8.11.2009

If you want to file a petition don't come to Beijing please

The Central Committee General Office and the State Council have laid out the latest guidelines on petitions. I couldn't find the relevant document (中央政法委员会关于进一步加强和改进涉法涉诉信访工作的意见), only a description of its content.

According to the Central Political-Legal Committee, the new guidelines are needed to protect national security and keep social harmony and stability, before the PRC sixtieth anniversary - therefore petition work will be guided by the principle of"solving problems without coming to Beijing" (不到北京也能解决问题).

Petitions cases should be mostly handled by local level organs. The indicators used to evaluate petition work will still be the number of petitions avoided and a downward trend in local problems.

To meet these targets, localities should strengthen various ADR mechanisms, to avoid that "small problems get out of the village, big problems get out of the township and contradictions are brought before higher level [organs]" 小事不出村,大事不出乡,矛盾不上交.

The guidelines are a double-edged sword: hiring a greater number of "petition cut-off agents" and employing them in Beijing and locally may be faster, cheaper and more "efficient" than improving ADR mechanisms.