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Increase in Petition Cases Handled
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Courts at various levels handled an increasing number of petition cases in 2004, said Xiao Yang, president of the Supreme People's Court (SPC), in Beijing on Wednesday.

According Xiao's report to the third annual session of the 10th National People's Congress, the SPC handled 147,665 petition cases last year, up 23.6 percent on 2003. 
The number dealt with by local courts stood at 4.22 million, up 6.2 percent on the previous year.
In order to better hear grassroots complaints, the 10-year-old regulation on petitions was revised in January to strengthen protection of petitioners' rights.
The revised regulation stipulates, "no organization or individual is allowed to retaliate against petitioners and offenders will be held to account" and will take effect on May 1.

(Xinhua News Agency March 10, 2005)

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