The Beijing Yirenping Center, one of China's leading nonprofits focusing on public health and social justice issues, was recently recognized for the role it played in some of the most important public interest legal cases last year.
Beijing Yirenping Center
(Beijing-Feb. 5th, 2013) In 2012, public interest cases supported and assisted by the Beijing Yirenping Center achieved unprecedented success. During the "China's Top Ten Public Interest Cases Selection," jointly hosted by the Beijing Institute of Technology Institute of Justice, China's Public Interest Litigation Network, and "Legal Weekly" magazine, six cases supported by Yirenping were chosen as part of the "Top Ten Public Interest Cases of 2012." These cases provided important precedents for the future, and promoted the progress of rule of law in China in 2012.
In addition, the "Smiling Official" case, in which Yirenping supported college students to apply for the public release of relevant wage information, was regarded as one of the online anti-corruption network's major successes of 2012. It was also selected for inclusion in the "Procuratorate Daily - Rule of Law Blue Book." The Yirenping-supported female university graduates suing the Giant Education Group for sex discrimination in employment lawsuit is China's first sex discrimination in employment lawsuit, and has also been selected for the "Rule of Law Blue Book." At the same time, the "College Entrance Exam Sex Discrimination Collective Rights Movement" and the "Occupy Male Toilets Movement" were chosen for the "Top Ten Gender Equality News Reports of 2012" by the "China Women's News Daily."
Following are summaries of the six cases supported by Beijing Yirenping that made the "Top Ten Public Interest Cases of 2012."
1. Disabled persons promote "disabled persons rights and benefits" with a series of lawsuits
Beijing Yirenping Center assisted disabled person Zhu Mingjian in filing a series of anti-discrimination lawsuits against the Guangzhou Metro system, the Guangzhou Bus system, and the Dongguan Bus system, fighting for discounted travel rights for the disabled. This series of cases played an important role in the elimination of disability discrimination.
2. "Passengers sue China Southern Airlines for flight delays" case
On January 9, 2012, China Southern Airlines flights were delayed by three hours due to unscheduled internal use of aircraft. Passenger Zhang Yuanyan, supported by the Beijing Yirenping Center, sued China Southern seeking 8.6 million yuan in compensation for economic losses and 0.5 million yuan in damages.
3. "Citizens With Hepatitis B Lose Civil Service Enrollment Qualifications" Case
In April of 2010, Li Feng went through the Civil Service Enrollment Physical Examination, and his Hepatitis B was misdiagnosed as "chronic liver disease," and was thereby rejected. In August of 2010, with the assistance of Beijing's Yirenping Center, Li Feng filed for administrative reconsideration, then filed an administrative lawsuit, and was finally awarded 70,000 Yuan ($11,230) in damages in May of 2012. This case has had a tremendous effect towards solving the issue of Hepatitis B discrimination.
4. Case in which a Citizen Raised a Suit Requesting Transparency Concerning the Interest on Transportation Card Deposit Money
As of May 2011, Beijing has issued more than 40 million public transportation cards, the deposits for which add up to over 800 million Yuan ($128 million), which accrues a yearly interest of over 28 million Yuan (about $4.5 million). In March of 2012, Liu Wei, a Beijing citizen, petitioned for the public disclosure of the total amount of the deposits of transportation cards, but received no answer. Therefore, on July 2, 2012, Liu Wei brought the issue to court, demanding that the court order the city to comply with a business' duty of transparency. This case has generated a significant reaction in China, and follows shortly after ten other cases wherein citizens of large cities all petitioned for information transparency, striving to safeguard the public's right to information and to supervise the government.
5. "Student Applies for Transparency of 'Smiling Bureau Chief' Salary" Case
In September of 2012, with the support of the Yirenping Center, Three Gorges University student Liu Yanfeng petitioned the Shanxi Province Public Finance Office and the Shanxi Province Work Safety Supervision Bureau to release the 2011 salary of "cousin" Yang Dacai. In its response, the Shanxi Province Public Finance Office claimed that the requested information did not fall under the purview of government information transparency. The Shanxi Province Work Safety Supervision Bureau is yet to respond.
6. Female College Student Raises Sexual Discrimination in Employment Lawsuit
A 2012 university graduate, Cao Ju (name has been changed) applied for Juren Education Group's Administrative Assistant position, but found that it was restricted to male applicants only. In July of the same year, with the assistance of the Yirenping Center, Cao Ju sued the Juren Education Group in the Haidian District Court for sex discrimination in employment.
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2012 Top Ten Public Interest Lawsuits
Southern Metropolis Daily: Top Ten Public Interest Lawsuits of 2012; Hot Off the Press (Chinese)