Don’t Kneel and Cry, Liu Yuefei Asks Chinese Petitioners
Miscarriages of justice and aggrieved people have
become a recognized part of life in Mainland China.
Newspapers are frequented with unjust,
false and erroneous legal cases.
Millions of aggrieved people across all social
classes are often seen kneeling, crying out
after suffering repeating failed petitioning.
They hope to get help through these desperate means.
Chinese human rights activist Liu Feiyue
has suggested that people do not kneel.
He points out that this is not a wise way to petition.
Liu Feiyue, Chief Editor of China’s “Peoples Watch”
website, suggested on December 17 that Chinese
people should undertake petitioning without kneeling.
He proposed that we don’t agree,
or encourage petitioning by kneeling.
Everyone is equal before the law.
Chinese citizens have equality with officials, and it’s
their duty to serve the people, rather than a privilege.
Liu Feiyue: “We noticed that some people
often kneel to attract the attention of officials.
They want them to solve their problems in daily petitioning.”
Liu Feiyue thinks that this method of petitioning is not wise.
Liu Feiyue: “It conflicts with Chinese citizen’s
consciousness, and with a constitutional society.
We believe that the public defenders are equal to officials
and kneeling during petitioning is trampling on dignity.”
Liu Feiyue points out that there were landless farmers,
relocated home-owners, dismissed teachers, laid-off
workers and even law professors who were all kneeling.
He also noticed that during the process of
petitioning, the more people there are, the
more prone people are to kneel collectively.
In April 2011, thousands of people collectively knelt in front
of City Government Hall in Zhuanghe City, Liaoning Province.
A few days later, 314 teachers collectively knelt to petition in
front of the county building in Gong An County, Hubei Province.
In April, dozens of representatives in a case involving
illegal fund-raising visited their local government in
Rushan City, Shandong Province, and collectively knelt.
In September, dozens of villagers from Xikou Village,
Shuangfeng County, Hunan Province, collectively
knelt to blockade the county Party secretary’s car.
They were calling for a local potassium chlorate plant to shut
down, after it was found to be discharging damaging sewage.
At the end of last year, 59-year-old law professor
Liu Jingyi, from the Central University of Nationalities,
led dozens of staff members to kneel in the front of the
Complaints Bureau in Sanya City, Hainan Province.
International observers were concerned by the necessity
for a law professor to undertake this form of petitioning.
At that time, Liu Jingyi said it was hopeless to take
the legal route, and kneeling was the only way.
But this didn’t have an effect, and
the problem remained unresolved.
Huang Qi, Director of “Tianwang Human Rights Center,”
said they received thousands of kneeling petition pictures,
and recently, all were deleted without posting them online.
Huang Qi: “We explained that it was impossible to
acquire legal rights by kneeling and demeaning oneself.”
Huang Qi said kneeling to petition reflected the regimes
lawlessness, and people’s frustration and despair.
Under the current system, the only way
to acquire legal rights is to fight for them.
Huang Qi: “The only way to have their own legal
position, is to fight against the perpetrators, and
pursue gaining an equal ground with the officials.
Reflecting on modern Chinese history, no one or no
group can get democratic status through begging.”
Liu Feiyue said they don’t expect that to be able to influence
immediate change in people’s behavior during petitioning.
He believes that it needs efforts from the
whole community to promote the effect.
Liu Feiyue: “For example, yesterday I posted
an article on QQ social media, in a private
teachers group, and a group for relocated people.
Many people accepted that petitioning should have
dignity, without kneeling, and reposted the article.”
Liu’s proposal pointed out that it is impossible
to ask for justice through kneeling and appealing
to the conscience of Chinese officials.
The only thing to do is to fight and protect a
person’s right under a judicial legal system.
Interview & Edit/LiYun Post-Production/Sunning