Report: ‘rampant violence and intimidation against petitioners’

Hum@n R1ghts Watch released a new report today stating that thousands of Chinese citizens who petition authorities for the redress of grievances are attacked, beaten, threatened, and intimidated. Please visit this link to the news article to find a further link to the report (the link to the report is blocked here).

The 89-page report, “We Could Disappear at Any Time: Retaliation and Abuses against Chinese Petitioners,” is the first in-depth look at the treatment of Chinese citizens who travel to Beijing to demand approval of or answers to their complaints of mistreatment by officials. Research was carried out in China.

Petitioners, many of them rural people with minimal education or resources, often come to Beijing fleeing local violence and seeking a venue of last resort. Yet while they wait for their petitions to be addressed in Beijing, many are ambushed by groups of plainclothes security officers on the street, beaten, and kidnapped. Many are taken back to their home provinces, imprisoned, and even tortured. A few petitioners who spoke to Hum@n R1ghts Watch had lost the use of limbs due to torture in detention. The perpetrators of these abuses are usually government employees or agents who act with impunity.

China’s system of petitioning the centre is as old as the Chinese empire itself. According to the report, most grievances these days concern police brutality, illegal land seizures, poor infrastructure, and corruption. Although 10 million petitions were recorded in 2004, a recent study found that only 3 out of every 2,000 petitioners surveyed had their problems actually resolved.

As many of the grievances are politically-charged, it’s obvious to all that government accountability lies at the heart of the problem. Lacking basic freedoms, individual rights and any kind of local system of redress, citizens are faced with an often heavy-handed, secretive and usually corrupt administration that remains wholly intolerant of dissent. Petitioning the centre is the only channel open for ordinary citizens to air their grievances. The fact that millions of petitions are raised each year despite the dangers and likely lack of success would support this premise.

The Discussion: 2 Comments

All grumblers and malcontents will be shot to death, under the Happiness Act.

Enjoy your happy life under the CORRECT leadership of the Communist Party! It can be very beautiful and very convenient!

December 8, 2005 @ 7:08 pm | Comment

The Emperor is dead. Long live the Emperor!

December 8, 2005 @ 9:45 pm | Comment

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