Across China: Fujian village's white tea regimen to cure local disputes -Xinhua

Across China: Fujian village's white tea regimen to cure local disputes

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2023-11-25 15:20:30

Primary-level mediator Zhang Qiuxiang (1st R) resolves dispute in the village of Boyang, southeast China's Fujian Province, Nov. 18, 2023. (Xinhua/Lin Shanchuan)

FUZHOU, Nov. 25 (Xinhua) -- Every time mediator Zhang Qiuxiang receives a new dispute case involving local villagers, she brings the two sides together and brews them a pot of locally-grown white tea. Only then does the mediation begin.

Zhang is a primary-level mediator dispatched by the government to resolve conflicts and disputes in the village of Boyang, Fujian Province. Working in the village for 26 years, she is experienced in fixing local issues through the so-called "three pots of white tea" approach.

"At the initial stage of mediation, we will serve a pot of aged white tea to the disputing villagers to calm them down," said Zhang, citing the pharmaceutical effects of aged white tea in alleviating irritation and frustration.

Then as the conflict is lessened through mediation, a pot of refreshing white tea just plucked from the tree will be served on the table to mark the progress made, said Zhang. If everything goes well and the mediation is successfully concluded, then the two sides are encouraged to serve each other thick-flavored white tea and shake hands.

"Most disputes we mediate are related to land-use rights or other economic issues between villagers. These cases can vary from petty affairs to potentially major conflicts. The longest mediation took us more than six months to settle," said Zhang.

Through long-term practice, Boyang has formed a mediation mechanism that is spearheaded by Party cadres and features democratic deliberation, close coordination, transparency for the public, real-time supervision and outcome-based appraisal.

Since 2022, a total of 153 individual complaints and 88 dispute cases lodged by Boyang's villagers have been successfully handled, with high rates of efficacy and satisfaction.

Thanks to the favorable environment resulting from effective mediation work, the once-impoverished village is now on a journey to rural revitalization. In 2022, Boyang's industrial and agricultural revenue reached 2.66 billion yuan (about 373.85 million U.S. dollars).

Boyang's mediation approach exemplifies the country's initiative to improve primary-level governance in recent years.

According to China's Outline of the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) for National Economic and Social Development and Vision 2035, improvements will be made to the joint work system of people's mediation, administrative mediation and judicial mediation. Diversified resolutions will be provided for conflicts and disputes, giving full play to the role of mediation, arbitration, administrative adjudication, administrative reconsideration, and litigation in preventing and resolving social disputes.

Currently, Zhang is engaged in mediation work regarding a road-upgrade project in the village, and is aiming for win-win result for all parties involved.

"Aside from everything else, we are committed to impartiality, confidence, persistence, compassion and sincerity in our work," said Zhang.