Upcoming NPC Plenary Prompts Official Repression of Petitioners

March 2, 2005

Chinese public security authorities have begun their annual crackdown on petitioners in Beijing as the annual National People’s Congress (NPC) plenary meeting approaches, according to news media sources. The NPC meeting begins March 5, and normally lasts about two weeks.

AFP reports that senior Party officials have called for vigilance against "hostile forces" before the NPC convenes. To prevent citizens from using the NPC meeting as an opportunity to present individual or collective grievances to top leaders, police have implemented heightened security measures in Beijing. Public security forces also continue to break up groups of demonstrating petitioners. During a meeting at the Communist Party School attended by top Chinese leaders, Radio Free Asia reports, plainclothes police removed ten petitioners who were calling for justice on a range of different issues.

Repression of the many petitioners who flood into Beijing before the annual NPC plenary is common, as described in the Access to Justice section of the CECC 2004 Annual Report.