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Petitioners show mixed feelings to new online complaint platform

By Jiang Jie (Global Times)

08:28, July 01, 2013

The online petition platform that will be launched on the official website of the State Bureau for Letters and Calls Monday has faced a mix of comments from petitioners.

The move, announced on Friday by Shu Xiaoqin, director of the State bureau, aims to widen the methods of petitioning. "This is in an effort to improve the bureau's credibility," Shu said, adding that the platform is open to all sorts of complaints.

Officials with the bureau were also urged to give feedback to all cases filed by petitioners, and results must be able to be tracked online.

The State bureau opened its online service in January 2009 to petitions related to agriculture, countryside and farmers. Cases concerning social welfare and urban and rural construction were included later.

From Monday, all petitions related to infringement of public interests and benefits due to abuse of administrative power will be accepted.

Some questioned if the petitioners' privacy can be protected by this real-name platform, as most cases, including tip-offs, will end up being transferred back to the local government.

A petitioner surnamed Xiao from Guangdong Province is pessimistic about its effectiveness. "I have tried to petition to the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, however, it has always been the local government that handled the case in the end."

Some are still hopeful. "Chances are that our petitions would be pushed back to the local government and all our efforts will end in vain. But I believe that society is advancing forward and we will see the justice," Xu Haijun, a petitioner from Shandong Province, told the Global Times.

Li Xianzhi, another petitioner from Guangdong, said she would sign up on the platform and hand over her petition this week. "Every time I turned to the local petition office, someone would pull strings to stop me. But I don't think they can still do that once I look to the State bureau online," Li said. "After all, the central government is attaching a lot of importance to this platform."

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