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China wants citizens' complaints solved locally, bans direct petitioning of central government

Chinese state media say a national agency has issued new regulations to ban residents from bypassing local authorities in lodging complaints in the latest effort to reform the country's decades-old petitioning system.

Every year, the Chinese file millions of complaints about what they see as injustice or incompetence by local officials in issues such as land expropriation, forced home demolitions and labor disputes.

A large number of petitioners who see their complaints inadequately addressed at the local level seek attention from the central government. But Beijing wants to discourage that and says local governments should better address the grievances.

State media outlets reported Thursday that the State Bureau for Letter and Calls has issued new rules effective May 1.