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Dispute in Beijing over dead husband's car plate | Updated: 2013-03-13 22:49

A woman in Beijing has filed a lawsuit against her mother-in-law in a dispute over the car plate left behind by her husband, who died in the fatal storm that hit Beijing in July 2012.

The dispute is Beijing's first of its kind. The municipality launched policies in 2010 to issue a fixed number of car plates every month to curb traffic congestion.

The woman, surnamed Ren, filed the lawsuit against her mother-in-law at a court in the municipality's Fangshan district, The Mirror reported on Wednesday.

Ren's husband, surnamed Li, died in the storm last year that killed at least 77 people, and the family's car was also destroyed.

Ren, who doesn't have a hukou, or permanent residency document, in Beijing, is not able to buy a car as the municipality uses a lottery system to issue the car plates, and only permanent residents or residents who have paid taxes for more than five years can participate.

Ren is claiming that the car plate is part of her inheritance, and that her mother-in-law is already in her 70s, which means that she is too old to drive under Chinese law.

However, the defendant, surnamed Cai and represented by her youngest son at the court, insisted that the car was bought by the family before Ren and her husband got married and that thus the car ownership has nothing to do with Ren.

The case is ongoing.

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