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Chinese Lawyer Sues Railway Ministry for Hiking Ticket Prices

A Chinese lawyer is suing the Ministry of Railway, accusing it of illegally raising train ticket prices during this year's Spring Festival peak travel period.

The No. 1 People's Intermediate Court of Beijing told Xinhua Friday that it is "conducting procedural examinations on the case, " and has not yet appointed any judge to handle the matter.

The attorney, 35-year-old Qiao Zhanxiang, works for Sanhe Times Law Firm of Shijiazhuang City, capital of Hebei Province.

The price hike of train tickets by 20 percent to 30 percent this year was an "arbitrary administrative conduct lacking sufficient factual basis" and "violated the legitimate rights and interests of passengers," Qiao said in his petition.

He said the price increase failed to comply fully with stipulations of the Railway Law and Price Law.

He added that according to the price law, any price increases that affect the public can only be made after public hearings, and there was no proof that the Ministry of Railway organized public hearings in advance of the ticket hike.

Qiao said he also filed an administrative complaint earlier this year to the Ministry, and the ministry said in a reply that there was nothing wrong with the price adjustment.

A 1999 law on administrative complaints included a new stipulation that any citizen unsatisfied with the result of administrative complaint may file a lawsuit with the people's court.

This became the legal basis for Qiao's suit against the ministry.

(Xinhua 04/13/2001)

Railways Attacked for Festival Services
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