions will im­prove how pe­ti­tions are han­dled

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By AN BAIJIE an­bai­jie@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Cen­tral govern­ment de­part­ments will not ac­cept pe­ti­tion­ers’ com­plaints if they are sup­posed to be han­dled by lower-level govern­ment bod­ies, ac­cord­ing to a reg­u­la­tion to be en­acted on May 1.

The reg­u­la­tion, is­sued by the State Bureau for Letters and Calls, stip­u­lates that pe­ti­tion­ers are not al­lowed to by­pass au­thor­i­ties to file their com­plaints, and gov­ern­ments at higher lev­els will not ac­cept their com­plaints if they jump rank.

The au­thor­i­ties will also turn down pe­ti­tions that fall un­der leg­isla­tive bod­ies and ju­di­cial de­part­ments.

The cen­tral govern­ment de­part­ments will ac­cept com­plaints about cor­rupt of­fi­cials at the provin­cial level, pe­ti­tions about is­sues that should be ad­dressed across prov­inces and sec­tors, as well as those that are not prop­erly han­dled by provin­cial gov­ern­ments. feed­back from lo­cal pe­ti­tion of­fices, but of­fi­cials of­ten try to stop them from rais­ing such cases with their su­pe­ri­ors, which has trig­gered a num­ber of con­fronta­tions in re­cent years.

Govern­ment of­fi­cials will also be pun­ished if they do not han­dle people’s com­plaints prop­erly and force the pe­ti­tion­ers to turn to au­thor­i­ties at higher lev­els, ac­cord­ing to the reg­u­la­tion.

The bureau en­cour­aged pe­ti­tion­ers to sub­mit their com­plaints through e-mail, letters or phone calls.

The govern­ment ac­cepted about 2.48 mil­lion on­line pe­ti­tion cases last year, up 10.9 per­cent year-on-year, bureau sta­tis­tics showed.

The pe­ti­tioned is­sues should be ad­dressed within 60 days, and all of the pe­ti­tions will be recorded into a na­tional data­base, ac­cord­ing to the reg­u­la­tion.

In a doc­u­ment re­leased in Novem­ber, the cen­tral govern­ment pledged to re­form the pe­ti­tion sys­tem. Au­thor­i­ties must re­spond to and set­tle pe­ti­tioned cases within the le­gal frame­work, the doc­u­ment said.

In a cir­cu­lar is­sued on March 19, the State Coun­cil, China’s cab­i­net, also for­bade putting pe­ti­tion­ers un­der any form of con­fine­ment and promised to set up a sys­tem to dis­solve con­flicts by law­ful means.

“Var­i­ous po­lit­i­cal and le­gal or­gans should fur­ther reg­u­late the han­dling of law­suit-re­lated pe­ti­tions and res­o­lutely avoid block­ing the people from nor­mal pe­ti­tion­ing by any means,” said the cir­cu­lar.

In Fe­bru­ary last year, 10 people re­ceived jail sen­tences for il­le­gally con­fin­ing 11 pe­ti­tion­ers who came to Bei­jing from their home­town in He­nan prov­ince to file com­plaints. The pe­ti­tion­ers were jailed for up to six days in Bei­jing’s Chaoyang district in April 2012.

Gong Weibin, a pro­fes­sor of pub­lic ad­min­is­tra­tion with the Chi­nese Academy of Gov­er­nance, said that many people might choose to pe­ti­tion through high­er­level gov­ern­ments as they be­lieve that se­nior of­fi­cials can su­per­vise bet­ter than lower-level gov­ern­ments.

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