Petition curb after record appeals
THE Beijing municipality has issued a ban on large-scale petitioning to officials after record numbers of appeals were recorded in the first half of the year.
The ban, which is to go into effect on January 1, is part of regulations approved recently by the people's congress of the municipality to govern people's petitions.
Such petitions, or shangfang, are a democratic right of the Chinese people to appeal to higher authorities for help.
Beijing has become the last hope, as well as the last resort, for people who feel they have failed to get justice in their own localities.
According to the official China News Service (CNS), a total of 120,000 shangfangs have been recorded in Beijing from 1992 until June this year. And the number is increasing.
During the first half of this year, Beijing received 262 groups, with a total of 5,674 petitioners, the CNS said.
It was the most Beijing had ever had.
The new regulations stipulate that petitioners can only send a maximum of five representatives to air grievances.
The CNS said this was to prevent petitioners carrying out illegal activities in the name of shangfang.
The new regulations also deem that authorities receiving petitioners have to be sincere and promptly help resolve problems.
They will be punished for failing to do so.
Aside from civil disputes and personal matters, people can also appeal on corruption among government officials, resettlement, traffic problems and the situation of workers in state-owned enterprises.