The State’s Handling of Petitioners through the Judiciary since the Abolition of Re-education through labor system in China

Visiting Scholar Talks

Dec 3, 2021 | 12:00 PM

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Speaker

Junyang Wang | Associate Professor, School of Political Science and Public Administration, Shandong University; HYI Visiting Scholar, 2021-22

Chair/Discussant

Yuhua Wang | Frederick S. Danziger Associate Professor of Government, Harvard University

Co-sponsored with the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies

Held via Zoom – registration required: https://harvard.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJUrdumuqzsoG9XHE9HvJVHOv09wnZ3-zQ6d

According to official estimates, those who have been sent to reeducation through labor for petitioning account for about 18.8% of the total number of petitioners in 2011. It shows that the reeducation through labor had in fact become an important measure for the state to handle petitioners. However, the reeducation through labor system was abolished in 2013, which raises the question of how the state has handled petitioners after the abolition. This study is based on a large number of judicial judgments published on China Judgment Online platform. We found that a new trend in the state’s handling the petitioners. The state is attempting to use the criminal law to handle petitioning activities and trying to respond to petitions through criminal adjudication. This study is dedicated to explaining why some petitioners are sentenced to imprisonment while some not, and what factors affect the length of their imprisonment sentences. The exploration of these issues can further our understanding of how China’s legal system is used as a tool of stability maintenance by the state.

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