BEIJING – Rules making it easier to file lawsuits in China have led to a new concern over frivolous claims, such as one in which a man says actress Zhao Wei stared at him too intensely through his TV set.
The regulations making it more difficult for courts to reject lawsuits took effect May 1, leading to an increase in cases nationwide last month of 29 percent compared with same period last year, to just over 1 million cases, according to the Supreme People's Court.
The registration system requires courts to accept legitimate lawsuits when they are filed or clearly state the reasons for rejecting them, and citizens have the right to appeal the decisions.
"Previously, it was difficult for administrative cases, such as people suing governments, to be accepted," said Li Heping, a Beijing lawyer.
In announcing the registration system, the official Xinhua News Agency said: "Authorities are determined to put an end to obstructive behavior by courts and officials meddling in cases."
The change has led to Shanghai Pudong New District Court receiving a case against Zhao, the court's litigation service hotline confirmed. The court official, who declined to identify himself, refused to say whether the court had accepted the case.
Zhao is one of China's biggest and richest movie stars, and starred in director John Woo's "Red Cliff."
Reports say the lawsuit filed by a Shanghai man involves the prime-time TV show "Tiger Mom" which debuted in May and centers on a couple's differing approach to raising their daughter. Zhao plays the big-eyed mother who relentlessly pushes her daughter's development, while the father wants his child to have more freedom.
The Legal Daily said the plaintiff was alleging Zhao's stare caused him "spiritual damage."
Gan Wen, deputy head of a case-filing chamber under the Supreme Court, said at a news conference Tuesday that the Zhao case was an example of citizens abusing their right to file lawsuits.
"It's not necessary to waste our judicial resources on cases like these," Gan said.