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China Letter-News and Human Rights

China human rights news with focus on the Uygur of Xinjiang, Tibetans and Tibet, Chinese mining workers, religion, corruption and censorship.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Your call has been placed in a queue...

China sets up human rights hotline to catch abusing officials.


China Daily reports that China's Supreme Procuratorate has established two hotlines to hear reports from the public of job- related human rights violations by officials.

Human Rights violations in this context, the report says, is defined as

".. dereliction of duty that causes serious life and property losses, illegal detention and search of people, extorting confessions and collecting evidence by violence, sabotaging elections and infringing on civil rights of citizens, and maltreating detainees. "


The 'hotline" is intended to be another tool for use by the government in it's drive to make government officials more responsible for their actions.

Well one has to applaud the Procuratorate and I am sure that it is a well meaning gesture but, can you imagine some of the call conversations?

"Yes? What? Your name is Muhhamad? And your calling from where? Xinjiang? Ohh! Well, er, this is a very terrible line! Would you, er, mind calling back some other time? Say June 2009?"

Or, what is more likely with only two lines available

" Thank you for calling the human rights hotline. Your call is important to us. We are experiencing heavy traffic at the moment and your call has been placed in a queue. Present indicators are that one of our helpful operators should be with you within 2,628,000 minutes. We apologise for the delay. Whilst you are waiting please enjoy listening to the complete works of Chairman Mao"

It is not good to joke about such things but really, "two lines"?

It is unlikely such a limited service can be of real help to the many affected by Chinese official's abuse of power such as the thousands of miners forced to work in unsafe conditions and millions of migrant workers abused on a daily basis over pay and conditions.

It's only real positive is that it's existence may provide another deterrent to such activity and, along with other iniatiatives, work to slowly change the "corporate culture" of China's bureaucracy.

"Hotlines hear human rights complaints" China Daily. 27/06/04 (Viewed 27/06/04)