Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao made an unprecedented visit the country’s top complaints body on Monday – the first time since 1949 that a premier had talked to petitioners – in a bid to ease escalating social tensions, the South China Morning Post reported. China has seen soaring dissatisfaction and unrest in recent years, with large numbers of petitioners flocking to Beijing over issues including corruption, widening wealth disparities and land seizure disputes. CCTV broadcast footage showed Wen meeting with petitioners at the State Bureau for Letters and Calls who had traveled from Tianjin, Jilin, Shandong, Inner Mongolia and Hubei, among other areas of the country. Some observers say Wen’s visit indicates the seriousness of domestic problems, marked by social discontent and the absence of effective channels to voice dissatisfaction.
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