Southern Weekend has published a survey of “petitioners” in China, as the government debates whether or not to reform the system. From IPS today: “As China considers doing away with one of its unique communist vestiges, the ‘shangfang’ – or the system of petitioning the government – there are fears that scrapping the only channel available to people to air their grievances might lead to a serious escalation of social unrest in the country. Disillusioned with leaders and law enforcers at the local level, plaintiffs often choose to spend months in Beijing petition offices rather than go through the slow motions in Chinese courts. But the rapidly escalating number of grievances has rendered the system totally inefficient and there seems to be mass discontent, according to researchers. ”
Last year, the government received more than 10 million petitions, yet only resolved two out of every thousand cases, according to the Southern Weekend survey, which is available here. More materials about the debate over the petition system are here, via ESWN.