China's Citizen Complaint System: Prospects for Accountability

628 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510 | Friday, December 4, 2009 - 2:00pm to 3:30pm
Transcript (PDF) (Text)

At this CECC Roundtable, a panel of experts discussed China's citizen complaint system, sometimes called the "petitioning" system or the "xinfang" (letters and visits) system, its role in promoting accountability, its relationship to China's legal institutions, and its prospects for the future. The system, which has imperial roots, is intended to make local officials more accountable and to resolve citizen grievances; on the other hand, petitioners report widespread official disregard of complaints and human rights abuses. Authorities have reportedly harassed petitioners as well as sentenced them to reeducation through labor, and detained them in "black jails" (extralegal detention centers), or psychiatric institutions.


Mr. Carl Minzer, Assistant Professor of Law, Washington University in St. Louis School of Law

Dr. Li Xiaorong, Research Scholar, Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy, University of Maryland

Dr. Sara (Meg) Davis, Founder and Executive Director, Asia Catalyst