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People's Daily Online>>China Business

Call to adjust interest rates (3)

By Zhao Huanxin (China Daily)

08:16, January 30, 2012

"The government must perform in line with the law, and the public must be provided adequate avenues for them to express appeals," Cheng said.

Wukan residents protested in September against village authorities over issues related to land use, financing and elections, according to a Xinhua News Agency report. The protests turned violent and triggered public concern in China.

Wukan villagers gathered again on Dec 11 after Xue Jinbo, who was seen as the organizer of a November demonstration, died in police custody, it said.

According to the People's Daily, the dispute escalated due to the failure of local officials to answer the public's appeals in a timely manner.

The Wukan dispute apparently reached a settlement as the village set up a new Party branch and a work team on Jan 15 to prepare for the re-election of the village committee, according to the Xinhua report.

"To deal with protests it is important for the authorities to adopt a more pacific method," Cheng said. "Conflicts will often escalate if the authorities try to stifle or even repress the situation."

Every year, there are people traveling long distances to Beijing to lodge their complaints and grievances. Some are stopped by local authorities.

"It is absolutely wrong," Cheng said.

Under the rule of law, a resident is entitled to sue an official. Granting this right will surely reduce the number of protests, he said. "Blocking them is by no means a solution. Rather, addressing their grudges, according to the law, is the way out.

"Why do they bother to go to the trouble of coming to Beijing? Because they do not believe in local authorities," he said.

It is imperative for local governments to balance equality and efficiency in the course of pursuing economic growth, Cheng said.

Cheng said land is the lifeline of farmers. Illegal land grabs are often at the root of an increasing number of protests in China.

The country is updating its Land Management Law to better protect farmers' interests in land expropriations.

Chen Jia contributed to this story.

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