Young cadres overseeing rural mediation, legal advice

By Yang Zekun | China Daily | Updated: 2023-08-28 08:45
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Judges and officials discuss a dispute in a cornfield in Zhangye, Gansu province, on May 17. The mobile tribunal was formed by the Ganzhou District People's Court of Zhangye to resolve issues and teach people about the law. [Photo provided to China Daily]

A new generation of professional advisers is handling issues related to village management and residents' disputes. Yang Zekun reports.

Over the past three years, Ma Liangdong, who serves as a village cadre, has become accustomed to keeping his phone on around the clock. That way, he can respond promptly to messages and calls, and quickly mediate in disputes thanks to his knowledge of the law.

The 26-year-old is deputy secretary of the village Party committee in Huanzhuang, a village in Shandan county, Gansu province. He is also a member of the village mediation committee.

In addition to attending training sessions on village management, provided by the township and county governments, and fulfilling his official duties, he can be found in the village committee's office most days.

Though he often deals with minor disputes among villagers, such as when one person's animals eat a neighbor's crops or when adjustments are required to land rental agreements, he finds his role fulfilling. He believes that the process of legal mediation has helped greatly improve his range of skills.

In March 2020, the Central Commission for Law-based Governance, overseen by the Communist Party of China Central Committee, issued a document emphasizing the need to strengthen the rule of law in the rural areas. It detailed improvements to the comprehensive mechanism for the prevention, mediation and resolution of social conflicts to resolve disputes at the grassroots level.

Moreover, governments at all levels were ordered to cultivate teams of dedicated mediators in rural areas and train them in legal knowledge and the relevant skills, harnessing their primary role in resolving grassroots conflicts and disputes.

According to data from the Ministry of Justice, there are about 492,000 village-level mediation committees nationwide, comprising around 2.1 million mediators. Last year, mediation organizations dealt with about 8.9 million disputes across the country, including 3 million that were handled by village mediation committees. The ministry noted that this effectively resolved grassroots conflicts and addressed people's urgent concerns.

Young people like Ma are playing increasingly vital roles in the process of promoting the rule of law in rural areas. Numerous young village cadres study the law and government policies in order to take on roles as mediators and promote effective village management.

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