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Internet plays bigger role in China’s petitioning system

Updated: Jan 31,2015 2:59 PM     Xinhua

BEIJING — As Internet plays a bigger role in government interaction with the public, China’s official complaint channel, the State Bureau for Letters and Calls, may be due for a name change.

The Internet has become the main channel for petitions, with some 40 percent of the total complaints lodged via the web in 2014, more than those processed through traditional letters and phones calls, Zhang Enxi, deputy head of the bureau said on Jan 30.

“Online petitioning is more open, transparent and efficient, greatly decreasing the costs for petitioners,” said Jin Yanli with the bureau.

The bureau started receiving petitions submitted via the Internet on July 1, 2013, via People can lodge complaints when their rights are infringed upon as a result of an abuse of power on the part of authorities, enterprises, public institutions, civil groups or their employees. Their complaints will be forwarded by letters and calls agencies to concerned authorities.

China’s petitioning system dates back to the early 1950s and has played a supporting role in public supervision over Party and state organs.