|Beijing bans illegal jailing of petitioners
China has banned the widespread practice of detaining petitioners seeking government redress, state media said.
Similar pledges have been made before, but detentions have continued.
Chinese citizens unable to find redress from local officials often appeal to higher-level authorities, sometimes travelling cross-country to Beijing.
But they are routinely ignored by government offices, or thwarted by embarrassed by hometown officials and held in informal “black jails'' before being bundled home.
Government bodies must now “resolutely [avoid] blocking the people from normal petitioning by any means,’’ said a circular issued by the ruling Communist Party's Central Committee and the State Council, China's cabinet, Xinhua reported.
“The circular stresses that illegal or indirect confinement of petitioners is strictly prohibited,'' Xinhua said.
The document instructed officials instead to meet with petitioners and either funnel their complaints to the court system or explain why they were rejected.
Xinhua admitted that when petitioners presented grievances ranging from land acquisition to healthcare to environmental protection, “officials often prevent them from raising such cases with their superiors.’’—AFP