31 Jan 2015

Sisters in arms: protest and punishment in China

A traumatic tale from China of two sisters who have spent years trying to petition the authorities about the lack of job opportunities – and faced persecution as a result.

When Jin Hanqing and her older sister Jin Hanyan graduated from vocational college they expected to become part of China’s urban class, writes Danny Vincent.

Their parents were poor farmers from central China who hoped their daughter’s education would ensure them a place in the country’s economic miracle.

So when the sister’s job’s were given to relatives of corrupt government officials the sisters did what thousands across China do every day. They became petitioners.

Petitioners are not dissidents or activists. They are ordinary Chinese citizens who travel to Beijing to seek redress for injustices in their home towns.

The problem is local officials determined to maintain stability at all costs will resort to anything to stop these complaints reaching the central government.

For the last five years I have been following the Jin sisters’ petition against local corruption and the cat and mouse game that has played out between the pair and authorities who imprison petitioners to maintain public order.