Xinjiang Government Notes Rise in Popular Awareness of Legal Rights

October 26, 2005

The government of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region has spent over 40 million yuan since 2001 on its Fourth Five-Year Work Program for Popularizing the Law, the Xinjiang Legal Development Net reported on September 26. As part of the work program, in 2001 the Xinjiang government's Law and Politics Office began sending legal experts and educators to counties throughout the region to conduct seminars on how best to increase adherence to the law by juveniles. The teams have conducted 216 seminars in 13 prefectures and 62 counties, reaching an audience of 360,000 middle school students, teachers, and parents, according to the report. In another of the programs, some 300,000 government officials have participated in yearly legal examinations since 2002.

In August 2005, the Law and Politics Office conducted an anonymous survey of 1,500 government employees and private citizens from "all localities, professions, and ethnic groups" in Xinjiang, the article reports. All of the survey respondents concurred that a "dramatic increase" had occurred in popular understanding of the law and its role in protecting citizen rights. No other survey question received a unanimous response.