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China: Young cadres overseeing rural mediation, legal advice

China: Young cadres overseeing rural mediation, legal advice

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.

Read the complete article here.

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