In conjunction with several other activities relating to National Legal
Publication Day, China’s International Bridges to Justice program
cooperated with the Shanxi University of Finance and Economics to
develop an on-site legal advice forum and disseminate legal rights
brochures.

A collection that included more than fifty students from the Shanxi
University of Finance and Economics’ School of Law and communist youth
league committee, as well as three representatives from Peking
University, began by gathering to form a volunteer legal aid team in a
small community in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province. The team then made
themselves available at a table set up on the community’s main road, and
took legal questions from residents, offering advice and consultation
for their legal problems.

A Forum For Participants in Shanxi

The legal aid team answered several questions, many of which were
related to the recent reform of the Marriage Act. The residents were
explained the changes that had been made, and given advice on how to
cope with the effects. Individuals also approached the students with
more personal legal problems. Citizens spoke out about injustices that
they noticed in their daily lives, and were shocked at some of the
information they heard. The legal aid team explained that a lot of the
time you do not need to endure unfair circumstances. Instead, you can
resort to using the law as a means to solve your problems.

The next part of the program concerned passing out legal rights
brochures to local citizenry. The volunteers were working with the goal
of increasing the legal knowledge of those in the community, and
addressing the marked lack of willingness to use the law among the
citizens.

While developing a China where citizens understand and aren’t afraid to
stand up for their rights is still a work in progress, it was clear from
the reaction of participants that they appreciate IBJ’s mission. We hope
that, in the future, everyone will be just as well informed.