“Attack those who seek audience with higher-ups”

Wang Keqin recently posted many photos from his trip to a rural Henan town. He was there investigating the AIDS situation, but found these slogans posted all over the town and thought they were interesting. He posted them, in his words, “so that people can understand the relationship between China and seeking audience with higher-ups [上访]”. For those who haven’t seen it before, the term “seeking audience with higher-ups” refers to traveling to Beijing or larger cities to report local government misdeeds to higher authorities. Here are some of Wang’s photos, with translations in the captions:

Attack illegal reporting to higher-ups, defend social stability
"Attack illegal reporting to higher-ups, defend social stability"
Complainants should report all problems directly to the assigned place.
"Complainants should report all problems directly to the assigned place.
Those with complaints shouldnt entrap and attack administrative units of the govt and Party
"Those with complaints shouldn't entrap and attack administrative units of the gov't and Party"
Those with complaints mustnt obstruct traffic/communication.
"Those with complaints mustn't obstruct traffic/communication."

There are several other photos, as well as photos of these same slogans in different spots, at Wang Keqin’s site.

A few comments from the post:

Very harmonious

Using public opinion to put pressure on those who report [things to higher authorities]

As soon as you see this you know it is very corrupt there…

Henan’s bad practices are shocking, and [it] has the habit of blowing [things] out of proportion, really needs reform…

If the people and those who report [to higher authorities] were allowed to make slogan posters, I would make these:
Attack illegal [handling of] complaints/reports, protect the interests of the people complaining!
Complaint departments mustn’t dispute over trifles, shift responsibility, or respond slowly!
Complaint departments must always have someone answering the phone, and that guy can’t say “the person responsible for this isn’t here”!
It’s forbidden to beat, threaten, or arrest those reporting complaints!
Realistically safeguard complainants physical safety and interests!
Respect those reporting complaints, protect social stability!
It’s forbidden for officials to cover up for each other or ignore the appeals of those reporting complaints!
Covering up for one another, responding slowly, and responding irrationally, will invariably result in removal from office!

0 thoughts on ““Attack those who seek audience with higher-ups””

  1. @ Josh

    “Corruption at the lower levels of government… What is the secret to stopping it?”

    Simple: the law and China’s constitution. The real question is how does one change the legal system so that it protects the rights of citizens, and the rights of individual’s, and supports the constitution, rather than simply being a tool of control for the government (and local govs).

    The gov/party must introduce greater transparency in all fields, at all levels, and must somehow cede power – unless there is a power balance, it will always be topsyturvy – to civil institutions and the legal system. Its a deep rut in which China is stuck though in this sense…


  2. In response to Josh’s question, I’d say a few things might help: funding local courts entirely from the central government, creating an anti-corruption body like Hong Kong’s ICAC that has no linkages to the state at any level except at the very top , taking away the power of–at the very least—local governments to censor the press, and moving ahead with direct elections for township heads (or county heads and eliminating the township level altogether). Would township elections sometimes be captured by powerful local interests like clans and businesspeople, as village elections have been? Yes, but it would be harder for these to control units above a village-level and having more honest township governments would take away an excuse from village officials for wasting money and incompetence, namely that they can’t do anything more meaningful because the township decides everything.

    I imagine Wahaha will rush to tell me that democracy in any form leads to social collapse and then list a bunch of countries that happen to be both democratic and poorly run. But the point is that the countryside and small towns in China are ALREADY poorly run. And it’s laughable to use the old “meritocracy” argument when you’re talking about a township government office where everyone is there because of some family member and a ton of the people aren’t even officially on the books but are being paid anyway.

    I suppose another thing could help: that commitment the Chinese government recently made to taping interrogations. More taping—with public access to some of those tapes on request—could do some good.

    I dunno, though… those are just some ideas.


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