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All's calm, petition officer is happy

01-05-2012 08:52 BJT

Dingxiang, Shanxi - Yan Zhifeng, Party chief of Jizhuang township, North China's Shanxi province, is glad that farmers reaped a good harvest this year because happy farmers mean fewer petitions.

"We used to treat petitioners as troublemakers," Yan said, "but now local authorities have realized how important it is to solve farmers' problems there and then. We have been given lots of support and are taking every petition very seriously."

Petitioning is an independent administrative system for hearing complaints from individuals that is unique to China. The idea that aggrieved people can take their complaints directly to higher or even the highest authority is rooted in ancient China.

The system was continued in modern China to closely link the government with the people. Petitioning is one of the basic rights of Chinese citizens.

Normally the township's petition office is packed with farmers making all sorts of complaints at this time of year because everyone wants their problems solved before Spring Festival, which begins in less than three weeks. Yan said it's rather quiet this year and it's a good sign.

"Many villagers' problems are solved on the spot. We will provide petitioners solutions within a week if their cases are complicated, so unsolved cases won't pile up toward the end of the year like they used to," Yan said.

Farmers from the township's Hengshan village sought help from the township's petition office early last spring because the seeds they had bought were infertile. They were compensated by the local government for their loss and were advised on how and where to buy quality seeds.

Although the farmers are still not completely happy about the amount of compensation - they live solely on the proceeds of their harvest - they are glad the local government is making the effort.

The seed dealer who cheated the farmers fled and has not been caught.


Editor:Wang Xi |Source: China Daily

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