Papering over the Cracks
The Beijing News reported on November 11 that China plans to scrap a controversial ranking system that grades regions on their petition figures. Officials have described the move as an effort to "straighten out various issues."
Every year, thousands of disgruntled petitioners descend on Beijing with disputes they believe cannot be solved locally. The ranking system, introduced in 2005, monitors where these people come from and duly punishes regions with a high rate of petitions. However, this has led to a number of underhand tactics from local governments hoping to keep their figures down. Reports of illegal detentions in "black jails" have been widely circulated, as are stories of kidnappings that result in petitioners being dragged back home.
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