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December 7, 2012

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Home » Opinion » Press Notes

Drop 'social order' from official rating

THOUGH a Beijing court has not yet delivered verdicts in the cases of 10 people accused of imprisoning petitioners in Henan Province, the case is attracting increasing attention.

This type of interception-related crime was exposed in 2010. A security company called Anyuanding in Beijing set up several underground prisons, illegally holding petitioners. The company was paid a commission from regional governments for "smoothing" disputes and preventing local residents from traveling to Beijing to petition higher authorities and embarrassing them.

Two years later, the crime is again in the spotlight. Can we eliminate the interception of petitioners by merely handing down punishments?

The current administrative system is at the root of interception of petitioners, said Zhang Qianfan, law professor at Peking University.

The central government has decreed that if petitioners successfully lodge complaints against regional government with higher authorities in the capital, then the local officials will be punished or even sacked for not maintaining social stability.

Therefore, regional officials are very worried and make every possible effort to obstruct the petitioners, even turning to mafia-type companies. But they ignore the fact that our nation prohibits anyone, except for police, prosecutors and courts, from detaining people.

Zhang suggested removing "maintaining social stability" as one of the elements used to evaluate local officials' performance. What's more, if we all rely on the central government to right a wrong, then our personal rights will be vulnerable to infringement, he said.


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