Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

Suing in Modern Day China- Chinese Courts

Posted by w_thames_the_d on April 10, 2011

From R Peerenboom

– More Law less courts _
The courts are also being inundated with labor disputes from factory workers suing over unlawful termination and unsafe working conditions, and migrant workers seeking unpaid wages and protesting compulsory overtime in excess of the number of hours stipulated in the Labor Law. • Retirees are suing their former employees or the local government for failure to pay pensions, raising important social policy issues in the absence of an effective welfare system. • Courts are hearing an expanding range of discrimination claims brought with respect to the rights of migrant workers, education, the retirement age for female workers, hepatitis and AIDS, and the unequal treatment of urban and rural residents in wrongful death cases. • Land disputes are rising dramatically both in urban and rural areas as governments in pursuit of economic growth requisition land for developers, again raising issues of corruption and collusion. • Social activists have sought
to bring suits against the local government for forced abortions and other violations of family planning policies and regulations. • Citizens, often aided by newly formed (and sometimes not licensed) environmental groups, are seeking to close down polluting enterprises in their area. • Courts are also handling cases that touch on sensitive national security issues or affect social stability, including cases involving very broadly defined state secrets regulations that are used against whistleblowers who reveal government corruption or malfeasance. • A rising number of cases involve freedom of speech, assembly and religion, including the rights of citizens to form NGOs: in one much publicized case, Dong Jian brought an administrative litigation suit against the Ministry of Health after the Ministry failed to respond formally to Dong’s application to establish an NGO to promote eye care. • In addition, many cases raise the issue of social
justice as those who have lost out in the course of economic reforms look to the courts for protection: what are people entitled to given the government’s goal of establishing a harmonious society ( hexie shehui) or at least a xiaokang society?8

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